Crisis: a multitude of perspectives

The recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the far-reaching precautions made to fight its rapid spread, many lives being turned upside down, entire countries locking down, practicing social distancing, working from home or sitting at home without work, uncertainty about the future, anxiety, loneliness – we are all experiencing big changes in our personal and professional lives.

Help us map a multitude of perspectives on the current situation by answering the following question:

What changes have you experienced in your personal and/or professional life and what (emotional, social, financial) challenges are you facing because of that, now and in the foreseeable future?


  • A harsh reality check, where we are all being confronted with inevitabilities such as mortality, freedom of choice, safety, health, recreation, work, finance, and uncertainty regarding the design of our society’s future equilibrium between the bunch.
    War, chaos, life threatening situations- stuff that would never happen to us. The Netherlands are safe from it all. Our little ivory tower. Oh happy day.


    COVID-19 struck like lightning, a blow in the smiley faces of 17.000.000 people. Recent psychological studies show that after 3 weeks of isolation, roughly 50% of the Dutch are sad, insecure or even depressed. So far the ivory tower news broadcast. Oh happy day.
    If you ask me, it is inevitable that we need to re-establish our personal values, our behavior and our future perspective- but in what direction to proceed? This doesn’t matter, if we don’t know where we are going, any road will get us there. We’re all mad here.


    Is it really all that bad? Absolutely not!

    How did we let it get this far? Look up and look forward- let’s transform the world from being our thoughtless playground to being our mindful temple.

  • Tjeerd de Vries says:

    This is a very relevant issue at the moment. The first three weeks went by easily (I’ve been in our holiday home on the island of Terschelling for nearly four weeks now) and I am really comfortable being away from the craziness of living in Amsterdam. Also, whereas in the past I’ve let myself be led by consuming and spending, as being part of a yuppie social environment, I am now much more at peace with my emotions and entire being, surrounded by nothing but the elements (and my lovely girlfriend I must add). For me, being torn away from my previous inclination towards reasonless (over-)consuming is a blessing. It enables (forces) me to stop, think and (re-)appreciate life.

    Obviously there’s also a flipside to the current ‘downward facing dog’ position that the economy is in, as we might need to sell our apartment if this continues for let’s say another year. But I’m sure that this will be a blessing too- who wants to live in a ticky tacky tiny shoebox, surrounded by neurotic yuppie consumers anyway. Let’s settle for nothing less than a future where we are living in the eye of the elements, with all the space needed for our creativity to flourish.

  • Minouche Wardenaar says:

    Op veel vlakken heeft de pandemie ons leven flink afgeremd. Net als Tjeerd in de vorige reactie hier op FORUM, roepen veel mensen op tot reflectie. We moeten dingen anders gaan aanpakken. Minder produceren en minder consumeren.

    Het minderen van mijn kunstconsumptie lukt nog niet zo goed. Via social media en nieuwsbrieven laten kunstinstelling weten dat ze gesloten zijn, maar dat hun productie zeker niet stil ligt. Ik wil het weten, lezen, zien, horen.

    Ik heb mij door een museumdirecteur, conservator en cultuurmarketeer laten rondleiden door verschillende gesloten musea. Er worden paaseieren gezocht en leuke feitjes over kunstenaars gedeeld. Video’s van net (niet) geopende tentoonstellingen worden gedeeld zonder dat de pandemie het narratief heeft weten te besmetten. De online rondleidingen lijken performances waarin we worden verleid te geloven dat het museum en haar kunstenaars los van de gewone-mensen-wereld staan. In het museum geen pandemie maar smetteloos witte muren. Het zou geruststellend kunnen zijn.

    Dit soort content doet je afvragen welke rol kunstinstellingen voor zichzelf zien weggelegd. Is het museum een toevluchtsoord waar je je niets van de pandemie hoeft aan te trekken? Of kan het museum een plek zijn waar de huidige situatie vanuit verschillende perspectieven van betekenissen wordt voorzien?

    Er zijn ook instellingen die in hun online content wel de nadruk leggen op de wereld buiten de eigen witte muren. In plaats van entertainment te spuien, stellen zij vragen.

    Een vriendin wees mij bijvoorbeeld op een initiatief van het Lectoraat Autonomie en Openbaarheid in de Kunsten (AOK) van Zuyd Hogeschool. Zij onderzoeken wat de impact van de situatie is op kunst en kunstenaars. Iedere bezoeker van hun projectwebsite kan een eigen reflectie op de situatie achterlaten. Ook Hotel Maria Kapel vraagt in hun online programma ON THE LINE via FORUM naar de manier waarop mensen in hun netwerk de huidige situatie ervaren, zowel op persoonlijk als op professioneel vlak.

    Dit zijn gebaren van interesse en zorgzaamheid die mij een fijn gevoel geven. Ik wil niet slechts als consument worden benaderd, waarbij van mij verwacht wordt dat ik op dezelfde manier blijf afnemen en aanschouwen als gebruikelijk was. Het is nu belangrijk om te erkennen dat onze ervaringen en behoeften anders zijn. Dat we ons zorgen maken over de gezondheid van geliefden, over ons inkomen en over het voortbestaan van mooie initiatieven.

    Daarom: bedankt voor deze ruimte en de uitnodiging om hier ervaringen te delen. Sorry dat mn reactie niet helemaal netjes binnen deze topic past, maar zo gaat dat soms in een gedachtenstroom 😉

    Het is niet mijn bedoeling om af te geven op initiatieven die vermaak en afleiding bieden – ook dat hebben we soms nodig. Wel ben ik heel benieuwd hoe anderen het ruime aanbod online content van kunstinstellingen ervaren en wat jullie relevant en waardevol vinden. Er is nu tijd voor stilstand en reflectie, dus laten we nadenken over alternatieven.

  • Rik Dijkhuizen says:

    The biggest impact of the COVID-crisis on my life is the sudden loss of most of my work (being a.o. a freelance teacher, copywriter and content creator): some jobs feel through, others were put on hold, but luckily (and in full awareness of my luck in this) I managed to maintain a position of relative financial security, for now.. To be honest, I’m very grateful for this security because that means I don’t have to stress too much about it – again: for now. The irony is that professionals working in the cultural field are somewhat used to maintain a life on the edge of a knife, so nothing new here. I know many people in my community (artists, creatives, young professionals) faced and are facing a very difficult time. Already before the outbreak of the virus their financial situation was unstable, and this situation will have a huge impact on their lives. My biggest question was, and is: How do we secure ourselves, now and in the future? And also, admittedly, how do we keep away from those feelings many of us are way too familiar with?

    Since the start of the COVID-crisis I noticed that the plans I made for the foreseeable future came to a sudden standstill – an abrupt shift in personal priorities and change in values about all aspects of daily life. At first, once I got past the response of shock and crisis management, I experienced the situation as somewhat of an experiment – an opportunity to do things better for the future, to take care of the things that mattered most to me: togetherness, awareness, security, stability, sanity etc. I felt motivated to work on organising myself differently. This mindset was sort of an engine that created momentum, in work and life. I keep telling myself this is a moment for change, but of course I also experience moments when I find it difficult to stick to that idea. I get distracted easily, I tend to lose some sense of purpose and self-trust, and fighting those demons proved to be a bit challenging at times.

    Being at home has been, I think, the greatest struggle. I live alone, in a small space in the city center of Amsterdam, and I am very much used to work, to be outside, to see people, to stay connected, to feel inspired. Now, I’m spending a bit too much time on my own, and my feelings shift between being content with the slower pace of daily life (things are quite ‘simple’ nowadays), and feelings of stress, loneliness and lack of focus. ‘Acceptance’ is something that still needs some exercising 😉

    Things will change profoundly. For the foreseeable future I think I have to adjust to having less money to spend. The sudden loss of work isn’t that noticeable right now, but I know I will be needing some time to recover – to wake up in the morning and think “I’m doing good”, or “I’m ok” at least. Hopefully we will manage to secure a reasonable standard of life for us all, collectively – because the lack of security for me and my community is something that genuinely worries me, even more now than before. This issue is not something that was caused by corona – it’s, I think, better to say that it got amplified to the grotesque by the current circumstances. This should be the moment when we think: “We really really really need to change things.”

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