After years of debate, the House of Representatives passes a law requiring streaming services to invest in Dutch productions

A law that requires large streaming services such as Netflix to invest in films and shows with a Dutch signature was passed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday. If the senate also agrees, 5 percent of the turnover of streaming services realized in the Netherlands must be invested in productions that have a link with the Netherlands, for example because of the language or theme. Of that amount, 60 percent should benefit independent producers.

However, to the frustration of, among others, the left-wing opposition parties PvdA and GroenLinks and industry representatives, the impulse for Dutch films, series and documentaries has been weakened by a deal between coalition parties and right-wing factions. An amendment stipulates that half of the compulsory investment may also be invested in entertainment (reality, game shows). At least 2.5 percent of the annual turnover achieved in the Netherlands must still go to films, series and documentaries. The creation of this law has taken years.

Amendment ‘undermines’ law

State Secretary Gunay Uslu (D66, Media) stated in a debate last week that this amendment “undermines” the law, but did not withdraw the bill because then there would be no support at all for the Dutch cultural sector. PvdA member Mohammed Mohandis stated in his statement of vote that “we are no more than establishing what is already happening” with 2.5 percent for films, series and documentaries. According to him, the purpose of the law has been negated by the broadening to entertainment. PvdA and GroenLinks, who have been in favor of an investment obligation for years, voted against the law.

According to CDA MP Lucille Werner, however, “the entire sector should benefit from the bill”. “As CDA we say: 50 percent to culture, 50 percent to broadening.” A similar obligation for international services is already in force in several European countries; it is higher in larger countries such as Spain and France. In some cases it is a levy.

Two months ago, Uslu was still heading for 4.5 percent of Dutch turnover for films, series and documentaries. That would amount to about 40 million euros for the sector, she calculated.


Market leader Netflix previously said that “due to the current tightness in the sector” it will be “a challenge” to comply with the obligation to invest in independent producers. For Videoland (RTL), number two in the Netherlands with 1.2 million subscribers, the law will hardly have any consequences given the already large share of Dutch productions.

Read also: Video services are given more freedom with mandatory investment in Dutch productions

For Viaplay, the law can have a lot of impact. The Scandinavian streaming service has been conquering market share since March 2022 by taking over the Formula 1 rights from Ziggo. At the end of 2022, after Max Verstappen’s second championship, there would already be 1.2 million subscribers in the Netherlands, according to the annual report. If 5 percent of the turnover realized here has to go to Dutch productions, this could already amount to several million. But sports registration does not count as a destination for the compulsory investment. Viaplay says that nine Dutch productions have already been or are being worked on.

Parent company Viaplay Group had to adjust its expectations for the second quarter this week due to disappointing results. According to the Swedish-listed company, revenue from TV advertising is disappointing, as is growth in subscribers in new markets such as the US and Canada. CEO Anders Jensen made way for Jorgen Madsen Lindemann on Monday. The stock market value fell by 60 percent.