Masterstudent Hanna Vinckers presenteert samen met Helleke van den Braber 'Nalaten aan cultuur'
Masterstudent Hanna Vinckers presenteert samen met Helleke van den Braber 'Nalaten aan cultuur'

Why do people leave money to art? Student Hanna investigated

During her internship, Master's student Hanna Vinckers investigated whether people want to leave money to cultural organisations. To do so, she talked to complete strangers about something very personal: their will. Her research results did not get cast aside. She was allowed to present her research at the meeting of Stichting Nalaten aan Cultuur in Amsterdam, where 60 leading cultural organisations were represented.

Why do people decide to leave part of their inheritance to a cultural organisation? And why exactly not? This is an issue that employees of the organisation LVWB Fundraising deal with on a daily basis. An employee gave a guest lecture at the course Cultural Sponsorship and Patronage, part of the Master's of Arts Policy and Business. Hanna: 'This is how I first came into contact with fundraising. The guest lecturer concluded her words with: 'Has your interest peaked? Then give us a call.' And so it happened: I had a really fun internship there from November to February!'


Hanna interviewed six culture enthusiasts about the details of their wills. 'Death is very far away from you when you are as young as I am. My grandmother sometimes shouts something about her inheritance, but otherwise, I didn't concern myself with it. I know that you can donate part of your inheritance to charity, but it's still a whole new world for me. Although, my previous studies in Art & Economics came in handy at the beginning of my research: I am pretty good with numbers.

She visited interviewees' homes to discuss whether or not they would be donating money to a cultural institution after their death. 'It was special to visit strangers' homes, especially in the group who chose to donate money to a cultural institution after their death. I saw a lot of art hanging, and that immediately created a bond. I love art too!'


Hanna found out that art really means a lot to people who decide to include cultural institutions in their will. 'People think that leaving money to cultural organisations is important. The corona pandemic also came up, and interviewees said they saw art as a vitamin source. They felt empty when the theatres were closed during the pandemic and are so happy that now they can go there again!'

Hanna explicitly stated that she did not want to know how much people wanted to leave a cultural institution and said so before the interview process. 'I only want to know one thing: why they choose to or not.'

Two of the six interviewees chose not to donate money to cultural organisations after death. 'During those interviews, you find out that supporting art has to do with norms and values. The cultural institution does not always connect 100% with the person.'


She presented her research findings at the cultural centre De Nieuwe Liefde in Amsterdam to an audience where 60 leading cultural organisations were represented. 'I do not share which organisations my interview candidates will donate to. However, I did recognise some of these parties in the audience!'

Through her presentation, Hanna also found out that many donors are generally childless. 'None of the interview candidates have children. Yet they also want to leave something for the next generation with their donation. Although they have no children, they hope that the next generation will continue to enjoy art and culture.'

Afterwards, professionals from the audience weighed in on Hanna's research findings by conducting a panel discussion with Hanna Philips of the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Marceline Loudon of the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and Leonie Lhoëst-Pels Rijcken of the Rembrandt Association. 'This made it clear that fundraising is a year-long plan. It must be recorded at the notary, and only after death will the cultural organisation receive the money.'

Supervisor Helleke van den Braber is proud of her Master's student: 'I introduced her presentation. It is wonderful that Hanna can make recommendations and show how cultural organisations can better and more effectively ask for support from people considering donating to culture. It is very valuable that the sector receives student research in this way!'

Are you also interested in the importance of arts and cultural entrepreneurship in Dutch society? Take a look at our website and read more about the Master's programme in Cultural Policy and the Business of Art:

 Cultural policy and the Business of Art  

Picture by Wessel Spoelder

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Faculty of Arts
Art & Culture