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A brief guide to surviving the Italian Cultural sector

By 19 July 2017October 14th, 2020No Comments

Or in other words how we tried to convince 15 Dutch companies (and before that, ourselves) that Italy is a great place to work in digital services for museums, libraries and archives

From June 20th to June 23rd, BAM! Cultural Strategies joined the Embassy of the Netherlands in organizing some of the official initiatives relating to the State visit of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Italy.

We were given a difficult but fascinating task: to act as a guide for a group of Dutch companies and institutions working in the field of innovative digital services for museums, libraries and archives in the Italian cultural sector. Some have truly respectable resumes that have established them as some of the most renowned organizations in their respective sectors: Picturae and Axiell for digitization and online library management, Guide ID for museum storytelling, Naturalis Natural Science Museum and Organisation in design, agency for design services Ventura Lambrate e Ventura centrale.

How did we do it?

We helped them network, organizing meetings and visits for them with important Italian institutions: MAXXI, Galleria Nazionale, Biblioteca Nazionale, Pinacoteca di Brera, Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnica Leonardo da Vinci, and also The Regional Museum Complexes of Campania.

We bombarded them with MEPA giving them the keys to orienting themselves in the world of public administration.

We organized a very popular matchmaking event, where we met with over thirty Italian cultural institutions and companies that arrived in Milan on June 22nd, full of questions, curiosity and desire to collaborate. They left the event full of enthusiasm and international contacts of the highest level: from the Biblioteca Salaborsa to Teatro Alla Scala, Palazzo Grassi, Punta della Dogana and Piccolo Teatro, Muse and Sistema bibliotecario milanese, Museo del Cinema di Torino, Mudec and many others.

Who was it useful for?

The Dutch officials

What the Dutch organizations decided to address is first and foremost a challenge linked to the understanding of the bureaucratic-administrative framework in which Italian cultural institutions work and operate, to which they have no comparison. Slowly they began to better understand thanks to some information – given by James Bradburne, general manager of the Pinacoteca di Brera – that the Italian public cultural system is facing a moment of drastic change, both in terms of structure and approach. They were able to understand the shift that we are undergoing desires to make Italian institutions examples of international management and enhancement, without requiring these tasks solely to the wealth of our heritage.

In short, they have realized that there is no shortage of work to be done, that there is room for their state-of-the-art services, which, despite many obstacles, is moving and a real change is already under way.

The Italian sector

The Italian players that participated in the initiatives treated the meeting with the Dutch organizations as a novelty, in the face of which:

  • The institutions proved themselves to be ready, perhaps some were initially skeptical but then reactive and able not only to grasp the challenge, but to thoroughly investigate the specificities of the Dutch situation (side note: perhaps we too often underestimate ourselves?);
  • Businesses were excited, almost disoriented by the opportunity (perhaps it is the time to focus less on start-ups and strive to significantly impact on well-established players in the industry?).


A challenging but exciting week and a great opportunity we have tried to do our best at: we hope to continue to be a reference point for both the Italian sector and for future projects in the realm of internationalization.