Earlier this week, Chessbase co-founder Frederic Friedel appealed to his chess news audience to lend support for the Max Euwe Center in Amsterdam. The center was founded shortly after his death in 1981 and has since grown from a small museum and collection of books to an enormous collection of chess sets, books, and memorabilia from tournaments throughout history. As with any program that promotes cultural influences like chess, the museum has long relied on the financial contributions of private and corporate donors along with a subsidy from the city of Amsterdam. Although the article does not explain why it is happening, it appears that Amsterdam has chosen to stop providing the Max Euwe Center with the subsidy, which would put its future in doubt.
Max Euwe is known for being the only amateur chess player to ever win the World Championship. He defeated Alexander Alekhine in 1935, but only held the title for 2 years before the title was recaptured by Alekhine in 1937.
This kind of thing happens in the United States almost on a daily basis. Programs and organizations that promote culture and history through subsidies from local and national governments are seeing those subsidies slowly stripped away through budget cuts and poor financial planning. The niche nature of chess makes maintaining a museum like the Max Euwe Center a challenge in itself and without the proper support from a wealthy proprietor or government subsidy these kinds of places simply cannot exist. In the event that the Max Euwe Center cannot find the appropriate funding and ceases to exist, it is likely that the museum’s inventory will go to private collectors like the World Chess Hall of Fame and others around the world. This would ensure that the items stored in the museum are well kept, but limiting the material access to the public would be a loss for the chess world.
How You Can Help
Corporate Sponsors: Contact Eddy Sibbing, manager of the Max Euwe Center or call +31-20-625-7017.
Private Donations: Donate to IBAN: NL91 INGB 0005 4016 70 Stichting Max Euwe Center in Amsterdam. When donating to the center, indicate New Donor MEC plus your name and address.