The Dutch government has greenlit the country's first film incentive: a cash rebate of 20 million Euros ($27 million) available to local and foreign productions.

The rebate was advocated by the ministers of finance, economic affairs and education, science and culture, in order to energize the Dutch film industry, attract foreign productions and prevent runaway shoots.

"Over the last few years the Netherlands has been unable to attract international film productions, while Dutch film producers were often forced to shoot and post-produce their films abroad," explained Film Fund CEO Doreen Boonekamp. "Dutch film professionals can now compete internationally on the basis of quality."

Boonekamp added the government based its decision on a study which highlighted film measures offered in neighboring countries like France, Germany and Belgium. "We noted how much these measures have stimulated their film industries, and benefited their economy and culture," Boonekamp told Variety.

A recent research conducted by Oxford Economics found that employment in the film sector in Europe rose 11.5% since 1998, while Dutch employment figures fell 16.7% over the same period.

The Dutch government is going for a cash rebate instead of a tax incentive because "it's a more transparent process that's simpler to handle," per Boonekamp.

The guidelines for the rebate will soon be unveiled. Boonekamp said foreign productions will have to fill cultural criteria and find a Dutch co-producer to be eligible.

The Netherlands is repped by Alex Van Warmerdam's psychological thriller "Borgman" in the Oscar's foreign-language category. A sign of the local industry's revival, "Borgman" was the first Dutch pic to play in competition at Cannes Film Festival in 38 years.

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