Money Matters in Western Europe

* All figures valid for April 2016 and included for guidance only


Pay and conditions in French ballet companies which enjoy public subsidy (Paris Opera excluded) are strictly regulated by a nationwide Collective Labour Convention. This determines minimum pay, working hours, scheduled breaks etc, and applies across all companies. Salaries can go above the minimum agreed, but not fall below. We give the 35-strong Ballet du Rhin, based near the EU hub of Strasbourg, as an example of what to expect when joining a French public company. See list of all French opera houses under Helpful Links.

Company *Monthly Pay (per contract) Tax + Deductions Paid Holiday Pension
Ballet Du Rhin €1,852 Nat Ins Deducted, Income Tax paid later YES State Pension *

* minimum pension; it’s advisable to make your own private provision

The Netherlands

Here too, pay and conditions in public-supported companies are subject to a detailed collective agreement between management and the union representing the sector. Unlike in France, though, salaries are agreed across the board according to a strict table and allow no variation. So, what applies to Dutch National Ballet will be standard across the sector.

Company *Monthly Pay (per contract) Tax + Deductions Paid Holiday Pension
Dutch National Ballet €2,348 + tax free allowance 10.85% + NI 31.15% + social funds YES 4 weeks + 3×1 week Co’s own with outside provider


Agreements here are not on a nationwide, but rather on a state level. Some provisions apply across the board – for example, employees everywhere must pay into a state pension fund. Other conditions and rates of pay vary from state to state. We present below a selection of well-known German companies illustrating the differences.

Company *Monthly Pay (per contract) Tax + Deductions Paid Holiday Pension
Bavarian State Ballet €3,222 30-40% + Nat. Ins. YES 72% taxable income Must pay into state pension**
Dresden Semperoper Ballet €3,136 40% approx*** YES YES see above**
Hamburg Ballet €2,800 €1,750 after tax + Nat. Ins. YES Must join theatre Pension Fund**
Stuttgart Ballet €3,000 40% approx*** YES Must join theatre Pension Fund + State pension**

** money paid in can be recouped when you stop dancing in Germany between the ages of 35-44.

*** tax rate varies with individual circumstances (eg, single person, or person with dependants). Also factored in are deductions for health insurance, unemployment insurance, pension fund, social security.


Salaries are generous here, but do bear in mind that the cost of living is among the highest in Europe.

Company *Monthly Pay (per contract) Tax + Deductions Paid Holiday Pension
Royal Danish Ballet DKK 23,1667 (€3,104 approx*) + Tax free allowance 36% NO* YES
Norwegian National Ballet NOK 37,021 (€4,103 approx*) 30-36% YES YES

*no paid holiday entitlement during first 12 months.


Again, very generous salaries and the cost of living is lower here than in Scandinavia.

Company *Monthly Pay (per contract) Tax + Deductions Paid Holiday Pension
Zurich Ballet CHF 5,205 (€4,994 approx*) 16% (incl. pension deduction) YES 13th month paid YES

*Euro amounts for approximate comparison purposes only. Rates of exchange vary. For more accurate rate use the Currency Converter (in Helpful Links)

Information on other countries