International cultural policy

The Dutch government wants to strengthen international cultural exchange and cooperation as this nurtures us with new influences and images. In the same way, the work and subjects of Dutch artists and cultural institutions are a source of inspiration and knowledge in other countries. They showcase what the Netherlands is about. Dutch cultural creators, painters, heritage sites and design tell our story. The Netherlands is a country with an open outlook, keen to forge partnerships and find innovative solutions. Culture also serves Dutch political and economic interests.

Role of the Dutch government

Many international cultural partnerships are forged without government intervention. However, if opportunities are not being fully grasped, the government can play a supportive role, for instance in bringing people together in the cultural domain.

Aims of International Cultural Policy

The Netherlands’ International Cultural Policy Framework 2017-2020 sets out the following aims:

  • to strengthen the Dutch cultural sector;
  • to help build a safer and more just world;
  • to practice cultural diplomacy (through the Dutch embassies and consulates).

This International Cultural Policy Framework incorporates the recommendations of:

Funding for International Cultural Policy 2017-2021

The government has earmarked €18.3 million a year for implementing its international cultural policy. This money is allocated to various central government culture funds, cultural institutions, international cultural programmes and cultural diplomacy activities.

Through its Creative Twinning grant scheme, the Dutch government subsidises cultural activities in countries neighbouring the EU. The scheme was set up by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

Players in the international cultural policy landscape

International cultural policy involves a variety of players from the culture sector, besides central government cultural funds, embassies and consulates, and ministries. They include DutchCulture, EYE, Het Nieuwe Instituut, the National Archives, the Cultural Heritage Agency, the Prince Claus Fund and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. Where and how they operate depends on the knowledge required, the aim and the location. Most projects are run in partnership with local parties.