International cultural policy

Responsibility for determining the form and content of international activities lies primarily with individual artists and cultural institutions. However, the government can support this process. That is the principle of international cultural policy.

The government helps artists, cultural institutions and the creative sector to widen their market abroad, especially in neighbouring countries and emerging economies. International cultural policy is also used to improve the Netherlands' image, and to support our political and economic interests abroad.

Objectives of international cultural policy

International cultural policy focuses on the following objectives:

  • helping leading Dutch institutions achieve international standards, by making considered choices within the basic cultural infrastructure;
  • strengthening the international market position of Dutch artists and institutions;
  • strengthening Dutch economic interests by emphasising cultural, trade and economic ties;
  • cultural diplomacy: using art and culture to benefit foreign relations.

International cultural policy priorities

International cultural policy focuses in particular on:

  • Priority countries

Priority countries are: Germany, Belgium (Flanders), the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, France, Spain, Brazil, Turkey, Russia, China, India, South Africa, Indonesia and Japan. Within the parameters of foreign policy, central government is looking at ways of stimulating cultural cooperation in the Arab region. Central and Eastern Europe are also of interest.

  • Creative industry sector

The creative industry sector is one of the nine leading sectors. The Creative Industries Internationalisation Programme strengthens the international market position of the following sectors: architecture, design (including fashion), new media and gaming. These sectors consist mainly of small businesses and self-employed people without employees, groups which have a lot to gain from a joint approach.

  • Shared cultural heritage

In the course of history, the Netherlands has left tangible tracks all over the world. Archives housed in every corner of the globe contain a wealth of knowledge about our country. The government is seeking to conserve this shared heritage by:

  • encouraging partnerships between Dutch and foreign institutions;
  • exchanging experts and knowledge;
  • supporting foreign initiatives;
  • expanding the circle of parties interested in shared heritage.

This partnership often forms a strong basis for bilateral relations. To this end the Netherlands is supporting activities in: Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname and the United States.