Japan

Cultural cooperation between Japan and the Netherlands flourishing on many levels.

Stefan Scholten (r) of Scholten & Baijings designers, in the 1616/ Arita Japan workplace. After their series Colourful Porcelain for 1616/ Arita Japan, the Dutch design duo and Teruhiro Yanagihara, artistic director van 1616/ Arita Japan, were asked to become creative directors of 2016/ Arita.

Interest in cultural cooperation between the Netherlands and Japan is great. Japan is booming in the Netherlands, and the Netherlands’ cultural image in Japan has become stronger on various levels. Cooperation varies from blockbuster museum exhibitions (Mauritshuis 2012, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen 2017) and artist-in-residency programmes to exchanges in the areas of design, techno-music and cultural education.

The greatest opportunities for the Netherlands are in the creative industry, the visual arts, the performing arts and shared cultural heritage.

For its International Cultural Policy 2017-2020, the Netherlands sees the Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo in 2020 and the trend of regional revitalisation in Japan as reasons to vigorously pursue cultural exchange and designate Japan as a selected country with a tailor-made approach.

Lots of opportunities in depressed areas
Tokyo has always been Japan’s cultural hotspot, and for many people it is the starting point for activities in Asia. Yet in some respects the city is already chock full. Outside of the capital is where one can literally and figuratively find (financial) room for developing new initiatives.

The Dutch-Japanese cultural cooperation programme ‘Holland-Kyushu’ (2016-2017) demonstrates the added value of concentrating on one particular region, in this case Kyushu in southwestern Japan. The programme has led to an increase of (knowledge) exchanges between the Dutch and Japanese cultural sectors.

One of the important themes is regional revitalisation in areas outside the metropolis of Tokyo. Many areas face economic depression as result of exodus and aging populations. The Japanese government is therefore actively seeking international cooperation in order to help reverse this process. This not only presents opportunities for the Dutch cultural sector but also for the business community, social organisations and the sports sector.