Australia and the Netherlands
Australia and the Netherlands share a long and rich history that stretches all the way back to the first European contact with the continent when the VOC ship Duyfken landed at (what would later be called) Cape York Peninsula in 1606. Since this first interaction, Australia and the Netherlands have built close people-to-people connections and ties across a range of mutual interests.

Between 1947 and 1971, 160,000 Dutch people emigrated to Australia. These emigrants contributed to Australian society, culture and prosperity and became an important factor in shaping the nation. According to the 2016 census, almost 340,000 Australian people are of Dutch descent.

Heritage: maritime, migrants, military and mercantile
The shared story of Australia and the Netherlands offers Australian institutions numerous opportunities to explore Dutch-Australian connections, particularly in the field of heritage. Under the Netherlands’ international cultural policy 2021 – 2024, Australia has been designated as a focal country, and Australia is a partner country of the International Heritage Cooperation programme. This means that Dutch-Australian heritage projects are eligible for support from various national funds, including the DutchCulture Matching Fund.  

The Dutch embassy in Canberra also administers grants for projects that support one or more of four key heritage themes: maritime, migration, military, and mercantile. Grants are available to Australian-based institutions and professional organisations that collaborate with a cultural partner based in the Netherlands. Applications can be submitted from the beginning of each calendar year for a period of six months.

In addition to the four heritage themes, the Netherlands is taking a proactive role in engaging with contested histories, including the repatriation of colonial objects. The embassy is interested in working with partners and projects in Australia engaged in this debate.

Visual arts, serious gaming, design, fashion and architecture
The cultural dialogue between Australia and the Netherlands is profound and extensive and includes museums, galleries, libraries, archives, universities and local government organisations. For many decades, major Dutch performing arts companies such as the Nederlands Dans Theater, Internationaal Theater Amsterdam and the Asko|Schönberg ensemble, and composers such as Louis Andriessen and Michel van der Aa, have made significant contributions to Australia’s cultural calendar.

Dutch artists and companies have also made their mark in the fields of the visual arts, design, serious gaming, fashion and architecture. The Dutch architecture firm OMA recently collaborated with the Australian firm HASSELL to design the award-winning Western Australian Museum Boola Bardip in Perth. The multi-disciplinary design firm, Studio Toer, has collaborated with Sydney’s VIVID festival to present innovative lighting installations. Dutch visual artists are generally well-represented at the Biennale of Sydney, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney), and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (Melbourne). Read more...

    Information & advice  
    Would you like to receive more information regarding opportunities for cultural exchange with Australia? Feel free to contact our  Focal Countries Desk with your questions. 

    Further reading


    Josine Backus
    Advisor - Focal Countries | Brazil
    j.backus [at]

    Minke van Schaik, DutchCulture
    Minke van Schaik
    Advisor - Focal Countries
    m.vanschaik [at]

    Australia at a glance

    39 registered activities in 2021
    featuring 24 artists

    Number of activities
    12 months (2021)

    Activities by
    discipline in 2021


    Frequently asked questions

    Where can I find funding within the Netherlands?  

    In the Netherlands, there are various funding opportunities available for artists, cultural practitioners and organisations with international ambitions. You can find a first overview on our Funding Support page. For a more extensive overview, see our Cultural Mobility Funding Guide.  


    International Heritage Cooperation is part of the Netherlands’ international cultural policy. The embassies of the Netherlands in the partner countries have a budget for supporting local cultural heritage projects. DutchCulture manages a Matching Fund. Dutch legal entities (companies and registered freelancers) are able to apply for partial funding for an international heritage cooperation project.  

    What rules and regulations do I have to consider (visa, social security, taxation)?

    More info will follow soon

    How can I promote my work in Australia?  

    It is a good idea to engage Australian professionals and publicists, that have an understanding of your art discipline, audience and region. Communicate with websites or social media that could promote your project, the same goes for local press. There are a growing number of Dutch people living in Australia and many cities have a Dutch network. Using these existing networks will also help you to promote your work.

    Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Canberra is happy to provide information on the various cultural sectors. Make sure to contact them about your projects, and don’t forget to let DutchCulture know! This way you will be included in our Database and become part of our network.

    How can I find a residency, a venue at which to perform or an exhibition space?  

    Browse through the DutchCulture Database and figure out which artists from the Netherlands have worked at which venues, and start your research this way. Go to the search icon on the upperleft corner of the website, and search by discipline, country or city.

    For residencies, the organisation Transartists, which is also part of DutchCulture, is a great research tool. In order to successfully build an international career, and in order to find sustainable partners in a country, it always wise to spend more than a few days somewhere. Residencies, ranging from a couple of weeks until several months, can help you to achieve that.  

    What to take into account if I want to invite an Australian artist/ cultural actor to the Netherlands?

    More info will follow soon

    How can I keep up to date with any news concerning cultural work in Australia?

    More info will follow soon

    Are there specific things to keep in mind when it comes to safety in Australia?

    For the most recent travel advice to Australia, please see the website of the Dutch government (information in Dutch).