China is a focus country in the Netherlands’ International Cultural Policy 2017-2020. Among other things, this status means that extra attention, resources and personnel capacity go to the Dutch diplomatic posts in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Hong Kong.
Many Dutch artists are interested in working in China; and in the Netherlands, there is a desire to give more attention to Chinese art and culture. From China’s side, there is much interest in Dutch artists and Dutch cultural expertise. DutchCulture coordinates these interests and advises artists and institutions in both countries.
Despite the great demand and opportunities in China for Dutch art and the Dutch cultural sector, cultural differences can cause major obstacles to building up a network and gaining access to China. The role of the Chinese government and the financial means there are often different from what we are used to in the Netherlands.
Sustainable collaboration in the museum, film and creative industry sectors
In 2014, the ministers of culture of the Netherlands and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding that gave extra attention to coproductions in the spheres of film, the creative industry, cooperation between museums and literature.
Cooperation in these disciplines will continue in the coming years. The Netherlands Embassy in Beijing, DutchCulture, the Dutch Foundation for Literature, the Netherlands Film Fund and the Topteam Creatieve Industrie have made strategic plans. Other public funds, including the Dutch Performing Arts Fund, the Creative Industry Fund NL and the Mondriaan Fund, also actively sponsor Dutch cultural presentations across China.
In recent years, DutchCulture has built up a good local network in China and signed partnership agreements with key strategic Chinese partners such as the Overseas China Town Group (OCT), the China International Cultural Association (CICA) and Shenzhen Art&Design Alliance (SDA).
The Netherlands Embassy, the Dutch Consulates in China (Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Hong Kong) and the Netherlands Business Support Offices (NBSO, located in Jinan, Dalian, Nanjing, Chengdu, Qingdao and Wuhan) organise annual recurring activities under the name ‘Dutch Days’. These events are intended to foster economic ties and strengthen the synergy between business and culture.
Interested to learn more about the China's cultural and creative field? On our website, you can find a comprehensive mapping of the Chinese cultural and creative field.
China at a glance
featuring 346 artists
12 months (2019)
discipline in 2019
Frequently Asked Questions
- 1. Where can I find funding within the Netherlands?
In the Netherlands the national cultural funds offer incentives for international cultural cooperation. Below you will find an overview of the different funds, which cover various disciplines. To make sure an incentive is a match with your project, contact the advisors of the fund before starting the process of application. These are funds:
Creative Industries Fund NL
for Design, Creative Industries, Architecture, Digital Culture
> Grant Program for Internationalisation
for Visual Arts
> Subsidy for foreign contemporary art platforms to present work by Dutch(-based) living artists. Invited artists can also apply
> Travel grants to travel to foreign contemporary art platforms for a lecture, workshop or performance
Performing Arts Fund
for Performing Arts (theater, dance, music, opera)
> Grants for foreign organisations to invite Dutch(-based) artists
> Internationalisation grants for Dutch(-based) artists
Dutch Film Fund
for Audiovisual media, Film, Documentary
The Film Fund has several subsidy schemes to support co-productions and distribution (film & documentary)
Dutch Foundation for Literature
The Dutch Foundation for Literature has several subsidies for internationalisation:
> Translation grants for foreign publishers
> Travel grants
Cultural Participation Fund
for Communal arts, cooperation, projects with non-professionals
> The development grant within the international cooperation scheme by the Cultural Participation Fund is available for all disciplines and designated for finding partners abroad
Netherlands Enterprise Agency
for the Creative Industries
Looking for more funding options? DutchCulture’s Cultural Mobility Funding Guide offers the most complete overview of funding possibilities for international mobility and exchange for artists and cultural professionals in the Netherlands. Our updated 2019-2020 guide includes a total of 85 different funding opportunities that allow for incoming and outgoing mobility of artists and cultural professionals. You can download the Cultural Mobility Funding Guide here.
- 2. Where can I find funding within China?
China (the Mainland) does not have a comparable system of cultural subsidies as The Netherlands. Some public cultural institutions are financed by the national or regional governments; some independent institutions - art museums, cultural centres, festivals, etc. - are established and sponsored by state-owned or private corporations.
Funding for cultural cooperation projects by governmental or private organizations, if at all, usually materialises through the local partner organization not in an immediate way for international partners. It is generally difficult to generate direct financial support through open source, however, mutual trust, interest and friendship are always the base of funding possibilities. We advise you to discuss with your Chinese counterpart the best way to gain financial support for your project.
The diplomatic network of the Netherlands in China has an extensive network in the local cultural sector and in-depth knowledge of its cultural institutions, organizations and venues. The Embassy and Consulate Generals can advise on opportunities for cooperation. In addition, they can provide support to Dutch cultural organizations that collaborate with Chinese counterparts. You can find their contacts here.
Doing your research beforehand and finding local partners is essential. You can use the DutchCulture Database by simply going to the search option in the upper left corner, and search for ´China´ or any city you are interested in. This way you will see which Dutch artists are already active in which areas. You may also contact our advisor for cultural cooperation with China here.
- 3. Are there other funding opportunities?
Since 2012, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) and On the Move (OTM) have jointly presented the Mobility Funding Guides for International Cultural Exchange for the 51 countries of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), which includes China. These guides provide a comprehensive and updated list of funding opportunities for the cultural mobility of artists and cultural practitioners in Asia and Europe, where cultural mobility is defined as “the temporary cross-border movement of artists and other cultural professionals.” You can find the Mobility Funding Guide for China here.
- 4. What visa do I need?
Citizens from the Netherlands do normally need a visa to enter the People's Republic of China for various purposes. In most cases for short stay in China, F visa is issued to those who are invited to China for exchanges, visits, study tours; L visa for tourism; and Z visa for those taking up a post or employment, or giving commercial performances. You can find clear information on the visa website of the Chinese Embassy in The Hague, inquire information and apply for the specific visa you need from the Chinese Visa Application Centre in The Hague (website). Be aware that your passport needs a minimum validity of six months.
If you have a passport from outside the EU, it is wise to check the rules with your country´s representatives in the Netherlands, or ask the DutchCulture Mobility Info Point.
Find out exactly what the rules are that a gallery, stage or theatre upholds, before engaging in a cooperation. If you find obstacles on your way, you will have enough time to apply for permits or find other solutions.
Disclaimer: The information given above is mainly provided by the Chinese authorities. In case of any doubt or further questions, please contact the Chinese Embassy in The Hague.
- 5. Are there specific things to keep in mind when it comes to safety in China?
China is a vast country with social transformation. Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, typhoons or flooding and general social unrest occurs unexpectedly at times. Be sure to stay up to date with the most recent travel advise issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, see here. This website also informs you on security risks, traffic safety, recommended travel vaccinations, etcetera. You can also download the Travel app of the Ministry to stay up to date and inform them on your travel plans.
Your local partner in the cultural field in China may prove to be a valid, on-the-ground advisor when it comes to the current situation in the area that you are visiting.
- 6. How can I promote my work in China?
It is a good idea to engage local professionals and publicists that have an understanding of your art discipline, audience and region. There are many Dutch cultural professionals and organizations that are active in China or may have relevant experiences that can be useful for your own project. Using existing networks may also help you in promoting your work.
Make sure to contact the diplomatic network of the Netherlands across China to inform them about your projects, and do not forget to let DutchCulture know! This way you will be included in our Database and become part of our network.
- 7. How can I find a residency, venue at which to perform, exhibition space?
Through the DutchCulture Database you can figure out which artists from the Netherlands have worked at which venues, and start your research there. Go to the search icon on the upper left corner of the website, and search by discipline, country and city.
For residencies in China, the organisation Transartists, which is a 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 is always wise to spend more than a few days somewhere. Residencies, which can last from a couple of weeks up to several months, can help you achieve this.
Another non-for-profit platform is China Residencies, which provides a free online directory of opportunities in mainland China & Hong Kong for creative people from all over the world.