China and the Netherlands
After decades of extremely rapid development, China now ranks as the world’s second-largest economy and a significant player in global geopolitics. With a huge potential market and enthusiastic (younger generation) audience, this robust Asian country has a great need for cultural and artistic content in a variety of disciplines – from contemporary art, children’s theatre, to graphic design, art management and classical music. It largely attracts cultural makers and institutions from the Netherlands to work with China, let alone the country’s fascinating future-oriented energy as well as its enriched traditions.
Conversely, Dutch creativity and innovation are nowadays recognised all across China, in addition to Rembrandt, Van Gogh and the windmills and tulips. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Netherlands had become a popular destination for Chinese tourists and young creatives to pursue their interests and study.
China is one of the focal countries defined in the international cultural policy of the Netherlands. The two countries have built a reciprocal partnership in cultural cooperation, both on public/governmental level and in private sectors. In the past years, a good many collaborative projects have been developed, for instance, annual museum management training programmes (2015-2018), annual Dutch contributions to the Beijing Design Week, and the ‘Dutch Days’ across China.
Collaboration and difference
Despite the great demand and opportunities in China for the Dutch cultural sector, cultural differences can cause major obstacles in gaining access to and building up a network in China. The role of the government and funding resources for cultural activities in China are often different from what we are used to in the Netherlands. The growing influence of China on the rest of the world also requires particular attention and resilience in international collaboration with the country.
In 2019, the Dutch government published the policy document The Netherlands and China: a new balance. It provides guidance for the new framework (2021-2024) of Dutch international cultural policy towards China. In the coming years, the Dutch diplomatic network in China (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Hong Kong) and all other stakeholders, including DutchCulture, will continue to support and facilitate the Dutch cultural sector in their endeavours with Chinese partners. Open to collaboration, but also aware of the challenges. We expect opportunities for cultural cooperation at major events, such as the Urbanism and Architecture Bi-city Biennale (UABB), Shenzhen; Shanghai International Children's Book Fair; Business of Design Week, Hong Kong. Read more…
Information & advice
Would you like to receive more information regarding opportunities for cultural exchange with China? Feel free to contact our China advisor Ian Yang with your questions. He can inform you about the latest developments in the country, relevant contacts and cultural venues.
- Find out more about cultural exchange with China 2021-2024
- COVID-19 Information for cooperation with China
- Webpage of the Embassy of The Kingdom of the Netherlands in China
- Social media of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in China
- Comprehensive mapping of the Chinese cultural field (2016)
China at a glance
featuring 222 artists
12 months (2022)
discipline in 2022
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 (theatre, 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-production 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.
- 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 searching 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 a 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 about 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 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 occur unexpectedly at times. Be sure to stay up to date with the most recent travel advice 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 of 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.