Egypt and the Netherlands
Egypt has a long and rich cultural history, with a great wealth of tangible and intangible heritage as a result. Besides Egypt’s huge historical significance, recent years have also seen strong development in independent initiatives in the cultural and creative sector. Given its role as a hub for arts and culture in the Middle East and North Africa region, Egypt has emerged as an influential player in the cultural field. This makes Egypt an interesting partner and platform for both heritage and contemporary cultural projects.
Egypt is one of the 23 priority countries defined in the 2021-2024 international cultural policy of the Netherlands. It is the ambition of the Dutch government to promote the continuation of partnerships and exchanges in contemporary culture in various fields, including cultural heritage, in the coming years. The Dutch embassy in Cairo in particular will play a supporting role in this.
The cultural and creative sector in Egypt
The Egyptian government has not declared or adopted a coherent cultural policy, and the national budget allocated to arts and culture is not considerable in comparison with other sectors of the economy. Therefore, the cultural and creative sector in Egypt is mostly run by medium to small independent enterprises. Operating with minimum resources, the sector is nevertheless productive and continues to propose alternative discourses and creative and innovative solutions to local challenges.
Challenges and growth
The pandemic did not spare the cultural sector. The suspension of all social activities and closure of spaces and venues weakened the professional, social and economic position of artists and cultural professionals. Cairo is the centre of most cultural activities, opportunities and growth. Despite numerous economic, political and social challenges affecting the practice, production and dissemination of art and culture in Egypt today, the cultural and creative sector has witnessed significant growth with regard to works produced and audience interest. Read more…
Information & advice
Would you like to receive more information regarding opportunities for cultural exchange with Egypt? Feel free to contact our Focal Countries Desk with your questions. They can inform you about the latest developments in the country, relevant contacts, stages and other cultural venues.
Egypt at a glance
featuring 18 artists
12 months (2021)
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.
- Where can I find funding within Egypt?
Egypt does not have a comparable system of art subsidies as The Netherlands. Independent cultural organisations and NGO’s are funded by private donors, business companies, private funds or foreign funds. However, due to regulations not every Egyptian organisation can accept financial support from abroad. Therefore we advise you to discuss the best way to apply for funding with your Egyptian counterpart.
The Embassy of the Netherlands in Cairo has an extensive network in the local cultural sector and in-depth knowledge of its cultural institutions, organisations and venues. The Embassy can advise you on opportunities for cooperation. In addition, they can provide grants to Dutch cultural organisations that collaborate with Egyptian counterparts.
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 Egypt or any city you are interested in. This way you will see which Dutch artists are already active in which areas.
DutchCulture also works closely together with On the Move. On their website you will find an elaborate mapping of funding opportunities for artists and cultural workers.
Further funding opportunities
These two funding guides can help you on your way with finding funding in Europe:
Fund-finder, a guide to funding opportunities for arts and culture in Europe, beyond Creative Europe (in English) and EU Subsidiewijzer (in Dutch).
Finally, existing networks can help you further on your way. Look up networks in your field of activity here.
- What rules and regulations do I have to consider (visa, social security, taxation)?
As an EU citizen, you do need a visa to be able to enter Egypt. Please make sure to apply for a visa at least 3 weeks before traveling to Egypt. For cultural exchange, it is likely that you will need a humanitarian visa or a work visa. However it depends on the situation which kind of visa you will need. You can read everything about the various types of visa, invitation letters and the application process on the website of Evisum Egypt.
Please inform the Embassy of the Netherlands in Cairo and DutchCulture about your visit, so we can assist you when you encounter problems when applying for your visa.
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 Egyptian authorities. In case of any doubt or further questions, please contact the Dutch embassy in Cairo.
- How can I promote my work in Egypt?
It is a good idea to engage local professionals and publicists, that have an understanding of your art discipline, audience and region. Make sure to contact the Embassy to let them know about your projects, and don’t forget to create a My DC account where you can add your activities in our Cultural Database. 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, an exhibition space?
Browse through the DutchCulture Database and figure out which artists from the Netherlands have worked at which venues, and start your this way. Go to the search icon on the upper left corner of the website, and search by discipline, country and city. For residencies the organization TransArtists, which is also 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.
- What to take into account if I want to invite an Egyptian artist/ cultural actor to the Netherlands?
FactsProcessing the visa takes from 2-3 weeks in low seasons and 3-4 weeks in high seasons (summer). Appealing on visa rejections requires 90 day to be decided. Re-applying for a visa after being rejected can be done immediately after receiving the refusal letter. Visa applications are assessed by Visa Section in the Hague based on pre-set criteria. The embassy cannot therefore intervene nor influence the process, its pace, nor the assessment/ decision of the Visa Section. The fact that the applicant is travelling in the frame work of a project supported or organized by the Dutch government, the embassy, Dutch organizations does not guarantee or imply that:
- the applicant will be granted the visa,
- the applicant will obtain a visa with a longer duration, if any,
- the applicant will be exempted from any of the required documents or procedures.
VFS is now responsible for taking in the visa applications. To reach VFS and to set appointments and to verify the required documents, please log in here or call them on the following landline: 002 02 3332.30.10.
RecommendationsPlease submit the visa application to VFS 3 to 4 weeks before travel date. Please contact VFS to take visa appointment at least 10 days before the optimum date to submit the visa application. If you fail, the embassy could then assist in scheduling prior appointments, should there be available slots.
- When seeking assistance of the embassy to schedule the appointment, please be clear about when all the required documents to complete the application will be ready. This will save time and effort wasted in scheduling and rescheduling appointments.
- Signed (and possibly stamped) invitation letter from the Dutch host (organization or project) indicating the name and passport number of the applicant, the purpose of the visit, its duration, where the activity for which the applicant is travelling will be held. Should the host or the project in which framework the trip is taking place be covering any of the travel costs for the applicants; please indicate in the letter all the items that will be covered for the applicants (hotel, flight, among others). Also please include the name of the hotel, if available.
- Should the applicant be travelling from one city to another in NL or to other European countries, then please add the program of the visit (date and place). This should match the submitted proof of hotel booking.
- Supporting documents are particularly necessary for artists and practitioners who have no steady income or previous travel history, among others.
- Are there specific things to keep in mind when it comes to safety in Egypt?
For the most recent travel advice to Egypt, please see the website of the Dutch government.