Japan has a rich cultural tradition where heritage, arts and crafts are profoundly valued and associated with its national identity and with the local identities of different regions. Japan therefore offers the cultural world unique opportunities for international cultural cooperation. On the one hand, its (in)tangible cultural expressions are an inexhaustible source of inspiration for creators from all over the world. On the other hand, Japanese makers also look abroad for input to keep their creative work in step with global trends.
The Netherlands, in particular, can count on the attention of Japan. Japan is not only important for the Netherlands in trade and investment. It is also a significant like-minded partner in Asia in terms of global geopolitics, and of course there are the centuries-long historic ties between the two countries. This all contributes to the dynamism and prosperity in Dutch-Japanese cultural exchange and cooperation.
Japan is invariably popular in the Netherland. There’s a nonstop stream of Dutch makers travelling to Japan in search of inspiration, and so to take a step further in their career. More and more Dutch cultural institutions are collaborating with Japanese partners, and the number of Dutch students studying Japanese language and culture is increasing.
Conversely, people in Japan are particularly interested in innovative Dutch approaches to tackling societal issues such as the aging of society, regional revitalisation and social inclusion. Many Japanese artists, designers and architects have studied in the Netherlands and have become active cultural ambassadors.
Regional focus: Kyushu, Kyoto and Kanto
Japan is a virtual treasure chest of crafts and local industries that are interested in linking up with creative foreign talent. This resulted in the first regional cultural programme Holland-Kyushu (2016-2017), followed by a focus on the old capital, Kyoto, which is brimming with cultural activity. The mutual interest and efforts of the Dutch embassy resulted in, on average, around 450 Dutch cultural activities taking place in Japan every year (2017-2020). In the current policy framework 2021-2024, the Netherlands will continue to develop the regional focus (currently this is on the Kanto area around Tokyo), while also focusing on presenting the results Dutch initiatives across Japan in the capital. Accordingly, the new slogan is ‘Tokyo and beyond. Creating and producing in localities and presenting in Tokyo’. The overall goal is to stimulate deeper and broader collaborations between Dutch and Japanese cultural and creative sectors. Read more…
Information & advice
Would you like to receive more information regarding opportunities for cultural exchange with Japan? Feel free to contact our Japan advisor Ian Yang with your questions. He can inform you about the latest developments in the country, relevant contacts and cultural venues.
Japan at a glance
featuring 129 artists
12 months (2020)
discipline in 2020
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 in Japan and other possibilities?
In Japan, the Agency for Cultural Affairs defines the country's cultural policy including international cultural exchange (website in English). Governments of multiple levels in Japan would provide various subsidy plans to promote international cultural exchange and collaboration. Although most of the funding schemes are only available for Japanese nationalities to work internationally, foreign artists are often supported with local assistance and hospitality, e.g. accommodations, interpretation, when they work in Japan. For specific international presentational platforms sponsored by the government in Japan, for instance the Holland House in Saga or large scaled international biennials, international travel costs can be also covered by the organisation.
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 Japan. 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 Japan here.
- 3. What visa do I need?
Citizens from the Netherlands do not need a visa to enter Japan for tourism purposes (‘visa exemption’). Upon arrival in Japan via one of the international airports or harbours, you will receive a tourist visa in the form of a sticker on your passport. Please note that your passport shall be valid at least for the period of your stay in Japan to enter/leave Japan. With a tourist visa you are allowed to stay in Japan for a maximum of 90 days. For some, non-public, cultural activities a tourist visa may be sufficient. You can find more information on the visa website of the Japanese Embassy in The Hague or on the website of Immigration Bureau of Japan.
If your stay includes paid activities such as performances or concerts, you may have to apply for a working visa. You can find more information on the visa website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
We recommend you to inform the Embassy of the Netherlands in Tokyo about your visit.
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 Japanese authorities. In case of any doubt or further questions, please contact the Japanese Embassy in The Hague.
- 4. Are there specific things to keep in mind when it comes to safety in Japan?
Japan is regularly plagued by natural disasters, such as earthquakes, typhoons or tsunamis. 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 Japan may prove to be a valid, on-the-ground advisor when it comes to the current situation in the area that you are visiting.
- 5. How can I promote my work in Japan?
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 Japan 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 Netherlands Embassy in Tokyo 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.
- 6. 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 Japan, 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.