South Korea and the Netherlands
The Republic of Korea (South Korea) has been developing rapidly and now has the world’s eleventh-largest economy. For the Netherlands, it is the second-most important export country in Asia. Its strong economy and trade with the world brings a deep understanding of soft power. Korean popular cultural and creative industries have been very beneficial to the image and economy of this modern Asian country. It could not be more so in the last few years with examples like the global success of Parasite, the Oscar-winning film by Bong Joon-ho, or K-pop band BTS, which has become an international sensation.
Recognising the value of cultural export more than ever, South Korea is looking further into internationalising its cultural sector in broader areas, for instance contemporary art and (urban) design, not only through export but also and particularly through exchange and collaboration. This offers structural opportunities for the Dutch cultural and creative sector to work with their Korean peers.
Since many years, the Netherlands and South Korea enjoy an amicable relationship in cultural cooperation. Since 2017, South Korea has been one of the priority countries in the international cultural policy of the Netherlands. A great many dynamic Dutch cultural activities have taken place in South Korea, including the interdisciplinary programme NEDxPO on the occasion of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics & Paralympics.
Dutch art schools and post-academic art institutions have a strong reputation in Korea. Many Koreans have studied in the Netherlands in design, architecture, visual arts or music, and have become cultural ambassadors between the two countries. Korean architects who joined Dutch architecture firms after graduation play a key role in projects in South Korea, while curators invite Dutch artists and researchers over for new initiatives after their return to Korea. Conversely, learning the Korean language and culture is becoming increasingly popular in the Netherlands among the younger generation, thanks to the booming K-culture.
In the policy framework 2021-2024, the Netherlands will harness the growing mutual interest to further enhance the contribution and visibility of the Dutch cultural sector in South Korea, and to strengthen the cultural ties between the two countries. Read more…
Information & advice
Would you like to receive more information regarding opportunities for cultural exchange with South Korea? Feel free to contact our South Korea advisor Ian Yang with your questions. He can inform you about the latest developments in the country, relevant contacts and cultural venues.
South Korea at a glance
featuring 237 artists
12 months (2021)
discipline in 2021
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.
- 2. Where can I find funding within South Korea?
In South Korea, the Ministry of Culture, Sport & Tourism supports the Korea Arts Management Service (which provides mobility grants, partnership with international festivals and cultural organisations, and associated international services for performing arts) and Arts Council Korea, (which funds Korean input to international cultural events, as well as arts residency opportunities). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs promotes public and cultural diplomacy initiatives and is responsible for its chief instrument for academic, cultural and intellectual exchange, the Korea Foundation.
Several Korean cities are networked internationally through culture, as are cultural organisations from both public and private sectors. In the capital city of Seoul, the municipal government suports the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture. It seeks to contribute to domestic and global expansion of Korean artists and arts organizations in partnership with outstanding culture and arts organizations around the globe.
- 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 South Korea. 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 South Korea here.
- 4. What visa do I need?
Citizens from the Netherlands do not need a visa to enter the Republic of Korea for tourism purposes (‘visa exemption’). Upon arrival in South Korea via one of the international airports or harbours, you will receive a tourist visa in the form of a sticker on your passport. With a tourist visa you are allowed to stay in South Korea 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 Korean Embassy in The Hague.
If your stay includes paid activities such as performances or concerts, you may have to apply for a Short Term Employment Visa. You can find more information here on the website of the Korean Embassy in The Hague.
We recommend you to inform the Embassy of the Netherlands in Seoul 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 Korean authorities. In case of any doubt or further questions, please contact the Korean Embassy in The Hague.
- 5. Are there specific things to keep in mind when it comes to safety in South Korea?
The area between North Korea and South Korea (Demilitarized Zone, DMZ) is only accessible in an organized context. Tropical storms and typhoons can occur in South Korea in August and September. In the winter months it can snow heavily. 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 South Korea 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 South Korea?
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 South Korea 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 Seoul 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 South Korea, 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.