After the political changes in Europe in 1989, the Polish cultural sector made a fresh start: revitalising urban, educational and cultural centres with the support of EU funding and the vibrant energy of its citizens. A new generation redefined the national culture based on the traditions of both East and West, including classical Latin culture, Eastern orthodoxy and Jewish mysticism. Warsaw became the New Berlin, Wroclaw the European Capital of Culture in 2016. The cities of Łódź, Gdańsk, Kraków and Lublin are now home to outstanding museums, film, modern dance and music festivals.
The current Polish government promotes a national culture based on Polish patriotism and Christian values. The political agenda often dominates the cultural one. Politically motivated changes in the management of state-run cultural organisations have resulted in a focus on government-friendly programming. Still, the cultural sector continues to be largely led by independent opinion-forming institutions and festivals. Two major awards are the 'Passport – Polityka,' a prize for young artists awarded by the left-liberal weekly Polityka, and NIKE, a prestigious literary prize founded by the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper. Most cultural institutions and festivals in Poland are medium and/or small-sized and co-funded by local governments.
Centuries of cultural connections
Poland has longstanding cultural connections with the Netherlands. In the late Middle Ages, Dutch Mennonites immigrated to Poland and drained the wet areas along the Wistuła river. The Baltic trade in wood and grain in the 16th century brought prosperity to both countries. During the Second World War, Dutch citizens were killed in Nazi-German camps in Poland, while the south of the Netherlands was liberated by the First Polish Armoured Division of General Maczek in 1944. These are just a few examples of the history that ties together Poland and the Netherlands.
Poland became a focal country in the international policy 2021-2024 of the Netherlands. The new policy aims to foster collaboration with the Polish cultural sector. Opportunities exist in particular for the following sectors: performing arts, film, literature, classical music, dance music, heritage, creative industries (sustainable cities) among others. Read more…
Information & advice
Would you like to receive more information regarding opportunities for cultural exchange with Poland? Feel free to contact our Poland advisor Tijana Stepanovic with your questions. She can inform you about the latest developments in the country, relevant contacts, stages and other cultural venues.
Poland at a glance
featuring 49 artists
12 months (2020)
discipline in 2020
Frequently asked questions
- 1. Where can I find funding within the Netherlands?
In the Netherlands the means for international cultural cooperation are delegated to the national funds. The fund that works for your art form or discipline, has one or several subsidy schemes for internationalisation. To make sure the program fits your project, contact the advisors of the fund before starting the process of application. Please note that due to the Corona crisis, some of the calls are temporarily closed.
These are funds:
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.
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
Check for other funding options, such as regional and private funding the Cultural Mobility Funding Guide for the Netherlands
- 2. Where can I find funding within Poland?
In order to be eligible for financing opportunities it is necessary to have a Poland based partner. Only people or institutions registered in Poland can apply for funding, unless it is noted to be otherwise. Therefore we advise you to ask your Polish partner organization to apply for funding in Poland, at the Dutch Funds or at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Warsaw.
Besides that the Embassy of the Netherlands in Warsaw has an extensive network in the local cultural sector and in-depth knowledge of its cultural institutions, organisations and theatres. The Embassy can advise on opportunities for cooperation. In addition, they can provide grants to local cultural institutions that present Dutch cultural works in the Poland. They also help Dutch artists and creative entrepreneurs in increasing their visibility.
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 ´Poland´ 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, where you will find an elaborate mapping of funding opportunities. Check here the Guide to Funding Opportunities for the International Mobility of Artists and Culture Professionals. This guide was updated in 2018 and lists national, local and international resources, be they public or private.
- 3. Are there funding opportunities within Europe?
Creative Europe (2021-2027) is the seven-year support programme by the European commission for the cultural and audio-visual sector, and consists of two subprogrammes: Culture and MEDIA. The Creative Europe Desk of the Netherlands is part of DutchCulture. Be aware that there are many strict conditions to be considered before applying for this programme. The cooperation also has to consists of at least three European countries, a cooperation between only Poland and the Netherlands is therefore not eligible. In April 2019 i-Portunus mobility programme was launched. You can apply here for financial support in travel and accommodation costs for international projects within the Creative Europe countries.
Europe for Citizens - EACEA
Europe for Citizens is the European Union's funding programme to support cooperation projects by citizens, local governments and civil society organizations in the EU. The aim is to support European projects where citizens meet, discuss the future of Europe and remember the (recent) turbulent past of the EU. Europe for Citizens Point NL promotes awareness and understanding of the programme, and provides free advice and support for applicants from the Netherlands. Every participating country has such a contact point. More about Europe for Citizens in Dutch can be found here.
Besides these two programmes of the European Commissions, there are more European funding opportunities and within the two programmes, there are different calls and subprogrammes.
Further funding opportunities
These two funding guides can help you on your way:
Fund-finder, Guide to funding opportunities for arts and culture in Europe, beyond Creative Europe (published by IETM in English)
EU Subsidiewijzer (published by Creative Europe Desk NL in Dutch)
- 4. How can I promote my work in Poland?
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 let DutchCulture know! This way you will be included in our Database and become part of our network.
- 5. What visa do I need?
As for now as an EU citizen, you do not need a visa to work in Poland. 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 you can 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 find solutions. Always make sure that your health insurance will cover you across borders.
- 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 the organisation 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.
Links to the Polish Cultural Sector:
list of theater festivals
Polish culture around the world
A daily updated website about the most interesting events related to Polish culture around the world. In addition to information about events organized in Poland and abroad, you can find numerous profiles of artists, reviews, essays, descriptions and information about cultural institutions.