Poland and the Netherlands
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, and 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.
- Find out more about cultural exchange with Poland 2021-2024
- COVID-19 Information for cooperation with Poland
- Webpage of the Embassy of The Kingdom of the Netherlands in Poland
- Follow the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Poland on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram
Poland at a glance
featuring 199 artists
12 months (2022)
discipline in 2022
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 internationalization. To make sure the program fits 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
> Internationalization of the Design Sector Grant Scheme
for Visual Arts
> Subsidy for International Art Presentation to present work by living Dutch(-based) artists. For Dutch(-based) artists or internationally recognized art organizations outside the Netherlands.
> Subsidy for International Art Fair/Art Book Fair to present work by living Dutch(-based) artists. For Dutch and non-Dutch galleries, publishers and non-Dutch art fairs.
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.
The Netherlands Enterprise Agency
is not a national fund but also offers on behalf of various ministries and the European Union subsidies for companies in the creative industries.
Check for other funding options, such as regional and private funding the Cultural Mobility Funding Guide for the Netherlands 2021/2022.
- 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.
For funding opportunities within Poland, you can check the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the website of Wspolnota Polska. 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.
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 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.
- 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 the i-Portunus mobility programme was launched.
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.
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)
If you are looking for travel grants, check Vision STEP (temporarily closed) and i-Portunus programmes.
- 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. You might want to check East Art Mags, an initiative of four art magazines in the East Central European 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:
Big Book Festival
list of literary Festivals in Poland
list of museums by Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
list of theater festivals
list of music festivals in Poland
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.