Turkey and the Netherlands
Turkey has a strong cultural and artistic ecosystem that welcomes the examples of the Dutch cultural and creative sectors. Turkey has a rich history as a country, also in relation to Europe and the Netherlands. The historical ties between the Netherlands and Turkey date back to over 400 years ago, when the Ottoman Empire was the first to acknowledge the Republic of the Netherlands as a country in 1612. This led to an extensive partnership between the two countries during the 17th century.

Today, there are more than 400,000 Dutch citizens with roots in Turkey. This organic connection creates opportunities for shared stories on the foundation of common history. Today’s multi-faceted and diverse society makes for many different forms of expression, which make it an intriguing environment for Dutch artists to work in. Different movements and views in Turkey often collide, but at the same time create ground for creative impulses and expressions. For Dutch artists, visiting and collaborating with Turkish partners can offer lots of inspiration and reflection.

A young and ambitious cultural sector
Vibrant, resilient, and constantly developing: the cultural sector in Turkey is never at a standstill. The demand for cultural activities is high, and the cultural sector is young and ambitious – from the performing arts to the visual arts, and from the creative industry to literature.

Artists and organisations in the cultural field are open to collaboration, experimentation, and innovation. Many new methods like co-design and cultural exchanges are already being embraced. The metropole of Istanbul is (unsurprisingly) a hub for most developments, but the development in the field is not limited to that region alone. The cultural infrastructure is strengthened by local and regional governments that are actively pursuing cultural policies. The creative industry is also upcoming, due to the challenges that climate change brings and for which it helps design new solutions. Local governments are collaborating with designers as well.

Given the pace at which the creative and cultural sectors in Turkey are developing, they are flexible and have great adaptive capabilities. Cross-sectoral collaborations continually emerge and contribute to spreading culture to all layers of society. Examples are of artists interacting with academics, or creative professionals working with craftsmen. There are significant differences within different regions in Turkey, socially and culturally as well as politically. These differences naturally coincide with different fault lines in society. Culture has an important role to play, as it can spark conversation, challenge existing views, and build bridges. Read more…  

Information & advice 
Would you like to receive more information regarding opportunities for cultural exchange with Turkey? Feel free to contact our Turkey advisor Aylin Özalp with your questions. She can inform you about the latest developments in the country, relevant contacts and cultural venues.

Further reading 


Aylin Özalp
Aylin Özalp
Advisor - Turkey
a.ozalp [at] dutchculture.nl

Turkey at a glance

116 registered activities in 2022
featuring 67 artists

Number of activities
12 months (2022)

Activities by
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 internationalisation. 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
> Grant Program for Internationalisation

Mondriaan Fund 
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

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 in Turkey?

The grant organisations in Turkey are limited in number in comparison to the EU countries. In order to be eligible for these financing opportunities it is in most cases necessary to have a partner based in Turkey. Only people or institutions registered in Turkey can apply for funding, unless it is noted to be otherwise. Therefore we advise you to ask your Turkish partner organisation to apply for funding in Turkey, while you can search additional support at funding bodies in the Netherlands or at the Consulate of the Netherlands in Istanbul.

Furthermore, the Embassy of the Netherlands in Ankara or the Dutch Consulate in Istanbul have 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 Turkey. 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 ´Turkey´ or any city you are interested in. This way you will see which Dutch artists are already active in which areas. DutchCulture has also prepared a very useful source-Mapping Turkey- containing a comprehensive survey of the cultural field put together by local experts in visual arts, design, film, heritage, publishing, youth and participatory projects.

Here are some names of grant organisations and foundations operating in Turkey: Foundation for Civil Society (Sivil Toplum icin Destek Vakfı), Sabancı Foundation (Sabancı Vakfı), SAHA Association (Saha Derneği) and SODES.

Furthermore, there are other funding programmes in the frame of the European Union such as Think for Civic Society (Sivil Düşün) and the European Commission-COSME for sustainable and circular fashion industry among others.

3. Are there funding opportunities within Europe?

Creative Europe

Since Turkey has withdrawn from Creative Europe (2014-2020), there is unfortunately no funding opportunities within this major funding programme. Turkey can primarily participate as a third country.

Travel grants

If you are looking for travel grants, check Vision STEP. In addition, existing networks in Turkey can help you further on your way.

4. How can I promote my work in Turkey?

It is a good idea to engage local professionals and publicists, that have an understanding of your art discipline, audience and region. You can find and contact them easily through ArtsMap: a digital platform to facilitate cultural cooperation, founded by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Ankara and the Consulate General of the Netherlands in Istanbul together with local partner InogarArt. Register here and receive updates about their Micro Support fund open calls, as well as international events and cultural speed dates organised regularly.

Make sure to contact the Consulate General and Embassy to let them know about your projects. Do not forget to create a My DC account, where you can add your activities to our Cultural Database. This way you will be included in our database and become part of our network.

5. What visa do I need?

EU citizens no longer need to obtain a visa to enter Turkey. In any other cases, 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 to apply for permits or find other 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 find 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, DutchCulture's TransArtists 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.