South Africa

South Africa and the Netherlands
Transformation and Identity is the main theme for the cultural cooperation with South Africa for the Netherlands for the policy period 2021-2024, with a focus on youth as the future leaders and tomorrow’s decision-makers. This theme provides the opportunity to discuss the shared past that continues to influence present-day Netherlands and South Africa, openly and through various channels and modalities. The theme also creates a platform to continue the discussion in an effort to shape a mutual understanding with respect to a shared future.

South Africa has been a democracy since 1994, but its social and economic transformation to a more equal society has not fulfilled the expectations of all sectors of the population. Groups that previously had no voice in the social debate are questioning formal institutions and traditional cultural values, in particular the youth: although born into a free and democratic society, the majority remains subjected to the socio-economic injustices suffered by those who fought for freedom decades before them.  

Partnership and respect
The Netherlands values South Africa as a cultural partner and sees great value in cultural cooperation as a goal in itself, but certainly also as a means of strengthening mutual understanding and trust. The basic principle of this cooperation is that of partnership and respect. Such partnerships are built on the principle that both South African and Dutch interests meet in the middle to collaborate on mutually beneficial projects having a long-term sustainable impact.

Opportunities exist in particular for the following sectors: audio-visual; performing arts; visual arts; creative industry (big data, fashion, (serious) gaming, design thinking, smart design, additive manufacturing (3D printing)) and cultural heritage. The latter includes intangible heritage, maritime heritage and technical support, but also concerns the relationship between South Africa and the Netherlands in relation to contemporary societal issues and the goal of ensuring the long-term preservation and archiving of Dutch history in South Africa. Read more…

Information & advice  
Would you like to receive more information regarding opportunities for cultural exchange with South Africa? Feel free to contact our Focal Countries Desk with your questions. We can inform you about the latest developments in the country, relevant contacts and cultural venues.

Further reading


Josine Backus
Advisor - Focal Countries | Brazil
j.backus [at]

Minke van Schaik, DutchCulture
Minke van Schaik
Advisor - Focal Countries
m.vanschaik [at]

South Africa at a glance

81 registered activities in 2022
featuring 35 artists

Number of activities
12 months (2022)

Activities by
discipline in 2022


Frequently asked questions

Where can I find funding within the Netherlands?  

In the Netherlands, there are various funding opportunities available for artists, cultural practitioners and organisations with international ambitions. You can find a first overview on our Funding Support page. For a more extensive overview, see our Cultural Mobility Funding Guide.  


International Heritage Cooperation is part of the Netherlands’ international cultural policy. The embassies of the Netherlands in the partner countries have a budget for supporting local cultural heritage projects. DutchCulture manages a Matching Fund. Dutch legal entities (companies and registered freelancers) are able to apply for partial funding for an international heritage cooperation project.  

Where can I find funding within South Africa?

More info will follow soon

What rules and regulations do I have to consider (visa, social security, taxation)?

More info will follow soon

How can I promote my work in South Africa?  

It is a good idea to engage local publicists, that have an understanding of your art discipline, audience and region. The cultural department of the Dutch Embassy in Pretoria can help you find network or decide to promote your work through their channels.

Lastly, don't 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.

How can I find a residency, a venue at which to perform or an exhibition space?

Browse through the DutchCulture Database and figure out which artists from the Netherlands have worked at which venues, and start your research this way. Go to the search icon on the upperleft corner of the website, and search by discipline, country or city.

For residencies, the organisation Transartists, which is also 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 always wise to spend more than a few days somewhere. Residencies, ranging from a couple of weeks until several months, can help you to achieve that.  

What to take into account if I want to invite a South African artist or cultural worker to the Netherlands?

More info will follow soon

How can I keep up to date with any news concerning cultural work in South Africa?

The embassy of the Netherlands in South Africa is active on different social media platforms. Follow them on one or more platforms and stay up-to-date about the latest news, new opportunities, and events.

Are there specific things to keep in mind when it comes to safety in South Africa?

For the most recent travel advice to South Africa, please see the website of the Dutch government (in Dutch).