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

Cultural cooperation Brazil-Netherlands 2021-2024

Cultural cooperation Brazil-Netherlands 2021-2024

Looking back: persistent mutual interest to build on

In recent years, the Dutch government has focused on the theme of The liveable city for cultural cooperation with Brazil and has supported projects in various art disciplines that contributed to ideas and solutions for liveable cities. While Dutch creatives work on smart solutions to social issues, Brazilian cultural organisations are particularly good at making all forms of culture accessible to the population.

Most Brazilian-Dutch cultural cooperation and activities take place in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, culturally the most important cities. In addition, Brasília as the capital of the country is relevant in particular for institutional cooperation. Recife, due to its historical link with heritage, remains important as one of the cultural hotspots of the Brazilian Northeast. The existing network in these cities has been further built up and strengthened in recent years.

Dutch artists have attended some of the most important Brazilian cultural events, as well as a number of smaller festivals that operate at the intersection of creativity and innovation. Some examples are the former conductor of the Dutch Ricciotti Ensemble, Leonard Evers, performing with the Orquestra Moderna and deaf young people; or Dutch VR video makers at the Curta Brasília film festival, showing what this sector has to offer from the Netherlands; or Dutch and Brazilian designers, collaborating on exhibitions about food design at the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro. Three years in a row, a Brazilian culture maker has won the Prince Claus Award. This has further strengthened the cultural profile of the Netherlands in Brazil. There is a persistent interest in Dutch culture and knowledge to build on.

Main cooperation partners (not exhaustive):
  • In Brazil: SESC-SP, SESI-SP, Museu da Casa Brasileira, CCBB, Museum of Tomorrow, Firjan, FGV, IPHAN, various festivals at the intersection of creativity and innovation
  • In the Netherlands: Het Nieuwe Instituut, EYE, Creative Industries Fund NL, Mondriaan Fund, Performing Arts Fund, Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, National Archives, Prince Claus Fund, DutchCulture
The Orquestra Moderna and Dutch director Leonard Evers perform with deaf youngsters at the Ibirapuera Auditorium in São Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Mujica Saldanha
The Orquestra Moderna and Dutch director Leonard Evers perform with deaf youngsters at the Ibirapuera Auditorium in São Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Mujica Saldanha
Looking forward: longer collaborations and investing for the future

Also, or perhaps especially, after the corona crisis, the theme The Liveable City remains relevant for both Brazilian and Dutch cities. That is why this theme stays central to the collaboration with Brazil. The Dutch government especially aims to support innovative projects and initiatives seeking solutions to contemporary and societal challenges. Supporting the international career of young creative professionals has priority.

The statement "Brazil is not for beginners" still applies. The distance between the Netherlands and the country is great, relatively little English is spoken and the (temporary) import of art and installations is complicated and expensive. In the coming years, the focus will therefore be on projects in which collaboration and exchange are even more locally embedded: projects geared to the creation and development of new work, based on the exchange of knowledge and an equal collaboration between makers. Preference is given to longer-term collaborations, in which, for example, artists collaborate with Brazilian organisations that offer in-house/artist in residence programmes.

Besides the thematic focus, the focus on existing partners and the geographic focus on São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília and Recife, there are always opportunities and possibilities to expand the scope, whether to other cities or regions such as Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre, or to new collaborative partners (local authorities, cultural institutions, etc.).

The statement "Brazil is not for beginners" still applies
Cultural heritage cooperation

For the cooperation with Brazil, cultural heritage remains a special focus; not just because of the shared past in colonial times, but also because of the heritage associated with the 20th century migration of the Dutch to Brazil. Collaboration regarding the preservation of this heritage will continue, in addition to knowledge exchange and capacity building concerning the reuse of heritage and museum collections. This implies extra attention for online collaboration, digitisation and intangible heritage. An important cooperation partner in this is IPHAN, sister organisation of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic recession and the political crisis will have strong repercussions on the cultural sector in both the short and medium term. It is therefore important to further strengthen ties with Brazil and to present the Netherlands as a reliable partner. By investing in the collaboration in the coming years and being distinctive, benefits can be reaped later. In addition, it is important to be in dialogue with the Brazilian partners about the form and implementation of cultural exchange: how can the cooperation be fleshed out with less travel, more online activities, or a mix of online and physical presence.

Cultural agenda (not exhaustive):
  • São Paulo Biennial (2021, 2023, 2025)
  • São Paulo International Architecture Biennial
  • UIA2020 World Architecture Congress (Rio de Janeiro has been declared by UNESCO as 2020 World Capital of Architecture) > postponed to 2021 due to corona
  • Annual festivals and events on the intersection of creativity and innovation, e.g. Festival Path, Pixel Show, Rio2C, Colaboramerica, LivMundi, Wired Festival etc.
Information & advice

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