DutchCulture Database 2018: trends in Dutch international cultural activities

In 2018 Dutch artists participated more than 15,000 cultural activities in 108 different countries. DutchCulture identifies important trends.
20 May 2019
By Erin Chang


Each year, DutchCulture tracks the international events that Dutch artists and cultural organisations produce and take part in abroad. This helps to give a sense of the cultural impact that the Netherlands has in other countries. Ahead of the European Elections, this data also helps to identify trends in cultural cooperation between the Netherlands and the EU. As of this year, the database is accessible via the search function on the DutchCulture website. In the coming weeks, we will also publish articles on 2018 activities in each of the priority countries in the Netherlands’ international cultural policy plan.

Interesting changes

Dutch cultural activities continue to be strongly international; in 2018, we tracked 15,181 cultural activities across 108 different countries. Although this number remains roughly the same as in 2017 (up slightly from 15,020), Dutch cultural activities have seen a number of interesting changes in the spread of these activities across different countries, disciplines and venues.

The top destination countries remain relatively stable, with Germany and the United States remaining as top destinations for Dutch artists, accounting for 21% and 15% percent of all international events respectively. While cultural capitals, such as New York (470 events), Berlin (355 events), and London (334 events) are important hot spots, Dutch cultural events are widely dispersed. Events took place in 2584 different cities, with 88% of events taking place outside capital cities. This is a slight increase from 2017, with events in 2319 cities, and 87% took place outside capital cities.

2018 International Cultural Activities Heat Map
Strong EU ties

The EU continues to play a crucial role in the Netherlands’ international cultural activities. In 2018, 54% of all Dutch international cultural events took place in the EU, and five of the top ten most visited countries for Dutch artists were in the EU. While strongest in nearby countries (Germany, Belgium, UK, France, Italy), events were spread across Europe with Dutch artists working in 1538 cities across every single EU country.

Top 50 Country Destinations

Dutch international cultural events encompass a myriad of disciplines and event types, ranging from museum expositions and theatre performances to design fairs and book translations. Music continues to be the dominant Dutch cultural activity in the DutchCulture database, accounting for 45% of all tracked events. This is followed by audiovisual media (15%) and performing arts (14%).

Percentage of events by discipline
Widespread cultural cooperation

The 2018 data and trends highlight the impact of the Netherlands’ investment in international programmes that seek to expand the reach of Dutch arts abroad. The breadth of international cultural cooperation is a fundamental strength of the Dutch cultural sector. This cooperation is not only taking place in major cities in western countries but also in smaller towns all over the six continents. It is not only a select few going abroad but a wide range of both emerging and established Dutch artists and organisations from all over the Netherlands. This presence across the globe reinforces the Dutch cultural sector at home, stimulates international cooperation, and drives innovation.