Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul, South Korea

Photo: Warren Whyte - Own work/Wikimedia Commons

What do the numbers say? Edition South Korea: a significant annual increase

The 2018 data clearly shows the positive impact of policy making, and the resulted interdisciplinary cultural programme NEDxPO2018.
4 September 2019

South Korea ‘entered’ the Netherlands’ international cultural policy for the first time since 2017. The coinciding Winter Olympics of 2018 in Pyeongchang were a main factor in this decision. Now that we know the Dutch cultural programme in South Korea NEDxPO2018 was well planned, implemented and received. But was it reflected in numbers? 


Looking into the data, in 2018, 246 Dutch artists participated in 408 cultural activities across South Korea – a significant annual increase by 45%. These events took place at 138 venues across 26 cities around the country.

‘I Seoul U’

The capital city Seoul owns 25% of South Korea’s population and is the definite hub of Korean and international cultures in the country. Six out of the ten venues that hosted Dutch artists’ presentations for the most in 2018 are located in Seoul, with the Seoul International New Media Festival and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) top on the list. The latter is also one primary partner for the NEDxPO2018 programme. Its Changdong artist-in-residency program has set up a long-term collaboration with the Mondriaan Fund for Dutch artists to work in Korea.

Korean traditional street view, still image from Sjoerd ter Borg film 'Beach Umbrella' (파라솔), 2018
Away from the capital

No less than 46% of all Dutch cultural activities in 2018 took place in Seoul. The percentage is still high but lowered considerably from the 60% that we recorded in 2017. It shows that in the sexond year of policy implementing, Dutch artists and cultural organisations started to expand their reach from the capital city more towards the whole country across South Korea. Busan, Incheon, Gwangju, Goyang and Jeonju each housed more than ten Dutch cultural events in various disciplines.

Discipline overview

Visual arts (including photography) played a big role in the NEDxPO2018 (figure 1). This single discipline contributed 31% of all Dutch cultural events within 2018, which is 15% growth compared to the data of 2017. Music dropped from 36% to 22%, although the amount of concerts per se only decreased slightly. Due to the touring feature in the music industry, the most frequent flying Dutch artists to South Korea are normally musicians. The jazz band The Busquitos topped on the list of 2018.

Figure 1: events by discipline, South Korea, DutchCulture Data 2018
Excellent platforms

South Korea is also home of some important international film festivals (Busan, for instance). They provide as excellent platforms for Dutch movies to be seen in the East. 25% of all Dutch activities in 2018 are film screenings and promotions. As for the creative industry (design, architecture and digital culture) – another highly recognised Dutch sector in South Korea, we recorded in total 10% of 2018 cultural activities, although it’s perhaps more prominent in the business terrain.

Check out the complete overview of Dutch cultural activities in South Korea in our database.

If you are a cultural professional who wants to go to South Korea, feel free to contact our South Korea advisor Ian Yang.

For funding possibilities, check out our Cultural Mobility Funding Guide or the websites of our partners Creative Industries Fund NLDutch Film FundDutch Foundation for LiteratureEYE InternationalHet Nieuwe InstituutMondriaan FundPerforming Arts Fund, and the Dutch Culture Korea website.

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