South Africa is undergoing a period of transformation, but its ties with the Netherlands, including cultural ties, remain important.
In the Netherlands’ international cultural policy for 2017-2020, South Africa has been selected as a country with a tailor-made approach.
Partly because of the long historical relation between the Netherlands and South Africa, the two work together successfully on many levels. The exchange of knowledge about the management and preservation of (shared cultural) heritage is particularly important. The countries also collaborate on stimulating societal debate about the past, present and future with specific young target groups.
Transformation is the central theme of many social discussions in South Africa. The country has been a democracy since 1994, but its social and economic transformation to a more equal and non-racial society has not met the expectations of some sectors of the population. Groups that previously had no voice in the social debate are questioning formal institutions and traditional cultural values.
The Netherlands appreciates 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 it arises from a South African interest in the first place and also contributes to the creation of a positive image on both sides.
The Netherlands Embassy in Pretoria, the Consulate General in Cape Town, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, the National Archives of the Netherlands and DutchCulture work together to stimulate cultural exchange with South Africa.