Cultural Exchange

On this page you will find information on the implementation of the International Culture Policy (ICP) by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Japan.

Cultural Affairs

The embassy promotes Dutch cultural expressions in Japan and maintains contacts with the cultural sector in the Netherlands and Japan. Among others, we can support projects in Japan, give advice to organizations and artists and facilitate visitors programs to the Netherlands in cooperation with Dutch partners. We support projects that:

  • promote and represent Dutch cultural expressions and those who create these expressions in Japan;
  • stimulate Dutch-Japan cultural exchange, in cooperation with partners in the Netherlands and Japan;
  • use culture to connect different people and groups in Japan and to connect the Netherlands and Japan;
  • promote international exchange of work, knowledge and expertise;
  • expand activities and networks of cultural institutions, artists and designers;
  • promote existing collaboration between Dutch and local institutions;
  • contribute to preservation and management of Japanese cultural heritage that is shared with the Netherlands.

You can contact us via

Policy Framework 2017-2020

The embassy in Tokyo carries out the International Cultural Policy of the Netherlands, under the joint direction of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The Public Diplomacy, Political and Cultural Affairs of the embassy in Tokyo is in charge of the implementation of the ICP in Japan and is allocated with a yearly budget for this implementation. This budget is limited and we advise to approach other funds as well.

This embassy focuses on the so-called ‘objective 1’ of the ICP: “A strong cultural sector, where international exchange and sustainable cooperation ensure increasingly higher quality, and which is recognized and valued abroad”.

You can find the full, specific policy framework for the embassy in Tokyo here.

Objective 1: A strong Dutch cultural sector through international exchange and cooperation

This objective encourages international exchange of cultural events, artists, knowledge and expertise, and to preserve and provide access to culture.

This objective supports projects that promote cultural exchange and representation of Dutch arts and culture in relation to different disciplines, amongst others: visual arts, performing arts, and creative industry.

For this objective we collaborate closely with DutchCulture, cultural funds in the Netherlands such as Mondriaan Fund, Performing Arts Fund, Creative Industries Fund and other parties in the Netherlands. Together, we also inform the Dutch and Japanese cultural fields about possibilities in both countries and about the added benefits of cooperation.

To be eligible for application, we have the following criteria:

  • The project should help to strengthen cultural cooperation between the Netherlands and Japan.
  • The activity should not yet have started; we kindly ask you to hand in your application at least two months before the start of the project.
  • There must be a clear link with Dutch culture, cultural institutes and/or Dutch (based) artists.
  • There must be a Japanese partner (organization) and a financial involvement of this partner in the project.
  • The activity must contribute to the artistic and/or professional development of the Dutch partner (artist/expert/institution).
  • Focus areas are: visual and performing arts, heritage, creative industries.
  • Contributions will not exceed 50% of total costs.

There is a strong preference for – and will be given precedence to – applications from organisations in Japan. Applications by the same organizers within a short period of time are not preferred.

2. Focus theme: Shared Cultural Heritage

The shared history of more than four hundred years of relations between the Netherlands and Japan left tangible and intangible remnants of this history. Examples are VOC factories and other historical and shared remains, like 19th century water management constructions, artefacts in museums and research institutes. The shared cultural heritage of the two countries, accumulated in these four centuries of exchange, has inspired and still inspires people in Japan to be actively part of the Dutch-Japanese relation. Japan is a priority country in the Shared Cultural Heritage policy since 2013.

Shared Cultural Heritage has been appointed as a specific priority within the international cultural policy. The assignment concerning shared cultural heritage is carried out by the Dutch embassies in the partner countries, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, the National Archives of the Netherlands and DutchCulture. They collaborate with experts and organizations to expand the pool of knowledge on the topic of shared cultural heritage. We find these partners both in the Netherlands and further afield, varying from international networks, governments and heritage experts to universities, local businesses and private citizens.

The Embassy focuses on activities that:

  • encourage partnerships between Dutch and foreign institutions;
  • exchange experts and knowledge;
  • support foreign initiatives;
  • expand the circle of parties interested in shared heritage.

To be eligible for application, we have the following criteria:

  • Commitment and support of local authorities and/or local private parties to engage and invest in SCH;
  • Focus on 1 or more of 3 themes: historic inner cities, heritage and water management, and/or mutual reflection and understanding of past, present and future.
  • Effects on broader policy objectives of the embassy/consulate and bilateral relations;
  • Previous results and expenditures of the embassy;
  • Presence of shared cultural heritage and value of this heritage for the Netherlands;
  • Proposed (strategic) partnerships in the Netherlands and Japan;
  • Multilateral projects are possible.

3. Overall criteria for both objective 1 and shared cultural heritage:

  • Decisions to support activities are made based on the proposal’s clearly defined results and participating parties’ organisational quality and are assessed against the country-specific, multi-annual plan (focus sectors, target groups, geographic focus areas, etc.).
  • Reciprocity, ownership, sustainability of cooperation
    • the cultural sector initiates the activity and/or there is a local interest in the host country
    • collaboration or exchange between the Dutch and local partner is a must
    • this collaboration or exchange is based on an equal footing (financially, organisationally)
  • Activity is yet to take place.

Funding Applications

All proposals for cultural support (including for SCH program) have to be submitted and handled via

Depending on which country the applicant is based, the applicant receives a contribution or a grant. A grant is used for applicants which are based in the EU, only signed by the embassy. A contribution is used for local applicants and signed by both parties.

We kindly ask you to hand in your application at least two months before the start of the project.

Relevant websites

Dutch Governmental Culture Funds: