South Africa


Read our COVID-19 Information for cooperation with South Africa

South Africa and the Netherlands
Transformation and Identity is the main theme for the cultural cooperation with South Africa for the Netherlands for the policy period 2021-2024, with a focus on youth as the future leaders and tomorrow’s decision-makers. This theme provides the opportunity to discuss the shared past that continues to influence present-day Netherlands and South Africa, openly and through various channels and modalities. The theme also creates a platform to continue the discussion in an effort to shape a mutual understanding with respect to a shared future.

South Africa has been a democracy since 1994, but its social and economic transformation to a more equal society has not fulfilled the expectations of all sectors of the population. Groups that previously had no voice in the social debate are questioning formal institutions and traditional cultural values, in particular the youth: although born into a free and democratic society, the majority remains subjected to the socio-economic injustices suffered by those who fought for freedom decades before them.  

Partnership and respect
The Netherlands values 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 of partnership and respect. Such partnerships are built on the principle that both South African and Dutch interests meet in the middle to collaborate on mutually beneficial projects having a long-term sustainable impact.

Opportunities exist in particular for the following sectors: audio-visual; performing arts; visual arts; creative industry (big data, fashion, (serious) gaming, design thinking, smart design, additive manufacturing (3D printing)) and cultural heritage. The latter includes intangible heritage, maritime heritage and technical support, but also concerns the relationship between South Africa and the Netherlands in relation to contemporary societal issues and the goal of ensuring the long-term preservation and archiving of Dutch history in South Africa. Read more…

Information & advice  
Would you like to receive more information regarding opportunities for cultural exchange with South Africa? Feel free to contact our Focal Countries Desk with your questions. We can inform you about the latest developments in the country, relevant contacts and cultural venues.

Further reading


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

South Africa at a glance

33 registered activities in 2020
featuring 19 artists

Number of activities
12 months (2020)

Activities by
discipline in 2020


Frequently asked questions