Frequently Asked Questions - International Heritage Cooperation

Frequently Asked Questions - International Heritage Cooperation

General information


What is International Heritage Cooperation?
Over the course of history, the Netherlands has both left and absorbed countless traces and cultural influences on and from around the world. These include tangible traces such as buildings, shipwrecks, religious objects, but also intangible traces such as sayings, culinary dishes and traditions. Some of these traces reflect a more peaceful and reciprocal history, such as the trade between the Netherlands and Japan, while others are tied to violence, such as the colonial occupation and exploitation of Suriname and Indonesia. All these traces show how the Netherlands became intertwined with other countries and cultures in the past, and how without this knowledge we aren’t able to properly understand our world today. International cooperation can help preserve, manage and make visible the cultural heritage that connects the Netherlands with other communities, countries and regions.
What is the International Heritage Cooperation Programme?

International Heritage Cooperation is part of the International Cultural Policy of the Netherlands, and aims to preserve, manage and make visible cultural heritage that connects the Netherlands with other communities, countries and regions. Collaborative projects can generate new insights, stimulate reciprocal interest, and open up new opportunities. Where colonial histories are concerned, collaboration can also result in the acknowledgement of and coming to terms with difficult and violent pasts.

In the current policy period (2021-2024), the programme is focusing mainly on ten partner countries: Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname and the United States. Yet, in this policy period, we will also cooperate with the other priority countries of the Dutch government’s international cultural policy: Belgium, China, Germany, Egypt, France, Hungary, Italy, Morocco, Poland, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and South Korea.

What parties work within the International Heritage Cooperation Programme?
The programme is part of the Netherlands’ international cultural policy, formulated and coordinated by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The programme is executed by DutchCulture, centre for international cultural cooperation, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, the National Archives of the Netherlands,the Dutch Centre For Intangible Cultural Heritage, and the Embassies of the Netherlands in the partner countries. Besides these core executive bodies, there is a bigger network of Dutch and international partners that participate in the project.
How could I benefit from the International Heritage Cooperation Programme?

Each organization offers different kinds of support for people who work, or are planning to work, in the field of international heritage.

DutchCulture has a Matching Fund which supports projects by Dutch organizations that contribute to the visibility of international cultural heritage in the Netherlands and/or one of the partner countries. DutchCulture also has an International Visitors Programme for foreign heritage professionals and can offer travel grants to Dutch and international cultural operators and experts. DutchCulture can also help you with your international ambitions by providing free tailored advice and networking opportunities.

The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands works closely with ten partner countries and with our Dutch partners within an extensive international network of administrations and heritage experts at universities, local companies and residents. The Cultural Heritage Agency focuses on tangible heritage, in particular built heritage, historical landscapes, archaeology and museum collections. The International Heritage Cooperation programme of the Cultural Heritage Agency aims to stimulate and facilitate the exchange and the joint development of (new) knowledge and expertise in the field of heritage between partners in the Netherlands and in the partner countries, while making the results of this cooperation visible and accessible. The instruments that the Cultural Heritage Agency uses to achieve these goals are trainings, workshops and co-creation labs; network, stakeholder and expert meetings; knowledge products (such as handbooks); and advice.

The National Archives of the Netherlands holds many records related to the colonial, trading and migration history of the Netherlands in the period from 1600 to 1975. At the same time, records from the Dutch colonial period have survived in repositories all over the word, like Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Suriname and the United States. The archives contain a wealth of valuable information about the Netherlands and countries in Asia, Africa, and the Americas and about the relations between those countries. Together with archival institutions and experts in our partner countries, we aim to improve the preservation, accessibility and visibility of these archives. By means of supporting partners in the field of conservation and restoration of archives, by digitization and online publication of archival collections and by stimulating and facilitating international research. We're always interested in hearing proposals or ideas in these fields from potential partners.

Dutch Centre for Intangible Heritage aims to promote intangible cultural heritage and to make it accessible, to stimulate and professionalize the sector and encourage people to participate in it. The Centre has been coordinating the implementation of the 2003 UNESCO Convention in the Netherlands since 2012 and helps practitioners of intangible heritage to safeguard (develop, promote, pass on) their intangible heritage. In addition, the Centre works on knowledge development for the practice of safeguarding intangible heritage. The Centre initiates activities directed at preservation, management and development of the intangible cultural heritage. In addition, the Centre strengthens the sector and guides communities in their growth to safeguarding their intangible cultural heritage.

Embassies: local organizations in the partner countries can apply to the Dutch embassy in their country for funding, as well as for help and support with contacting Dutch experts and organizations. Please contact DutchCulture for information on how to contact the Dutch cultural attaché in your country.

Other: beside these options, national funds such as the Mondriaan Fund, Creative Industries Fund NL, Samenwerkende Maritieme Fondsen and Prins Bernhard Cultural Fund have schemes that could support an international heritage project. Please keep in mind some of these funds are only accessible for Dutch applications.
Is it possible to get funding for International Heritage Cooperation projects?

As a Dutch organization, you can apply to the International Heritage Cooperation Matching Fund at DutchCulture. Similarly, national funds such as Mondriaan Fund have schemes that could support projects in this field.
Local organizations in the partner countries can apply at the Dutch embassy or Consulate in their country. Please see the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands or contact DutchCulture for information on how to contact the Dutch cultural attaché in your country.

Where can I find more information about past heritage projects?

DutchCulture manages a database of past and present international heritage projects that have received support from the Matching Fund. This way you can get a better idea of the projects that have already taken place, and by and with whom they were executed.

How do I stay up to date on projects and events and receive invitations?

You can subscribe to the bi-monthly International Cultural Heritage Newsletter to receive news in your inbox. Or you can keep an eye on our events and the Facebook page.