encouraging international collaboration

Design can be a significant contributor to tackling societal issues, also in the international domain. For the collaboration with an international organisation or designer to be successful, equality, (knowledge) exchange and dialogue are important factors. That is why the Creative Industries Fund NL is investing in the building and interconnecting of networks involving makers, designers and architects in the Dutch creative industry and in other countries.

The Programme Internationalization of the Design Sector is part of the International Cultural Policy. It contributes directly to strengthening the position of the Dutch cultural sector abroad and to utilizing the creative industry to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Overall, the grant scheme also contributes to supporting bilateral relations with other countries.

Every year, the Creative Industries Fund NL supports more than one hundred international collaborations. This number includes international projects launched under the Fund’s previous grant scheme.

The geographical distribution of international collaborations supported in 2022, including international projects supported under previous grant schemes.

Projects supported under the Internationalisation of the Design Sector Grant Scheme often make a real difference for the makers and local parties involved in their efforts to achieve their artistic and socially engaged ambitions. Since commissioning clients and/or users are involved in the design briefs, the projects not only help strengthen the creative industry but also contribute to a more just and future-proof world.
Read more about the importance of international collaboration

goals and principles

With its Internationalization of the Design Sector and Inclusive Cities and Societies through Design programmes the Fund contributes to the three goals formulated in the Dutch government’s Beleidskader Internationaal Cultuurbeleid 2021-2024:
- A strong position for the Dutch cultural sector internationally;
- Supporting bilateral relations with other countries through Dutch cultural manifestations;
- Utilising the power of the cultural sector and creative industry to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The pursuit of these goals is governed by three principles, namely: international collaboration based on equivalence; international connection and societal goals.

focus countries

To strengthen the position of the Dutch cultural sector abroad, a number of countries have been designated as focus countries:
- within Europe: Belgium, Germany, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom;
- at Europe’s borders: Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco and Ukraine;
- beyond Europe: Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Sri Lanka, Suriname, the United States, South Africa and South Korea.

Internationalization of the Design Sector Grant Scheme

Through the Internationalization of the Design Sector Grant Scheme, we support projects aimed at research and collaboration in an international context. In this way we strengthen the position of the Dutch design sector abroad.

The Internationalisation of the Design Sector Grant Scheme was suspended during the corona pandemic, since international travel was not or hardly possible. To nevertheless continue stimulating international collaboration and to maintain or newly build international networks, the Creative Industries Fund NL launched the Temporary Procedure International Collaboration. Under this scheme, 63 projects were supported in 2020 and 2021.

open calls

In addition to the Internationalization of the Design Sector Grant Scheme, we also focus more explicitly on international collaborations through our open calls. The Open Call International Residency offers makers and designers the opportunity to spend a working period abroad, to concentrate on research and experimentation under supervision of the residency provider. The emphasis is on exchange and reciprocity. The call is part of a wider residency programme offered by the Fund in collaboration with the Mondriaan Fonds, which includes residency places in Arita (Japan), Tangier (Morocco) and at the Van Doesburghuis (France).

There are various open calls that aim to increase the visibility of Dutch design through presentations on the international stage and thereby to strengthen the position of the Dutch design sector: the Open Call Presentations Abroad, Open Call Salone del Mobile, Open Call BASE at Salone del Mobile, and Open Call Architecture Biennale Venice.

International Vouchers

To increase the scope, impact and visibility of an existing project and/or to expand an applicant’s practice in an international context, in 2023 the Creative Industries Fund NL introduced International Vouchers. These vouchers contribute to covering the costs of activities abroad such as presentations, lectures or workshops, following the invitation of an international party.

Inclusive Cities through Design

A specific component of the Internationalization of the Design Sector Grant Scheme is Inclusive Cities & Societies through Design. With this scheme, the Fund encourages the application of design power towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on safe and sustainable cities and protecting world heritage (SDG 11) and on just, peaceful and inclusive societies (SDG 16). From 2017 to 2020 we concentrated on Turkey, Russia, Egypt and Morocco. In the 2021-2024 period, the focus is on collaboration and knowledge exchange with various countries on the African continent, with the mentorship programme Building Beyond and thematic open calls such as the Open Call Resilient Communities / Inclusive Cities / Just Societies and the Open Call Hidden (Hi)stories.