Creative industries, Arts & Culture - China-en

Creative industries, Arts and Culture

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The Netherlands and China have a vibrant cultural exchange.

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Sino-Dutch collaboration

For many years already, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands and the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism work together and have formalized their collaboration in a Memorandum of Understanding. It led many results, such as a film coproduction treaty, and the annual participation of the Netherlands in the Beijing Design Week (BJDW).

The BJDW is a Chinese national large-scale annual cultural event held in Beijing, which is co-organized by the Chinese Ministry of Culture, and the Beijing Municipal Government. Since 2011, the Netherlands has been present annually through the participation of many Dutch designers and high-quality design exhibitions.

The Dutch diplomatic network strongly supports this ministerial collaboration and focuses on taking away policy-related issues that impede cultural collaboration, such as visa-issues, problems with intellectual property and censorship related difficulties. It actively stimulates collaborations in fields in which the Netherlands excel and in which China has a strong interest, such as live music, photography, museum collaboration and the many design disciplines. Finally, it supports collaborations and synergy with our economic and political objectives, with a small budget and subsidies.

Since 2020 December, the Netherlands Embassy launched the Netherlands Cultural Institute Online (NCIO) on the Tencent Art media platform. NCIO provides hundreds of free and paid videos clips, covering both visual, applied and performing arts. It also provide live streaming programs of artist studio visit and exhibition tours, with names like the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, the Dutch Design Week, het Nederlands Danstheater, Het Nationale Ballet, MVRDV architects, and the list goes on.


Dutch performing artists are in demand around the world, with world class orchestras in Rotterdam and Amsterdam and many, many excellent ensembles. Dutch electronic dance music has built a strong international reputation with award winning DJs.


The Netherlands hosts a number of world class photo museums, and a strong generation of great younger photographers as well as internationally recognized masters like Erwin Olaf, Viviane Sassen and the late Ed van der Elsken. Together with the Shanghai Centre of Photography, the Consulate-General in Shanghai will present a high end exhibition with Dutch photographers in 2022.


The Netherlands has always been well known as a country of painters, such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Vincent van Gogh and Piet Mondriaan. Today, there are more than a thousand museums in The Netherlands with enormous and world famous collections in Netherlands. We are indeed one of the powerhouses of art collections, museum management and museum education. Together with the Chinese embassy in Den Haag, we organize a yearly Beijing Museum Meeting that brings Chinese and Dutch professionals together.


Dutch design is renowned for being both creative and pragmatic and coming up with smart solutions, inventions and scientific discoveries. Dutch Design has become a worldwide brand, synonymous with quirky, out-of-the-box application of new technologies, highly-distinctive forms and far-reaching involvement with the (experience of) end users. The Netherlands is particularly strong in product design, where an individual designer’s vision is often the key focus, such as in the work of Marcel Wanders, or via collaborative initiatives such as Droog Design, and is also effective in the field of high-quality design services.

Dutch Design in China

Quite a few Dutch designers have been active in China for some time. In communication design, Beijing-based Dutch graphic agency LAVA has worked on numerous high-profile projects about visual identity, website design and communication design.

In Shanghai, Link Design and BSUR are strong in providing communication design solutions for projects around China. Award-winning Dutch graphic designers Thonik won the prestigious commission of designing the visual identity of Shanghai’s Power Station of Art. Interior and product design are also sectors the Dutch are actively exploring in China. Shanghai-based and Dutch-Belgian led firm AIM have designed classy contemporary interiors for clients such as SOHO China, fashion brand zuczug and design store HAY. Product designers operating in China include Marcel Wanders, Studio Drift and Noord/studio Henny van Nistelrooy. The latter which created a unique Sino-Dutch crossover in the form of a re-interpretation of the classic Chinese Mazha stool.

Other areas of Dutch design are also gaining ground in China. Bicycle designers Van Moof sell their bikes at several specialist stores around the country.

Dutch architecture in China

Architects from the Netherlands have won many smaller and larger scale building design contracts in China, making Dutch design a staple in many Chinese skylines. Key examples include the Canton Tower by Information Based Architects. The Canton Tower is the icon of this fast growing metropolis in the south of China. Standing 600 meters tall, the Canton Tower is the third tallest tower and the fifth-tallest freestanding structure in the world. The world-wide appeal of Rem Koolhaas and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) reaches far outside China’s borders with its design for the CCTV headquarters in Beijing. The building is an alternative view on the traditional architecture of the skyscraper. It consists of a loop of six horizontal and vertical sections covering 473,000 m2 of floor space. Other OMA China projects include the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

In all, Chinese-Dutch creative collaborations are increasingly taking place throughout China and are proving to be very effective in the way that the outcome brings together the best of both worlds, creating unique and innovative results. These results could have never come about without collaboration.