Shared Cultural Heritage Programme | Call for Proposals 2020

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Canberra, Australia,
welcomes project proposals for initiatives focusing on
Dutch-Australian cultural heritage.

The Netherlands and Australia: good mates with a shared history

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Canberra, Australia, actively promotes Dutch-Australian cultural heritage; a material and immaterial legacy from the past, shared by our two countries. The embassy’s shared cultural heritage programme identifies 4 themes; the so-called 4 Ms: Maritime, Military, Migrant and Mercantile heritage.
Over the next years we will increasingly focus on the sustainable preservation of this heritage, particularly through digitisation. We will also work towards the 400th anniversary of the tragic wrecking of the Batavia in 2029.

The 4 Ms | Maritime, Military, Migrant & Mercantile heritage

The historical connection between Australia and the Netherlands dates back to the 17th century, when Dutch VOC ships mapped and charted the Australian continent, long before the arrival of Captain Cook. In 1606, Dutchman Willem Janszoon and his crew on the Duyfken made the first European landing on the Australian continent and many Dutch explorers followed, including Dirk Hartog (1616), Abel Tasman (1642) and Willem de Vlaminck (1697). The Dirk Hartog plate is the oldest European object ever found on Australian soil and Abel Tasman was the first to circumnavigate Australia.

Some of the Dutch journeys to Australia did not end well. In 2029 it will be 400 years ago since the Batavia wrecked off the coast of Western Australia. Whilst four Dutch shipwrecks, including the Batavia, have been found in Australian waters, others are still missing.

During World War II, the Netherlands and Australia were close allies. As part of the allied opposition to Japan, the Royal Netherlands and East Indies Forces operated from Australia. After the Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia) fell to the Japanese, both soldiers and refugees fled to Australia. On 3 March 1942, a number of flying boats carrying Dutch civilian evacuees to the port of Broome, Western Australia, were attacked by Japanese naval forces causing numerous casualties among the crew and passengers aboard the aircraft. The remains of the flying boats are still visible at low tide.

The connection between our countries became even stronger as Australia welcomed many Dutch migrants, especially in the aftermath of World War II. Between 1947 and 1970, around 160,000 Dutch migrants came to Australia, where they contributed to Australian society, culture and prosperity, becoming an important factor in shaping the nation. Many of them contributed to the Australian economy as entrepreneurs and manufacturers, setting up businesses and consequently leaving traces of mercantile heritage. The Dutch were called the invisible migrants as they integrated so well into the Australian society. The Australian Census 2016 recorded 70,165 Netherlands-born people in Australia, whilst 339,549 of the respondents claimed Dutch ancestry.

Digital Heritage

Australian Galleries, libraries, archives and museums are actively digitising their heritage collections for future generations. As our shared heritage is often part of these collections, the embassy encourages initiatives that help digitise this heritage.

For example, the National Archives of Australia are currently working with the Dutch National Archives (Nationaal Archief) in a 4-year partnership to scope their collection and identify records related to the Dutch-Australian relationship. So far, more than 500 records relating to Dutch migration have been digitised and have laid the foundations of a pilot with the Dutch research institute Huygens ING to link metadata and records from the collections of both archives. As part of the project, five video portraits of Dutch-Australian migrants and their families were also created for the Destination: Australia website.

As another example, the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia will be working together over the next four years with the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (Beeld en Geluid) to digitize Dutch-Australian AV-heritage and make it accessible. Both partnerships have received a contribution under the Shared Cultural Heritage programme.

Your application | Project criteria

  1. The project commences after 15 February 2020 but before 1 December 2020 and will run for a period not exceeding four years;
  2. The project promotes the sustainable preservation of Australian-Dutch cultural heritage;
  3. The project focusses on one (or several) of the abovementioned 4 Ms;
  4. The project has a long-term impact;
  5. The project is mainly aimed at an Australian target group, based in Australia;
  6. The project promotes cooperation between Australian and Dutch counterparts;
  7. The project creates awareness and knowledge about Australian-Dutch cultural heritage primarily among an Australian audience;
  8. A strong communication strategy, in which the financial support from the embassy is acknowledged, is part of the project planning;
  9. If applicable: involvement from key stakeholders and the community to ensure the project can continue after Embassy funding ceases.

Optional criteria

  • The project presents opportunities for multilateral cooperation with other countries that have a strong cultural heritage connection with the Netherlands: Indonesia, Japan, India, China, Suriname, South-Africa, Brazil, Russia, and the Unites States of America;
  • The project creates opportunities for follow ups to be initiated by the applicant or third parties;
  • The project thematically connects Australian-Dutch cultural heritage with contemporary Dutch key sectors, involving Dutch companies in Australia;
  • Public-private partnerships and private sector involvement, e.g. through sponsoring or advertising.

Applicant criteria

  1. Grant applications must be submitted by a professional, non-commercial Australian organisation that is not dependent on the financial contribution for its core funding;
  2. The applicant uses the application form for 2020, provided by the Embassy (request by e-mail);
  3. The applicant works together with a Dutch project partner based in the Netherlands;
  4. The cooperation is based on equality, reciprocity and respect for ownership;
  5. The application form should be accompanied by a written confirmation from the Dutch counterpart(s) confirming that the application has been drawn up in mutual agreeance;
  6. The contribution will in principle not exceed 60% of the total project budget. The financial value (or a fair estimate) of any in-kind contributions (such as expertise, equipment, office space and PR) may be included. Please note, the Embassy does not sponsor overhead costs;
  7. The requested financial contribution of the Embassy should be between $3,000. and $25,000.

Deadline and application procedure

  • Applications have to be submitted by filling out the attached application form for 2020. E-mail us at to receive the form in Word-format.
  • The final deadline for applications is 1 October 2020
  • Applications will be accepted until 1 October 2020 or until funding is exhausted.
  • The Embassy aims to decide on your application within 13 weeks after receiving the original by mail.

Please note application forms have to be signed and the original application form sent to the Embassy by post to:

Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Attn. Ms Femke Withag
120 Empire Circuit
Yarralumla ACT 2600

If you have any questions, please contact us on or call +61 2 6220 9400 and ask for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Public Diplomacy.

Further information

  • If you have any questions, please contact us on or call +61 2 6220 9400 and ask for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Public Diplomacy.