The Dutch Embassy in Tokyo has won a Cool Japan Matching Award. The Japanese government awarded the prize in recognition of the embassy’s efforts to strengthen the creative ties between Japan and the Netherlands. The Holland-Kyushu cultural programme plays an important role in this effort.
The Cool Japan Matching Award was established by the Japanese government to increase new collaborations between several parties such as local governments, industries and universities to promote Japan abroad.
The Dutch Embassy started the collaboration with Saga Prefecture (province on Kyushu, the second largest island of Japan), famous for its Arita porcelain which was exported by the Dutch to Europe in the 17th century, in 2013. The goal was to give Dutch designers a chance to work together with local artisans. This collaboration, initiated on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the Arita porcelain, was one of the highlight projects of the Holland-Kyushu programme, a joint effort by the Dutch Embassy and DutchCulture to promote cultural exchange between the Netherlands and Kyushu. DutchCulture was involved in the coordination on the Dutch side, identifying interested counterparts in the cultural and creative sectors in the Netherlands.
The agreement of 2013 was updated last year when Saga governor Yoshinori Yamaguchi and Dutch ambassador Aart Jacobi signed a new agreement to broaden the scope of the collaboration beyond the creative industries: people-to-people encounters, arts & culture and architecture projects are also included. Also in the fields of sports and culture new bonds are forged and in the run-up to Tokyo 2020 a programme of grass roots exchange between Saga and the Netherlands is planned.
Image: Ton van Zeeland en Bas Valckx (Dutch Embassy in Tokyo, 4th and 2nd from the left) and the project team of Saga Prefecture receive the Cool Japan Matching Award.