Still from video made as part of the #PublicSpaceis online campaign. ©Nicola Mullenger

In 2014, as ECF celebrated our 60th anniversary, it was against a troubled backdrop. Young Europeans were facing rising unemployment, tragedy was befalling thousands at sea in their attempt to reach European shores, disenfranchisement and alienation were breeding increased violence in our communities, and war had broken out in Ukraine.

Many of our long-held European ideals of unity, stability and solidarity began to collapse around us under the weight of economic, environmental, social and democratic crises. Within this fast-changing context, ECF believes it is even more urgent to appeal to cultural practices that imagine alternatives to the current impasse and offer new and innovative ways of responding to them.

Connecting Culture, Communities and Democracy is the overarching theme of ECF’s current four-year plan (2013-2016). Key to this are the goals of supporting connections between culture and other sectors, the recognition of the role of Europe in a global context, nurturing a strong ECF presence in the Netherlands and developing as a learning organisation.

ECF is a hybrid foundation that combines grantmaking with operational programming and advocacy – aiming to catalyse, connect and communicate. This has resulted in a robust programme to respond to the challenges facing Europe. To a far greater degree than before, all of our initiatives connect to one another, helping to increase the impact of our actions.

We know that change is sorely needed in Europe and we also know that change most often happens at a local level first. We see this through the stories from individual travellers who have received STEP Beyond Travel Grants; through cultural managers who have participated in the Tandem exchange programme; through the laureates of the ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture; through the network of community hubs that come together within our Connected Action networked programme; through the 25 R&D grants that offer new perspectives on engaging people with public space; or through ECF’s inaugural Idea Camp. This growing network of individuals, organisations and communities is demonstrating that Europe can be a very different place. They embody citizen engagement and democracy in action.

ECF could not have accomplished what we have without strong and committed partners in civil society, philanthropic organisations and governments. We are very grateful for the ongoing support of the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, through whom we receive annual income from the lotteries in the Netherlands. We are committed to diversifying our income base and in 2014 we raised more than double the amount of non-lottery funds compared to 2013. Going forward, we will continue to forge and foster new strategic partnerships across sectors, as well as finding new networks to collaborate with in the philanthropic and corporate sectors.

ECF stands firmly behind the contribution Europe can make to a more just and democratic world through culture, and that is what drives all of our work – today, tomorrow and for the next 60 years.

Katherine Watson
Director, ECF
Görgün Taner
Chairman, ECF
“Culture is, more than ever before, not a nice to have but a need to have.”
HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands

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Empowering and engaging

Last rehearsal for the opening show of €uroVisions during the 16 Festival ZEMOS98 in Sevilla, Spain. ©Julio Albarrán

ECF catalyses – enabling cultural practitioners to express themselves on contemporary challenges in Europe.

Our Grants

Over the last five years, ECF has supported more than 1,000 individuals across 56 countries.

Through our grant-making, ECF aims to catalyse change by supporting people and organisations across Europe to realise pioneering cultural ideas and projects.
In 2014:

  • 25 Research & Development grants seeded the development of innovative ideas about redefining public space through cultural practice.
  • 223 artists and cultural workers travelled between 48 different EU and neighbouring countries through our STEP Beyond Travel Grants.
  • Thanks to a multi-year contribution from the Swiss government, the Balkans Arts and Culture Fund will increase its support three-fold for collaborative artistic and cultural projects across the Balkan region.
  • We reserved a flexible budget in order to respond to urgent needs and compelling requests.

For more details of ECF’s grants, see

“ I believe that artistic partnerships enable powerful advocates for expressing peace, unity and multicultural awareness through art.”
(who travelled from Turkey to Italy with a STEP Beyond Travel Grant)


“I am convinced that cultural projects with a clear compass and principles can achieve a lot in this region, which is still strongly affected by the legacy of the last war”
Ambassador, Embassy of Switzerland in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Youth & Media

ECF has been active in the field of young people and media for many years, most recently through the Doc Next Network – a network of cultural organisations working with young media-makers across Europe.

Doc Next Network’s highlights in 2014 included:

  • €urovisions: a live-cinema performance by European Souvenirs collective at, among others, the EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam and the ZEMOS98 Festival in Seville, which attracted an online audience of 29,000 people.
  • The publication of Remixing Europe and the Remapping Europe catalogue, a legacy of the network’s flagship two-year project called Remapping Europe, a Remix Project Highlighting the Migrant’s Perspective, supported by the European Commission Culture Committee, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts and Stichting Democratie en Media.
  • Radical Democracy: Video Challenge for an Open Society: a competition to encourage young people to be more politically engaged in the run-up to the European elections, which received more than 200 short films from over 23 countries (supported by the Open Society Foundations).
  • The Radical Democracy finalists’ videos attracted more than 20,000 online views and joined ECF’s growing Media Collection, which includes a living archive of 800 media works by a new generation of young European documentary makers.

Find out more at



Events are one of the key ways ECF can profile the people and ideas that are making change. Through events we reach new audiences, strengthen our existing relationships and generate press coverage.

Some of our key events of 2014 included:

  • ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture – presented to laureates Teatro Valle Occupato (Rome) and Teodor Celakoski (Zagreb) at an official ceremony in March at the BOZAR, Centre for Fine Arts, in Brussels, which was picked up by 60 media outlets from the Netherlands to Croatia. In going beyond the traditional spheres of culture, the 2014 laureates showed us how collective forms of action can tangibly influence a wider civil society.
  • 100% Amsterdam – more than 2,000 people visited the five ground-breaking theatre performances by Berlin-based Rimini Protokoll, co-produced by ECF with Stichting Publieke Werken at the Amsterdam Stadsschouwburg. The show was accompanied by a photo exhibition at Amsterdam Museum, which attracted more than 15,000 visitors.
  • ECF was also a key partner in several other high-profile events during the year including a reading of a historic speech by ECF’s founding father Denis de Rougement at BOZAR in Brussels by ECF’s former Director Raymond Georis; and a conference entitled Arab Future & the Role of Europe, organised in The Hague by the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation.

Looking ahead, we are co-organising the 27th European Foundation Centre Annual General Assembly and Conference, which will take place in Amsterdam in May 2016.

For more on ECF’s events, see

100% Amsterdam. ©Ernst van Deursen
“It is precisely the precarious conditions felt by countries hardest hit by the financial crisis that Teodor Celakoski and Teatro Valle Occupato are trying to address and to overcome. For many countries, these new models of cultural collaboration, and not to forget self organisation, are ways to lead us out of the mess. The future of cultural institutions and cultural makers will be determined by these initiatives, and the question of the commons is a very important message of solidarity.”
Director, Tate Modern and Jury member, ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture


Linking cultural policy and practice

Tandem Festival (Ukraine-EU-Moldova edition). ©Tandem

ECF is a connector between practitioners across borders, policy-makers and the public at large, increasing their capacity to realise the propositions they envision.

Tandem Cultural Managers Exchange Programme

Tandem supports long-term cooperation, knowledge development and networking opportunities between cultural managers from the EU and neighbouring countries.

Since it was launched in 2011, Tandem has supported the professional development of almost 200 cultural managers from 100 cities and small towns in 26 countries across the EU and wider Europe – including Moldova, Turkey, Ukraine and the Arab Mediterranean region.

In 2014:

  • The second edition of the Turkey-EU Tandem was wrapped up. The first two editions of the Turkey-EU Tandem brought together 64 cultural managers and received widespread media coverage – with more than 200 mentions. Following this success, a third edition was launched in 2015.
  • The second edition of Tandem/Shaml was launched, supporting experimental collaborations between cultural change makers from the Arab region and Europe.
  • 69 organisations applied to take part in the second edition of Tandem Community & Participation, which is open to community arts organisations based in the Netherlands working with partners in Germany, Belgium and the UK.
  • We are securing new partners for Tandem going forward, including Tandem Dialogue for Change Ukraine.

ECF could not accomplish our work without our committed partners. Tandem is a great example of our on-going work in 2014 to build on the multi-year commitment of MitOst Berlin, Anadolu Kültür, Culture Resource, Stiftung Mercator, Robert Bosch Stiftung, German Federal Foreign Office, British Council, Fonds voor Cultuurparticipatie, Stichting Doen and Mimeta.

See for more details.

“I consider the work of Tandem (and other participatory practices) in Europe as really important, because they can react to populist simplifications, which not so surprisingly derive from a mounting criticism of elites. These populist simplifications are dangerous, as they often launch out to neo-nationalism. So in a way for me the only answer to such populist simplifications is doing this kind of work.”
Leeds Metropolitan University


“Tandem encouraged me to reflect on my own working processes and attitudes and made me accept changing them and working in a different way.”
during the ‘Most Significant Change’ evaluation workshop of Tandem/ Shaml II

Advocacy and Cultural Policy, Research & Development

In 2014, ECF’s advocacy and R&D work explored issues such as alternative forms of democratic practices and civic engagement, and the growing attention to the Commons (those things we all share and nurture in common) that is opening up new perspectives for participatory governance in Europe.

Here are some of the 2014 highlights:

  • As partner of a transnational consortium of foundations and the European Policy Centre, we staged two New Pact for Europe events involving 225 high-level politicians, policy-makers, journalists and representatives of the cultural and commercial sectors in the debate about Europe as a cultural and political project.
  • As partner of More Europe – external cultural relations, ECF contributed to the accomplishment of the Preparatory Action on Culture in the EU’s External Relations, including policy consultations in more than 50 countries.
  • We have been involved with advocacy initiatives related to preparations for the Netherlands Presidency of the EU in 2016.

In 2014, ECF joined two important research projects involving new partnerships with European institutions, universities, research bodies and foundations:

  • Spill-over effects of Culture, carried out by a transnational consortium of organisations.
  • Indicator Framework for Culture and Democracy of the Council of Europe, implemented by the Hertie School of Governance.

Visit for more details.

The Gap. by Halit Kurtulmuş Aytoslu
©ECF and The Cartoon Movement

“Culture is not just external manifestations of creativity – art, architecture, books, education, science, theatre and so on, vital as they are – it is also intrinsic to how we frame ourselves as human beings and how we value each other.”
ECF Secretary General from 1973–1994


Connecting sources of knowledge

Idea Camp 2014. ©Cédric Moulard

ECF communicates our programmes’ inspiring initiatives to public audiences and policy-makers in order to influence policy change.

Connected Action

Under our current thematic focus, Connecting Culture, Communities and Democracy, we have developed a networked programme, called Connected Action.

We have been working in a highly connected way with the cultural organisations and individuals we fund throughout our activities – most recently with Tandem and with the Doc Next Network. Connected Action extends this way of working.

At the heart of this Connected Action is a constellation of six community ‘hubs’ with whom ECF closely collaborates to further scale up the hubs’ activities and impact on society:

The themes that drive this partnership are Commons, Public Space and New Economies.

Idea Camp
In the summer of 2014 we received over 800 proposals in response to our European-wide call for ideas that engage people in re-defining and shaping public space. From among this treasure trove of applications, we selected representatives of the 50 most innovative, daring and inspiring ideas to join our first Idea Camp in Marseille, developed and implemented with our hubs. Over the course of three days, we worked with the participants to develop their ideas into sustainable project plans.

After the Idea Camp, we selected 25 Research and Development grants, which are supporting the first steps in innovative concepts to engage the public in the development of their communities through cultural practices. A second Idea Camp will be held in 2015, in Botkyrka, Sweden, around the theme Build the City.

For more information on the Idea Camp 2014, see

“Culture, like water, is a common good.”
Lawyer, Professor for Civil Law and activist, at the 2014 ECF Princess Margriet Award ceremony.


Ideas on Wheels at the Idea Camp 2014. ⓒCédrid Moulard


ECF publications are a sustainable way of sharing content, gaining visibility and managing knowledge that has been gleaned over the years through our own activities and those of our partners. In 2014, we published several books (both online and offline):

  • Volume 2 of the essay collection Dwarfing of Europe, which turned the lens on Europe from the perspective of emerging economies including Brazil, India and China.
  • Remixing Europe, which looked at the imagery of migrants in the European media through the lens of four recent media case studies. This Doc Next Network publication was launched together with the Remapping Europe catalogue.
  • 10 Years of STEP Beyond Travel Grants, an ebook celebrating the tenth anniversary of our mobility programme.
  • The translation of a collection of forbidden or censored stories by contemporary Arab writers, published as 12 Impossibles: Stories by Rebellious Arab Writers, in partnership with the Next Page Foundation.
  • In development, for publication in 2015: A publication looking back at 15 years of ECF capacity building in the EU’s neighbouring countries, as the European Neighbourhood Programme drew to a close.

ECF’s publications can be found in the ECF Library at

ECF Labs

In 2014, ECF launched our new online community platform, ECF Labs, to the broader public. This new platform hosts a series of thematic forums, Labs, each offering an online community space that connects people and ideas from across Europe. Over the first 12 months, the number of Labs grew steadily from an initial three to 22 by the end of 2014. There were 6,000 users in the first year and members of the community actively influenced and broadened the scope of the platform by suggesting new Labs. This open concept allows a flow of knowledge, ideas and connections across and beyond ECF, and offers huge potential for growth in the longer term.

Join the community at

“An online community space open for everyone”. Illustration by: Claudio Madella /


Communications and Business Development

Opening 100% Amsterdam exhibition, Amsterdam Museum, Deputy Mayor and Alderman of Culture, Kajsa Ollongren ©Ernst van Deursen

Communications and Business Development at ECF is embedded throughout all of our work and includes strategic, corporate and programmatic communications; developing and running events; investing in fund and partnership development; broadening our network of stakeholders; working on publications, as well as press and public relations.

During ECF’s 60th anniversary year, in addition to our international work, we expanded our activities in the Netherlands, with a view to increasing our visibility and broadening our relationships with a range of partners. To celebrate our 60th anniversary, we developed a special 60 years logo which we showcased throughout 2014.

“100% Amsterdam really shows how culture can connect people in a city.”
Deputy Mayor to the City of Amsterdam.
Through our events, we were able to reach out to audiences in the Netherlands and beyond, as well as expanding our network of press contacts throughout Europe. For example, our 100% Amsterdam partnership garnered more than 20 media mentions in the Netherlands alone, including articles in national newspapers such as Volkskrant and NRC.

We have also continued to see an upward trajectory in ECF’s social media presence, helping us to reach out to more and more people. We are active on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, drawing more than 200,000 visits to our website in 2014. We currently have more than 13,180 subscribers to our monthly eZine, which remains one of our most important communication channels.

Like us at and follow us on Twitter at @ECF_Tweets and Instagram.



Idea Camp 2014, Marseille, France. ©Cédric Moulard

We are careful to focus our attention and energies on areas where we can make the greatest impact with a view to longer term horizons. We are ambitious in our goals, but we are also mindful of the capacity and constraints that we have within our organisation.

In 2014, ECF’s Operations focused on the following areas:

    • Embracing a transparent and responsible level of governance, resulting in receiving the seal of approval (‘keurmerk’) from the Central Bureau of Fundraising in the Netherlands in 2014, which will help to facilitate our fund development objectives.
    • With these objectives in mind, at its Board meeting in December 2014, it was approved that we would define the international ECF Board as a Supervisory Board, which inspires, advises and makes decisions about the future direction of ECF. You can find out more about ECF’s governance in the About Us section of our website.
    • Diversifying our funding base – with a goal of securing 35% of our funding from sources other than the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds by 2016. By the end of 2014, we had secured 33% (with more than 60% of 2015 income already confirmed).
    • Investing further in our HR policies, in the knowledge that the multidisciplinary and international people working on our range of programmes are our greatest resource. This included supporting the process of setting up integrated project teams to share knowledge and expertise across our programmes.


We measure nationality by passport. However if we were to take into account cultural background, we would count more diverse influences on our staff.



Our illness percentage lies at 2.66 %, with an average duration of 4.16 days and an average frequency of 2.68 times per year.
We are aware that our illness statistics could be improved. We are particularly concerned about stress and health. Therefore, we plan to offer all employees the opportunity to have a health check. This will give all our staff the opportunity to check their own work-related health, as well as providing ECF with an overall picture of the state of health of the organisation, and some recommendations for preventative action we could take.

Employee age

The average age of our employees has decreased gradually over recent years. We would like to bring the average age down a little further (by hiring more under-30s).


Financial Report

100% Amsterdam ©Ernst van Deursen

Download our Financial Report
ECF_Declaration_of_ResponsibilityDownload our Declaration of Responsibility here.
Download our Annual Report here.