Foreign artists in NL boost international reputation of Dutch art

Foreign artists living in the Netherlands contribute significantly to the visibility of Dutch art in the international contemporary art world, according to the PhD dissertation of Erasmus University Rotterdam's Femke van Hest, entitled "Territorial factors in a globalised art world? The visibility of countries in international contemporary art events."

Van Hest looked at the visibility of the Netherlands in six international, leading contemporary art events, focusing on biennials in particular. Her research indicated that 40 percent of the Dutch representations at these events were in fact by foreign artists living in the Netherlands. These artists are therefore key contributors to the international visibility of the Netherlands.

The most visible countries at the international events van Hest examined were the US, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the host nations, while the Netherlands belonged to the level just below the leading countries.

She noted that although biennials are thought of as global events, in reality they have a predominantly regional orientation, with a bias towards the host country and its neighbours. She concludes that globalisation has not resulted in a more equal distribution of the visibility of artists from around the world.

Van Hest suggests that the influx of foreign artists to the Netherlands is helping to counterbalance a declining interest in art within Western countries.

According to van Hest, Dutch educational and post-doctorate programmes play a crucial role in attracting foreign artists, and other factors that may positively influence the position of the Netherlands are cultural policy tools and internationally active curators.

Femke van Hest wrote her dissertation under joint supervision at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and the Department of Arts and Culture Studies of the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication.

painter hand

Carly Blair


Carly Blair



Leave a comment