On Kyushu, the second largest island of Japan, the Netherlands and Japan first met in the seventeenth century. Besides economic and political interests, which sometime collided with one another, a mutual creative curiosity arose and still exists today. In 2016 and 2017, we celebrate it with the cultural collaboration programme Holland-Kyushu.




In 1600 the Dutch set their first foot on Japanese soil. It was on the shores of Kyushu, the second largest island of Japan, the Dutch and Japanese people first made contact. Four hundred years later we can safely say that this moment marked the beginning of a successful exchange of inspiration and innovation.

Holland and Japan share a long history. Kyushu plays a key role in the century long interaction between two cultures. The island was the starting point of a cultural and economic expedition that lasts until today.

In 2016 and 2017 we celebrate the historic and special ties through the cultural cooperation programme Holland & Kyushu. The initiators of this programme are DutchCulture, the strategic advice agency for international cultural cooperation, and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Tokyo and the consulate-general in Osaka.

With the programme Holland-Kyushu we aim to strengthen and highlight the cultural, economic and creative ties between the Netherlands and Kyushu. Holland and Kyushu have a lot to offer each other. Because of the long shared history we look forward to seize more opportunities for the future, and we are still curious about each other. That is why we try to discover creative initiatives and innovative ideas getting shape in new or already existing Dutch-Japanese cooperation.

Numerous cultural activities and projects will take place in both the Netherlands and Kyushu. One of those projects is Arita/ 2016, commemorating the four hundred year old Arita porcelain industry. From the 17th century on, Dutch traders have been exporting Arita porcelain around the world. Also Arita porcelain inspired the Dutch to start their own porcelain industry. The concept of Arita/2016 is to bring together international, innovative designers with the traditional, renowned Kyushu porcelain industry. The project resulted in publications, products and exhibitions. It is an inspiring cross-over of the past, present and future with cultural traditions and craftsmanship.

During the programme Holland-Kyushu, various cultural projects will take place in 2016 en 2017. Artists, cultural organisations, entrepreneurs and innovators in Japan and in the Netherlands are joining to create a sustainable relationship between the Netherlands and Kyushu. Follow us on this website and via the DutchCulture newsletters for information about different projects and for the latest developments.


The programme Holland-Kyushu consists of various forms of cultural cooperation. We highlight news on collaborations and events below:
  • Paintings that Von Siebold recorded as ‘Hokusai’ exhibited at Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture

    The Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture has shown five much-debated landscape paintings in Western style, that were acquired by Philipp Franz von Siebold (1796-1866), the German physician who lived on Deshima between 1823 and 1829. These paintings are part of the renowned Japanese collections kept in the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden, The Netherlands. Matthi Forrer, the former curator of these collections, revealed at the 2016 Siebold Collection Conference held in Nagasaki, that Von Siebold himself kept a list of the paintings he acquired and listed the paintings as ‘by Hokusai’. This was big news in Japan and among enthusiast and specialists of Japanese art worldwide. The paintings […]

  • Inauguration of the Dejima Omotemon-bridge

    First initiatives to restore Dejima date back to 1951.  65 years on, at long last, the construction work is completed. We owe this to the many families living in the neighborhood, to generous financial support from citizens and companies of Nagasaki, as well as the collaborative efforts of the local government and citizens. Thanks to the scientific expertise brought to the project, the restoration has been carried out in a historically accurate manner. Now that the Omotemon-bridge is finished, we can – like in the old days when the traders arrived in Dejima from across the seas – once again cross the water to enter the factory. We are grateful […]

  • 5th Nagasaki Rinne exhibition featuring Made by Rain by Aliki van der Kruijs

    To celebrate the opening of the Omotemon bridge in Nagasaki, Dutch artist Aliki van der Kruijs wil display her art on Dejima. This display, called Made by Rain, captures the feeling of stone paved streets that gently shine and glisten in the rain on textile. It evokes a beautiful city scenery that catches people by surprise in both Nagasaki and the Netherlands, and it will always remain as a warm memory. Right now, Aliki is staying in Arita, in the Saga province. She is one of the participants of the Creative Residency in Arita/Saga project. Her plan is to put up a display in Dejima that showcases her textiles that […]

    The programme Holland Kyushu consists of various forms of cultural cooperation. We highlight a number of them below:
    More Projects
    …and there are many more projects to mention:
    The programnme Holland-Kyushu in the press and other mentions:
    • VPRO Gids

      Deshima Revived, the radio project about the restauration of de historical Dutch trading post Deshima, made the cover of the Dutch TV/radio guide magazine VPRO Gids! Along with a special article spread over 5 pages. (December 7, 2016)

    • Stimuleringsfonds Creative Industrie

      The newsletter #57 from the Creative Industries Fund NL with the theme ‘internationalisation’ features Arita 2016/ en the programme Holland-Kyushu. (September 29, 2016)

    • Form magazine

      A nice comprehensive article “Made in Japan” featuring Arita 2016/ project in Form magazine nummer 267.

      Karin Kuwahara / 桑原 果林
      +31 (0)20 6164225
      Bas Valckx
      Netherlands Embassy Tokyo, Japan
      +81 (0)3 5776 5440
      Many organisations contribute to the Holland Kyushu programme, among others:

      Nagasaki Rinne logoSaga Prefecture LogoStimuleringsfonds sci_nl_rctgemeente amsterdam_logosieboldhuis_logo_nieuw400 jaar arita porselein Arita Town copy  Hirado City logo Nagasaki City logo Nagasaki Logo