President’s Message

Illustration by Barbara van Santen, inspired by the Ideas on Wheels, Idea Camp 2015.

The values on which Europe was formed – peace, democracy, solidarity and freedom of expression – are precious and require constant nurturing by citizens and their leaders. This can take all kinds of forms, one of them being cultural expression. Culture has a unique power to identify issues, sentiments and emotions and address them in a way that touches not only people’s minds but also their hearts. And we all know that both responses are needed in order to make visions a reality and to achieve ambitious goals. As children teach us: “Ask your heart what to do and your head how to do it.”

2015 was a particularly testing time for Europe and for these common values. It was a year punctuated by violent attacks that struck at the continent’s very heart. Added to that, tens of thousands of migrants have been arriving on Europe’s shores in search of shelter from violence, forcing us to re-examine what our core values mean in practice.

The European Cultural Foundation (ECF) remains steadfast in the belief that culture has the power to invest in our shared values, bridge divides and connect people on a fundamental level. It fosters solidarity and helps us understand the perspectives of those we may not agree with. Culture helps us truly listen to each other, a precondition for connecting and finding shared solutions. Indeed, ECF’s work includes many uplifting responses to the pressures and challenges Europe faces – for instance, through local community-building initiatives where people work together to shape a positive future. Culture clearly has a role to play in negotiating ways of living together in Europe. It has the potential to include people from all walks of life by speaking in images rather than in positions or judgements.

When we appreciate cultural expression for what it is – a barometer of society and a catalyst for what people think, feel, wish, fear and cherish – it becomes an invaluable tool to help achieve happiness, confidence, mutual respect and understanding. It is thus a powerful lever for progress and resilience of society as a whole.

At this crucial point in Europe’s history, let us discuss fairly what needs fixing and remember what Europe stands for. And let culture help break down barriers, prejudices and sentiments that stand in the way of maintaining our values-based solidarity and progress across Europe.

HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, ECF President

Photo © Maarten van Haaff
“Our thoughts are with the loved ones left behind and we are even more convinced about respecting the core European value of freedom (of expression), which recent events have shown we sadly cannot take for granted.”
HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands
ECF President, thoughts following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015


Director’s Report

The ambition of the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) is to catalyse, connect and amplify ideas and the people behind them that are creating cultural change across Europe and beyond. Our goal is to strengthen the key role culture can play in the health of our communities and the future of Europe.

The connection between local activities supported by ECF and their relevance or contribution to the rest of Europe may seem tenuous. But one only has to look at an example, say from Solin, Croatia, to get an idea of the impact of the cultural initiatives we support. In Solin, one visionary change-maker called Antonija Eremut had the idea of transforming an abandoned quarry into a cultural performance space – working with and for local citizens. ECF recognised the potential of her idea. We invited Antonija to attend our Connected Action for the Commons Idea Camp in 2014, she was awarded one of our R&D grants and by the end of 2015 a citizen-led initiative called Majdan Solin! had taken flight. With the support of the local municipality, Majdan Solin! are now full partners in a multi-year EU URBACT programme. ECF’s support nurtured a seed that allowed Antonija’s idea to flourish.

In 2015, ECF brought 50 idea makers like Antonija together in our latest Idea Camp in Botkyrka, Sweden, and awarded 25 new R&D grants that are seeding equally innovative ideas. This unique programme – along with others such as our Tandem programme, STEP Beyond Travel Grants, Connected Action for the Commons network and knowledge exchanges on ECF Labs – witness the burgeoning network of people-driven community change realised through engaged cultural actions.

We cannot do this work alone and there are many partners who share our commitment to strengthening and empowering civil society. ECF supports change-making initiatives through open calls but also through targeted partnerships. In total, 43% of our expenditure – or €2,715,900 – was distributed through grants and partnerships in 2015.

ECF is hugely grateful for our invaluable sustained partnership with the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, which, through lottery support, has made much of our work possible over the past years. In 2015 changes in the lotteries resulted in diminished resources. ECF needed to tighten our belt and find savings and efficiencies – which we did without reducing our financial contribution to grantees. In the longer term, in order to meet our ambitions, we will continue to build revenue sources beyond the lotteries in the Netherlands, which amounted to 29% of our income in 2015.

As ECF looks towards a new four-year plan (2017-2020), our work in 2016 will both evaluate and reflect on the current plan – Connecting Culture, Communities and Democracy – and take a long-term view of the role ECF can and must play in ensuring that culture creates a space where we can negotiate, understand and live alongside one another. In a world of increasing fragmentation, our focus will be on how we can connect people and communities across Europe and how we can work together to create a better future – inclusive of all voices and perspectives. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners and to widening and diversifying our collaborations in future to make our vision a reality.

Görgün Taner and Katherine Watson

Photo © Nicola Mullenger / ECF
Photo © Nicola Mullenger / ECF
Görgün Taner
Chairman, ECF
Katherine Watson
Director, ECF


Our Grants and Partnerships 2015 – An Overview

Tandem Europe Partner Forum ‘Let’s do it Together’ in October 2015 in Milan, Italy. © Photo Constanze Flamme / MitOst
ECF awards grants either through open calls or through targeted partnerships across all of our budget areas. In 2015, ECF distributed a total of €2,715,900 in grants and partnership agreements to individuals, collectives and organisations, which – through culture – invest in an open, just and democratic Europe. This represents 43% of our expenditure.

Two of ECF’s large grant programmes were developed and implemented by partners from the non-governmental organisation (NGO) sector – art∡ngle for the Balkans Arts and Culture Fund and MitOst for the Tandem programmes.

Over the following tables, you can see how our grants and partnerships were funded in 2015. On Allocation of Activities, you can see an overview of ECF’s budget.

Download an overview of all our grants 2015 here.
For more information on grants and partnerships, see

Allocation of ECF grants and partnerships by objective.


Open Grants
STEP Beyond Travel Grants 94,050
Travel grants for researchers – through partnership ENCATC 4,000
Travel grants for Idea Camp participants 14,510
art∡ngle 2015 (Balkans Arts and Culture Fund) 363,700
German Marshall Fund of the United States 50,000
Commissioning Grants
Long Live Arts (Conference) 10,000
Nexus Institute (Strategic partnership) 20,000
Holland Festival (Strategic partnership) 25,000
PEN International (Conference) 8,000
Zemos98 (#reclaimthecommons Hackcamp) 12,000
Creative Initiatives “ę” (Remixing Europe publication launch
& Media Collection) 15,000
Athens Biennale (Award) 25,000
Visual Culture Research Center (Award) 25,000
Festival Internazionale dei Beni Comuni (Festival) 5,000
Visual Culture Research Center (Kyiv Biennale 2015) 10,000
Athens Biennale (Artistic documentation) 10,000
Subtotal: 691,260


MitOst (Implementation of the programme
and re-granting to 125 participants) 1,137,380
Council of Europe (Indicator Framework
for Culture & Democracy) 40,000
Culture Action Europe (Advocacy work) 25,000
University of Groningen (Research on new civic roles
and organisational strategies of cultural organisations) 12,540
MitOst (Evaluation of all Tandem exchange schemes) 18,000
Culture Resource (Cultural Policy Task Force) 25,000
On the Move (ArtCOP21 workshop) 4,000
BOZAR (Les Journées de Bruxelles) 10,000
BOZAR (Lampedusa Day 2016) 7,000
More Europe (Role of culture in the EU’s External Relations) 25,000
Eurozine (Focal point on ‘Culture and the Commons’) 7,000
ECBN – European Creative Business Network
(Creative spill-over research) 10,000
Commons Network (Mapping of policy opportunities) 5,000
Subtotal: 1,325,920


25 R&D grants 244,115
6 Connected Action Hubs 312,000
Subtopia (Hosting of the Idea Camp) 104,198
Platoniq (Ideas on Wheels at Idea Camp) 7,000
Zemos98 (Media Lab at Idea Camp) 13,100
Stichting Nieuwe Helden (In Search of Europe –
performance & documentary) 10,000
Stanislaw Brzozowski Association (Krytyka Polytyczna)
(Build the City publication, co-production) 8,307
Subtotal: 698,720



Empowering and Engaging

STEP Beyond funded initiative Solar World Cinema in the Sahara desert, at the Sahrawi refugee camp at Dahkla, Algeria. © Photo:

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

Grants Schemes

For more than six decades ECF has brought together ideas, knowledge and experience to maximise the impact of culture across wider Europe, both through our programme activities and through our grants.

Over the last few years, we have been rethinking our role in the ecosystem of our societies, resulting in a leap forward in supporting civil society actors at a local and European level. The ultimate aim is to scale up their invaluable work in order to lever societal change and to maximise our investment.

ECF’s different grants schemes support people and initiatives in 59 European and neighbouring countries – from Tunisia to Norway – either through direct grants or re-granting.

As well as the many funding initiatives we have mentioned throughout this report under their respective budget lines, in 2015 ECF also:

  • Supported the mobility of 213 emerging artists and cultural workers – between 50 different EU and neighbouring countries – in cross-border exchanges through our STEP Beyond Travel Grants.
  • Continued the development of the Balkans Arts and Culture Fund together with our partners in the Western Balkans, art∡ngle and the Swiss Cultural Programme. The grant-making stream called COLAB projects had supported 13 initiatives by the end of 2015, in six different countries.
  • Reserved a flexible budget under Commissioning Grants in order to respond to urgent needs, compelling requests and strategic partnerships. In 2015, we focused on bringing European and global discourse to the Netherlands (through Long Live Arts, Nexus Institute, Holland Festival and PEN International’s conference in the Netherlands).

Read more about ECF’s grant-making in the pages of this report – or visit

“Sharing cultures, values and heritages of people from different backgrounds is truly wonderful.”
STEP Beyond Travel grantee, travelling from Ukraine to Morocco

Youth & Media

In 2010, ECF initiated Doc Next Network – a network of cultural organisations working with young media-makers across Europe. Over the past five years, the network has been striving for social justice and inclusive public opinion, through a common methodology that supports the ideas of access, free culture and expanded education.

Doc Next Network’s highlights in 2015 included:

  • Media Collection: The Doc Next Media Collection is evolving into a participatory and sustainable platform to provide a new way of documenting Europe’s most pressing issues. The Media Collection is a resource for mainstream media, policy-makers and researchers and contributes to creating a more inclusive public opinion.
  • Radical Democracy: A project that uses media-making as a way of researching, celebrating and supporting people across Europe who are calling for more democracy – and the right to decide what kind of communities they want to live in. Supported by the Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE), activities under this project in 2015 included:
    • Radical Democracy policy session, European Parliament, Brussels: More than 50 policy-makers, academics and MEPs attended this media showcase and debate drawing on stories from the Radical Democracy project – with a focus on reclaiming homes, public space and political parties.
    • Reclaim the Commons Hackcamp, Seville, Spain: Hosted by Doc Next Network partner ZEMOS98, the Hackcamp brought together 75 journalists, artists, organisers and campaigners from across Europe to explore practical ideas for reclaiming the commons.
    • Media Labs and local advocacy events: From the peripheral neighbourhoods of Istanbul to the housing estates of London, Doc Next Network developed Media Labs to document communities defending their common goods. These were presented at local advocacy events in Istanbul, Warsaw, London and Seville.

Find out more at


Together with our partners, ECF co-hosts events in the Netherlands, Brussels and across wider Europe – helping to reach new audiences, strengthen relationships and generate media coverage. These events are listed throughout this report under their respective budget lines.

Our key annual event, the ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture (PMA) is a platform for showing those whose creative work can truly make a difference to Europe’s varied societies – underlining ECF’s belief that social and political change requires artistic and cultural engagement.

  • The ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture 2015 was presented to Athens Biennale (Athens, Greece) and the Visual Culture Research Center (Kyiv, Ukraine) on 31 March 2015 at the BOZAR, Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels.
  • In June, an official partnership was announced between the Municipality of Athens and the Athens Biennale – plans for this partnership gathered momentum after the Biennale’s contribution to European culture was recognised through the PMA. ECF’s President HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands delivered a keynote speech at the ceremony.
  • In September, ECF supported The School of the Displaced, part of the Kyiv Biennale, a project linking civic initiatives with internally displaced people and artists who have become political refugees. Initiated by PMA laureate the Visual Culture Research Center, the biennale brought together artists, intellectuals, civil society initiatives and institutions in Ukraine, Europe and beyond.
  • As a spin-off to the 2014 PMA (laureate Teatro Valle Occupato), and in line with our interest in the theme of the commons, ECF supported the Festival Internazionale dei Beni Comuni, a four-day #commonsfestival in Italy in July involving roundtable meetings, music, cinema, theatre, art and performances.

Looking ahead, we decided to hold the 2016 ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture ceremony in Amsterdam instead of Brussels, to coincide with the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2016. We are also chairing the host committee of the 27th European Foundation Centre General Assembly and Conference – Imagining and Investing in our Future, which takes place in Amsterdam in May 2016.

For more on ECF’s events, see
For more on the ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture, see

“From Europe’s most fragile borders, facing unforeseeable futures, Visual Culture Research Center and Athens Biennale courageously show us how culture can be a means of solidarity and common ground that create tangible alternatives to the economic and political conflicts of our time.”
Director, Tate Modern and Jury member, ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture


Linking Cultural Policy and Practice

Tandem Europe Partner Forum ‘Let’s do it Together’ in October 2015 in Milan, Italy. © Photo: Constanze Flamme / MitOst

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

Tandem Cultural Managers Exchange Programme

Tandem is an exchange programme that helps cultural organisations to build long-term, international working relationships. The programme supports knowledge development for cultural managers and their organisations, as well as creating networking opportunities with project partners from Europe and beyond.

Now in its fourth year, a network of almost 300 past and present Tandem participants from 130 cities and towns in 33 countries extends across the EU and wider Europe – including Ukraine, Moldova, Turkey and the Arab Mediterranean region.

ECF’s core partner for Tandem is MitOst (Berlin, Germany) – from the concept development and design methodology to fundraising and the implementation and evaluation of the programme.

In 2015:

  • ECF launched the first exclusively EU-focused programme edition called Tandem Europe – Social Innovation, together with new foundation partners from Italy, Greece and Germany.
  • We wrapped up the second round of Tandem Shaml Arab Region – Europe with the Arte Senza Confini Festival in Bologna and identified nine new Tandems for the third programme round at the Partner Forum in Beirut, Lebanon.
  • Ten new Tandems started working together for the third round of Tandem Turkey – EU after a Partner Forum in Sirince, Turkey.
  • Twelve Tandems formed by initiatives from nine different EU countries and nine cities in Ukraine concluded the second round of Tandem Ukraine – Dialogue for Change.
  • Seven Tandems with participants from the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and the UK presented results of the second round of Tandem Community & Participation at a conference of the National Centre of Expertise for Cultural Education and Amateur Arts (LKCA) conference in Ede, the Netherlands.
  • We secured co-funding partnerships until 2017 for follow-up editions of four of the five current Tandem programme editions.

All of ECF’s Tandem programmes are delivered ‘in tandem’ with highly specialised project and facilitator teams at MitOst (Berlin) and our local partners Anadolu Kültür (Istanbul) and Al Mawred Al Thaqafi – Culture Resource (Beirut). In 2015, we expanded our pan-European foundation network around Tandem further south by engaging in funding partnerships with Fondazione Cariplo (Milan) and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (Athens).

In 2015, Tandem built on continued partnerships from: Stiftung Mercator; Robert Bosch Stiftung; German Federal Foreign Office; British Council; Fonds voor Cultuurparticipatie; Stichting Doen; and Mimeta.

See for more details.

 “Strengthening cross-border collaboration is the best way to answer the crisis in Ukraine.”

Advocacy and Cultural Policy, Research & Development

In 2015, ECF’s advocacy work reached beyond the cultural sector to explore models of governance based on participatory and commons’ principles and civil-public partnerships.  The three core areas of investigation were: creative cities; social innovation; and urban commons. Working with our partners, we achieved tangible results regarding culture and the EU’s external relations strategy.

Our R&D work focused on new topics such as the spill-over effects of culture and creative industries in Europe, as well as new evaluation tools. These tailor-made tools not only ensure effective monitoring of ECF programmes but also provide evidence for advocacy and nurture the organisation’s knowledge management and strategic development.

Some 2015 highlights include:

  • New Pact for Europe – Towards a European ‘Mienskip’: A Public Debate about the Future of Citizens in Europe: As one of the partners in the New Pact for Europe initiative, ECF organised two debates in the Netherlands in 2015. The first debate in The Hague included 40 invited Dutch politicians, policy-makers, journalists and other stakeholders. The second took place in April in Leeuwarden – the 2018 Cultural Capital of Europe.
  • As a partner of More Europe – external cultural relations, ECF continued to play a key role in raising culture higher up the EU’s global agenda. Tangible results included the EU’s first Communication on Culture in EU external relations and inclusion of cultural relations among the priorities of bilateral EU-third country discussions.
  • ECF advocated for culture to become part of the EU’s Urban Agenda, joining forces with Culture Action Europe (CAE). We will continue to illustrate the central role of culture in realising Europe as an open, democratic and inclusive space during the Netherlands Presidency of the EU in the first half of 2016.
  • ECF mobilised Eurocities, CAE, Connected Action for the Commons, R&D grantees and other partners to contribute to a living Manifesto on models of civic-public partnerships for the EU Urban Agenda to be launched in early 2016.
  • As part of the European Research Partnership (including ECF, Arts Council England, Arts Council Ireland, european centre for creative economy (ecce), European Creative Businesses Network (ECBN) and Creative England), we commissioned a review of Cultural and Creative Spill-Overs in Europe with a view to influencing the European research agenda.
  • We launched the pilot phase of a study on New Civil Roles and Organisational Models of Cultural Organisations. Together with Professor Pascal Gielen from Groningen University, with co-funding from the Gulbenkian Foundation’s UK branch, we undertook two test case studies with a view to launching a wider review on the potential of contemporary cultural practices and alternative working structures as drivers of civil society in Europe.

Visit and for more details.


Connecting Sources of Knowledge

A game of Commonspoly at the Idea Camp 2015 in Botkyrka, Sweden. © Julio Albarrán

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

We bridge people and democratic institutions by connecting local cultural change-makers and communities across Europe because we firmly believe that Europe is powered by culture.

Connected Action for the Commons

In 2015, the six hubs of the Connected Action for the Commons network – Les Têtes de l’Art (France); Culture 2 Commons (Croatia); Krytyka Polityczna (Poland); Subtopia (Sweden); Platoniq (Spain) and Oberliht (Moldova) – engaged in a collaborative action research project on culture and the commons.

Throughout 2015, the hubs have been exchanging knowledge and scaling up their practices and impact, exploring models to ensure their sustainability and impact.

Build the City: Perspectives on Commons and Culture
An example of this collaborative spirit was a special publication of the Connected Action for the Commons programme, which was jointly published with Krytyka Polityczna (see Knowledge Management for more information).

Visit for more details.

Idea Camp

The Idea Camp is the biggest initiative within the framework of the Connected Action for the Commons programme – developed by ECF in collaboration with the six programme hubs. The goal is to become a catalyst for developing and co-creating selected ideas – providing a safe space of trust, sharing and connecting with others. Through our Idea Camps, ECF is in the unique position of being able to award grants to help develop some of the most innovative ideas in the European cultural sector.

The second edition of the Idea Camp – with the theme Build the City – took place at Subtopia’s premises in Alby (Stockholm, Botkyrka) in September 2015. We received more than 400 applications through an open call for ideas and chose 50 ideas from 23 countries.

The idea makers were joined by key policy-makers, journalists, foundation representatives and members from the local community to allow room for a broader dialogue.

R&D Grants

Following the 2015 Idea Camp, 25 Research & Development (R&D) grants were awarded to help develop the most innovative ideas drawing on the principles and ethics of the commons to transform cities.

ECF also continued to monitor the progress of each R&D grant awarded after the first Idea Camp in 2014 and helped grantees to promote their work.

Visit for more details.

“The fight for the commons in cities is essentially a fight to reclaim democracy – and to re-imagine how city life is organised.”
David Bollier
‘The Commons, Political Transformation and Cities’ (from Build the City)

Knowledge Management

ECF is a learning organisation – connecting knowledge and people across Europe. Knowledge Management is a transversal approach that runs across our organisation.

ECF connects spheres of knowledge both internally and externally. Understanding these connections – as well as the strengths and gaps in our knowledge – allows staff and partners to share knowledge more effectively. Knowledge Management is also about how we leverage the knowledge of our partners and our staff.

  • For example, through the publication Build The City: Perspectives on Commons and Culture, ECF brought together compelling content and conversations from the ECF Labs community and other sources. This was a starting point to seek connections, build networks and knowledge, as well as communicating to a wider audience. Picked up by numerous platforms, Build the City was reprinted within five months.
  • Highlighting the expertise of our partners in the Connected Action for the Commons network is the motivation behind ECF’s ‘hub correspondents’. This group of editors, journalists and researchers from the hub countries is assigned to bring back stories about the hubs’ local environments. Starting their research in 2015, they will deliver texts and publications in 2016.
  • ECF supported the Stichting Nieuwe Helden for a performance and documentary with theatre maker Lucas de Man called In Search of Europe, exploring the relationship between communities, new movements in Europe and the commons.

ECF Labs

ECF Labs is a digital interactive space and key source for community knowledge that invites people to take part in an open conversation about Europe, culture and democracy.

Launched in 2014, it connects ECF with partners, stakeholders and the broader public across Europe. The platform attracts a community that is growing organically around thematic spaces for debate and knowledge sharing. It is a place to mine for knowledge, spot trends and potentially engage a wide community across borders in campaigning, events and research.

ECF Labs plays a central role in the development of ECF’s digital agenda and ambition, with the goal of facilitating and supporting strong online connections and knowledge sharing on topics that are key to ECF: culture, communities and democracy across Europe and beyond.

Achievements in 2015:

  • The platform has become an integrated tool for research, reflection and debate among ECF staff and partners, attracting and connecting individuals and organisations related to all our programmes.
  • The ECF Labs open community continued to grow – with 13,000 registered, verified members at the end of 2015 who are interested in online debate, sharing knowledge and community engagement.
  • The open source community shares more than 50 public rooms – or ‘Labs’ – 20 of which were opened by members themselves in 2015. Subjects range from Craftism to Crowdfunding.
  • The Labs technology has developed into a state of the art and innovative European online tool, further consolidated by the beta-release of the ECF Labs web app. Scalable and flexible, fast and user friendly, it has been welcomed positively and co-developed by members of the ECF Labs community.

Visit ECF Labs at

“It’s so refreshing to hear in the creative/arts sector some dissenting and questioning voices – something the Labs do really well.”
Moderator of the Artistic Entrepreneurship Project Lab


ECF has a long publishing history – producing a range of stand-alone publications as well as publishing jointly with our partners. In the last 10 years alone, ECF has published or co-produced more than 60 books and many more essays, research papers and reports.

We frequently share programme outcomes, methodological approaches and reflections via in-house publications and books, which are produced in many different languages, often in cooperation with local project partners and specialised publishing houses. In 2015, we started to make more of our rich publishing history available online and will expand this throughout 2016. Our publications provide a platform for sharing and encouraging in-depth reflections in a sustainable, measurable and tangible way.

Highlights in 2015:

  • Another Europe: 15 Years of Capacity Building with Cultural Initiatives in the EU Neighbourhood provides an overview of the concepts and experiences that have emerged from collaborating with cultural initiatives in the EU Neighbourhood countries since the late 1990s.
  • Developing Cultural Industries: Learning from the Palimpsest of Practice focuses on cultural and creative industries in developing countries. Author Christiaan De Beukelaer was awarded the 2012 Cultural Policy Research Award (CPRA), leading to this publication.
  • Build the City: Perspectives on Commons and Culture provides an invaluable resource and theoretical background for the Idea Camp, and also offers a wider opportunity for practitioners and thinkers from different sectors to connect and engage in a continuing conversation.

ECF also supported the following publications, which were published in 2015:

  • Europe: Closed Doors or Open Arms? Culture and Migration. Published by ifa in May 2015, an English version was supported by ECF through a partnership grant in 2014.
  • No Culture, No Europe was launched just before the PMA ceremony in BOZAR, Brussels. Edited by Professor Pascal Gielen and published by Valiz, this book is a co-production with Research Institute Arts in Society, Groningen University, Fontys School for Fine and Performing Arts Tilburg, BOZAR Brussels and ECF (also supported through a 2014 grant).

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

“At a time when both democracy and the market are challenged both inside and outside Europe, it is endeavours such as
those discussed in Another Europe that give us hope that we can make a difference.”
Ivan Krastev
Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria, and Permanent Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria


Communications and Business Development

ECF supported Urbo Kune – 25 hours in the life of the ideal capital city for Europe at the Holland Festival in 2015.
This was part of a three-year partnership with the Holland Festival, which includes festivals in 2015, 2016 and 2017. © Photo: Canan Marasligil

The Communications and Business Development team at ECF is responsible for corporate and programme communication, on- and offline publishing, producing events like the ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture, relationship management and fund development. The communications team works closely in matrixed teams across ECF and is involved in all of our programmatic activities.

Together with the Advocacy team, in 2015 the Communications team focused on developing a strategy for activities and partnerships related to the 2016 Netherlands Presidency of the EU. As chair of the host committee of the European Foundation Centre’s Conference in Amsterdam in May 2016, we also worked throughout 2015 on the production and content development for the conference.

Fund Development

As reported in our 2014 Annual Report, ECF aims to secure 35% of our funding from sources other than the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds by 2016. By the end of 2015, we had secured 29% of our income from other sources. For 2016, 87% (or €1,353,000) of our fundraised income is secured. A major part (67%) of our fundraised income is represented in multi-year contracts. All of ECF’s fundraising actions undertaken in 2015 were related to our programmes, including Connected Action for the Commons, Tandem Cultural Managers Exchange programme and our research and advocacy activities.

Strategic Partnerships

In Europe’s changing societal and financial context, we firmly believe in the strength of working in partnerships based on shared values. In 2015, we initiated new partnerships with organisations including the Nexus Institute and the Holland Festival, as well as continuing to build connections with other foundations, organisations, media and interested individuals.

Press & Social Media

ECF’s programmes have continued to attract the attention of international press outlets. The renowned Dutch online newspaper De Correspondent and The Guardian both published detailed reports from the 2015 Idea Camp, while the ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture was widely covered in print, radio and TV outlets including De Volkskrant, Telegraaf, De Standaard, Euronews and Ukraine Today.

ECF also continues to gain media attention through ongoing partnerships with like-minded organisations, including the Holland Festival.

ECF’s social media audience is growing every day – we now have 18,640 Likes on Facebook and 5,163 followers on Twitter. ECF also has an active presence on YouTube, Soundcloud and Flickr, as we are creating more and more audiovisual material at events and through our Media Labs.

In 2015, we also joined Instagram, helping us to connect with our grantees, partners and programme participants. In this spirit, we also organise regular takeovers within our networks, which we highlight in our Library and promote throughout our channels, including our monthly eZine, which has more than 14,000 subscribers.

For ECF, social media goes far beyond promoting our work. It is a powerful way to engage with our audiences, no matter where they are based and what their role is – from MEPs to local communities.

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


General Administration

Idea Camp 2014, Marseille, France. © Cédric Moulard

In 2015, ECF’s operational ambitions focused on continuing to provide a solid, modern and efficient foundation for our programmes and events to be built upon. We achieved this by offering high-quality Human Resources (HR), Facilities, Administration and IT while continuing to focus on cost savings and efficiencies across the organisation.

  • The General Administration Team’s structure was reviewed and changed. HR and Finance activities, formerly managed by the Head of Operations, were reallocated to two separate positions: an HR Manager and a Finance Manager. This led to the promotion of two current ECF employees (formerly HR officer and Finance officer), reflecting their increased responsibilities.
  • The Finance Department continued to optimise working processes and digital tools. In 2015 a digital contract register was introduced and our digital invoice authorisation system was scaled up.
  • ECF’s IT team focused on delivering a new IT strategy, with a view to upgrading our IT systems in 2016 to allow us to work in a more cost-effective, efficient and modern way.
  • Diversity policy: We are currently developing a policy that embraces diversity of all kinds across ECF, looking at cultural backgrounds, gender, age, as well as looking at skills and competences.
  • Learning & development: We took time to source a responsive management development programme for implementation in 2016, in order to build on the skills and strengths of ECF’s team of managers, to reduce work-related pressure and to help develop a highly professional team.
  • Organisational health: Both the percentage of illness (4.53%) and the average duration of illness (5.39 days) have increased at ECF since last year (although our overall illness frequency is relatively low at 1.69%). We are focusing on ways of preventing and managing long-term illness and will continue to work on health as a result of the health check we carried out in 2015.

Staff Statistics

ECF has an international staff including 13 different nationalities, compared to nine last year. Two thirds of our employees are in the age group 25-44 years, and we have more female (24) than male (7) colleagues. Turnover was 15.8%.


We measure nationality by passport. However, several members of staff have dual nationality. (Figures valid as of 31 December 2015.)


Employee Age


Allocation of Activities

In 2015, ECF spent 89% of our budget on our three main objectives (Empowering and Engaging; Linking Cultural Policy and Practice; Connecting Sources of Knowledge) and 11% on Overhead Costs.

43% of our expenditure was spent on grants & partnerships, which are included within the individual budgets for ECF’s three overarching objectives.

Grants Schemes 709,627 11.30%
Youth & Media 148,453 2.40%
Events 682,300 10.80%
1,540,380 24.50%
Advocacy, Research & Development 693,252 11.00%
Tandem Cultural Managers Exchange 1,238,249 19.70%
1,931,501 30.70%
Connected Action (Networked Programme) 1,518,163 24.10%
Knowledge Management 271,881 4%
ECF Labs 120,860 1.90%
Publications 211,037 3.40%
2,121,941 33.70%
General administration 86,598 1.40%
Governance 126,196 2.00%
Communications 221,920 3.50%
Costs securities 84,104 1.30%
Fund development 176,537 2.80%
695,354 11.10%
Total 6,289,176

Percentages are of total annual costs.

Total ECF Expenditure by Objective

Please note, these costs include all ECF expenditure, including grants, partnerships, programme costs, staff costs and other overheads.




ECF is grateful for the longstanding partnership with the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds. As a result of this partnership, ECF acknowledges the annual financial contribution – via the Cultuurfonds – from the BankGiro Loterij and the Lotto.

We also thank all our partners who have financially supported us so generously in 2015:

Stiftung Mercator; Robert Bosch Stiftung; Fonds voor Cultuurparticipatie; Fondazione Cariplo; Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation; Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunsten; Gulbenkian Foundation; Stavros Niachros Foundation; EU Audiovisual & Cultural Agency; British Council; Open Society Initiative for Europe; King Baudouin Foundation.

ECF is a member of the Vereniging Fondsen in Nederland (FIN), of Goede Doelen Nederland (previously Verening Fondsenwervende Instellingen (VFI)) and the European Foundation Centre (EFC).

ECF endorses the principles of the Code Wijffels: ‘Code Goed Bestuur voor Goede Doelen’ and the European Foundation Centre’s Principles of Good Practice.

ECF has the ANBI (Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling) status, which means that the Foundation’s objectives have been deemed to improve the well-being of the general public.

ECF also holds the seal of approval from the Central Bureau of Fundraising (CBF) in the Netherlands (‘Keurmerk voor Goede Doelen’).

Please visit for a full list of ECF’s partners.

Download our 2015 financial report and our updated declaration of responsibility at or request a copy at

pbcf CBF-ERKEND_kl