The European Cultural Foundation was set up in Geneva in 1954. Its founding figures included the Swiss philosopher Denis de Rougemont, the architect of the European Community Robert Schuman, and HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, under whose presidency the foundation moved to its current base in Amsterdam. All of these influential figures believed passionately in culture as a vital ingredient for Europe’s post-war rebuilding and healing process. These efforts have since developed into the current state of economic, political and cultural interdependence in Europe.


To support and connect cultural change-makers whose work contributes to an ongoing cross-sectoral debate on Europe and Europe’s place in the world.

Geographic focus

Europe and its bordering regions

Programme areas

The European Cultural Foundation bridges communities and cultural change-makers across wider Europe. Connecting Culture, Communities and Democracy is the over-arching thematic focus they support, research and advocate for through the following activities:

– Connected Actions to the Commons

– Idea Camp

– Tandem Cultural Exchange

– Advocacy

– Grants

– R&D

– Doc Next Network

– ECF Labs

– EFC Princess Margriet Award for Culture

Connected Actions to the Commons:

ECF works with its partners to support participatory processes which contribute to more open and democratic societies.

Idea Camp:

ECF launches an annual open call for cultural change-makers to attend an Idea Camp where they address innovative ideas on European issues.

Tandem Cultural Exchange:

It’s an exchange programme which is a result of the former European Neighbourhood programme and supports cultural change-makers across wider Europe.


ECF connects civil society with policy, allowing them to influence policy debate at all levels, from local to European and neighbouring countries.


ECF grants support artistic and cultural expression across wider Europe.


Research & Development at ECF engages a variety of stakeholders and research partners in reflection, action research and pilot projects reinforcing our theme Connecting Culture, Communities and Democracy.

Doc Next Network

Doc Next Network is a partnership with four cultural organisations working with young media-makers across Europe.

ECF Labs

It’s an online community focusing on arts and culture, where users can share views, projects, news and create their own labs focusing on topics they care about.

EFC Princess Margriet Award for Culture

The ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture is an annual award given to cultural change-makers whose work highlights the importance of culture for an inclusive Europe.