European Cultural Foundation


The European Cultural Foundation is an independent, impact driven organization with more than 60 years of experience.
We catalyse, connect and communicate civil society initiatives in arts and culture to work together for an open, democratic and inclusive Europe. We support cultural changemakers through grants, exchanges, and incubator programmes. Our annual ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture highlights culture as a force for positive change. We connect people to people, the local to the European, and grassroots to policy.


Culture is an invaluable resource for a positive future in Europe. The space where we understand how we can live together, understand our identities, and make it our home. We want to re-think and build Europe as an open, inclusive and democratic space.

The European Cultural Foundation nurtures a socially engaged and culturally rooted civil society across Europe. We are committed to making a tangible impact on civil society, citizen initiatives, public opinion and policy proposals, and combat the fragmenting forces jeopardising peace and social progress in Europe.

Geographic Focus

Europe and neighboring regions

Programme Areas

Advocacy is the groundwork for everything we do – creating a central position for culture and community participation at a local level and in EU policies. We support cultural changemakers and their projects through our grants, exchanges, online platforms and incubator programmes. We highlight stellar examples of culture as a force of positive change through the ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture. We connect the local to the European, the grassroots to the policy, and facilitate collaboration.

• Advocacy: We work for a democratic European society, one that is created, owned and shared by Europe’s citizens.
• Research & Development: We engage stakeholders and research partners in reflection, action research and pilot projects. Through a cultural lens, we look into alternative democratic practices, new forms of civic engagement, urban commons, as well as the position of Europe in the world. The outcomes and findings fuel all of our activities.
• Grants & Exchange: We support cultural changemakers through our grants and exchange schemes. Together, we bring new inspiring ideas to diverse audiences across Europe and neighboring countries. Find out more about the projects we support through our regular instagram takeovers by grantees.
• Pilot programmes: Our current pilot programmes focus on solidarity, inclusion, participation, and imagining new ways of living together in Europe. We run these pilots to explore new ways of working and to investigate trends in society. The outcomes of these programmes feed back into our overall strategy and work. Currently we are exploring models of participatory grant-making, we research cultural practices contributing to solidarity within communities, and we investigate how we can make media and the public debate more inclusive to the perspectives of refugees.
• ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture: A platform for showing those whose creative work can truly make a difference. The annual award honours inspiring examples of people and organizations who, with courage and creative power, imagine new paths for Europe.
• European Cultural Challenge: A two-day advocacy retreat in May 2018 that brought together laureates, grantees, partners, researchers, foundations, media-makers and policy-makers to work on tangible cases that fuel positive change through culture.
• Media Activism: Democracy runs on screens. Citizenship is a mediated experience: Electing representatives, joining campaigns, supporting protests, understanding causes, rights and injustices informed by images, sounds and words delivered by screens both big and small. Democracy runs on screens. We offer a platform for a diversity of voices and opinions, because a democratic Europe with an inclusive public sphere needs inclusive and democratic media.
• Idea Camp (2014 – 2017): A three-day incubator workshop for daring and innovative ideas to change Europe through culture
• ECF Labs: The digital meeting point for cultural change-makers. A place to explore and make visible what culture means in wider Europe. Developed for an open conversation about the role of culture in Europe.

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