The Cultuurfonds was founded in London in 1940 by Prince Bernhard, late grandfather Willem Alexander, the present king, to buy war material for the British and Dutch Governments. It continued after the war as Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds aimed at rebuilding the war torn cultural life in The Netherlands. Headquartered on the Herengracht canal in Amsterdam, the foundation has 12 local branches, one in each of the Dutch provinces. There is also a separate Distribution Committee for projects in the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.
The foundation’s mission is to support cultural and nature preservation projects in The Netherlands, The Netherlands Antilles (Curaςao, Bonaire, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius, Saba) and Aruba. The Cultuurfonds emphasizes artistic excellence and educational initiatives.
The foundation is privately funded. The foundation has an endowment valued at $96 million.
In addition, the overall foundation’s annual expenditure is financed by new income, the bulk of which is received from two private lotteries. The remainder of the annual expenditure is supported by contributions from individuals, family foundations and corporations via donations, legacies, and Designated Funds, in addition to revenue from the unique annual collection (called 'Anjeractie'). This grassroots effort engages tens of thousands of people each year, as they go out in the streets throughout The Netherlands on appointed days with collection boxes decorated with the distinctive “orange carnation” logo.
With currently more than 240 Designated Funds, the Cultuurfonds is the initiator and market leader in The Netherlands of these personalized ‘field of interest’ funds.
Grants and Awards
Each year over 3,500 cultural and nature preservation projects are supported. These include town bands, the restoration of historic buildings and ships, dance performances, the preservation of unique cityscapes and landscapes, and scholarships for young artists and scholars to study abroad. One of the latest project we supported is The New Amsterdam Trail, a walking tour of 17th century Dutch New York.
The prestigious Zilveren Anjer (Silver Carnation) Awards annually recognize individuals who have made extraordinary, voluntary contributions to Dutch cultural life and the environment.
Professional management and broad support
The Cultuurfonds has a three-year strategic business plan. The organization is directed by a 16 member board, who employ 33 staff at headquarters. There are over 40,000 volunteers throughout the country.