The Prince Claus Fund was established on 6 September 1996 as a tribute to Prince Claus's dedication to culture and development. The Fund believes that culture is a basic need and the driver of development.
The Prince Claus Fund supports artists, critical thinkers and cultural organisations in spaces where freedom of cultural expression is restricted by conflict, poverty, repression, marginalisation or taboos. Annually, the Fund grants Prince Claus Awards to individuals and organisations for their outstanding achievements in the field of culture and development. The Fund also provides first aid to cultural heritage damaged by man-made or natural disaster.
Since 1996, the Fund has supported over 2080 cultural initiatives; it has presented Awards to 216 outstanding cultural achievers and provided ‘first aid’ to cultural heritage in more than 250 emergency situations.
Over the years, the Fund has built a diverse global network of excellent people, many of them role models in their own societies. This network of trust and mutual respect is the backbone of the Fund. Local partners and initiatives guide all the Fund’s work, following the conviction of Prince Claus that people are not being developed, but develop themselves.
In the words of HRH Prince Constantijn, Honorary Chairman of the Fund:
“The Prince Claus Fund has sought to support culture and creative expression in people and communities; where these meet with resistance. We used terms like the amnesty for culture; culture as a basic need; giving voice to the unheard in the zones of silence. They are all expressions of the central idea that culture is what makes us human. Development without it cannot be sustainable and is meaningless." (6 Sept 2011, on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Prince Claus Fund)
The Prince Claus Fund is financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Dutch Postcode Lottery and individual donations. Many individuals around the world contribute their expertise to the Fund.
The Prince Claus Fund has the following programmes to achieve its objectives:
Alongside these programmes the Fund organises various activities related to culture and development, most of the time in collaboration with other organisations. Please check the calendar for upcoming events.
In accordance with the Fund's Five Year Plan, the Fund’s current themes are:
- Culture and Conflict: Exploring the role of culture in communities that are experiencing or have experienced conflict or profound social upheaval.
- Zones of silence: Spaces where resources and opportunities for cultural expression, creative production and research are limited or restricted due to marginalization, repression, poverty, exclusion, war and/or unjust local or national government.
- Beauty in context: The creation of beauty in places where ugliness seems to have triumphed through war, poor government or other forms of misfortune.