On 6 April 2016, Dutch citizens voted “for or against the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine?” This is an important decision for the future direction of both countries and their relationships with Europe, and we find it very unfortunate that the majority of voters said no.
For more than a decade, ECF has been working with many partners in Ukraine and we have built strong partnerships. In 2015, the ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture was awarded to Visual Culture Research Center (VCRC) in Kiev and we continue to support exchange between cultural managers from Europe and Ukraine through our Tandem programme.
In a recent interview, VCRC’s director Vasyl Cherepanyn said that: “We need a common European vocabulary; it is the basis to make the understanding of our different experiences possible and to reflect on the solutions of our common European problems without hiding social reality.” This is what we are trying to build throughout our programmes.
ECF believes in Europe and believes that culture is the space within which we can confront, negotiate and navigate our differences - the space within which we learn to live together - in Europe, but also in the world. And this space begins very close to home. For me Europe is an intricate web of inter-local connections, a much different picture than a patchwork of nations, layered over the people themselves.
We will continue building this Europe neighbourhood by neighbourhood and relationship by relationship - open to and connecting with both those who think like us and those who do not.
Director of the European Cultural Foundation
Tandem Cultural Managers Exchange Programme
Our Tandem Ukraine exchange programme gathers cultural managers based in Ukraine, all 28 EU member states, Belarus, Moldova and the Russian Federation. For more info visit the Tandem website.
About the referedum
The Dutch Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement referendum is a referendum on the approval of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine, which was held in the Netherlands on 6 April 2016. The referendum question was: "Are you for or against the Approval Act of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine?"
- How democratic are referendums? in EuroTopics.
Interview with Vasyl Cherepanyn on Amnesty International (in Dutch) "Zijn jullie MH17 dan helemaal vergeten?"
The Dutch referendum: A view from Ukraine, by Zaven Babloyan, Eurozine
- Ukraine in European Dialogue by Tatiana Zhurzhenko, Eurozine
- Half of Dutch don’t know about Ukraine referendum, by Vince Chadwick and Cynthia Kroet, Politico
- Ukraine abandoned? Is the West going to trade Ukraine off for Russia's support in the Middle East? (audio) by Krytyka Polityczna
- Insider's Guide: Ten Good Reasons to Visit Ukraine Today by Tasya Kudryk, Calvert Journal.
Starting school: in conversation with the curators of Kiev’s new art biennial, interview by Dina Akhmadeeva, Calvert Journal
Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom (2015), film by Evgeny Afineevsky
- Understanding Ukraine, Open Society Foundations
A new dawn for Ukraine: Long-term opportunities for a transformed state by Jim Blackburn, New Eastern Europe
A conversation with Hanna Hopko, EuroMaidan activist and member of Ukrainian parliament, interview by Adam Reichardt, New Eastern Europe
We need to put pressure on the government, by Anna Korbut, New Eastern Europe
The Art of Revolution: Creativity and Euromaidan, by Natalia Moussienko, The Wilson Quarterly
How can culture offer solidarity and common ground to overcome economic and political conflicts of our time? Two courageous examples are the Athens Biennale (Greece) and the Visual Culture Research Center (Ukraine), both laureates of the 2015 ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture.
The following lab aims to understand the cultural and political contexts in which they work, and to open up a broader conversation on culture in times of conflict and crisis. Anyone can join: