European Spaces of Culture


European Union National Institutes for Culture

EUNIC – European Union National Institutes for Culture – is the European network of organisations engaging in cultural relations. Together with our partners, we bring to life European cultural collaboration in more than 90 countries worldwide with a network of 125 clusters, drawing on the broad experience of our members from all EU Member States and associate countries.

EUNIC advocates a prominent role of culture in international relations and is a strategic partner of the EU, actively involved in the further definition of European cultural policy. EUNIC is a platform for knowledge sharing and for capacity building amongst its members and partners.

Through culture, EUNIC strives to build trust and understanding between the people of Europe and the wider world. We work to make culture count in international relations.

EUNIC’s work is based on the principles of cultural relations. We aim to build fair partnerships by practising mutual listening and learning and engaging in dialogue, co-creation, and joint capacity building.

EUNIC’s understanding of culture includes the arts, creative industries, development cooperation, digitalisation, education, gender, heritage, human rights, language and multilingualism, social inclusion, sports, sustainability, tourism, youth, and others.

The purposes of EUNIC are defined in the Statutes as follows:

  • to work together
  • to promote cultural diversity and understanding
  • to strengthen international dialogue and cultural cooperation
  • to be a partner of the EU in defining and implementing EU cultural policy
  • to advocate for the value of cultural relations and, as part of this, argue for a strong and independent voice for the cultural sector
  • to conduct research and share best practices

EUNIC Statutes in English
EUNIC Statutes in the French original

On 4 June 2020, EUNIC adopted its new Strategic Framework 2020-2024. EUNIC's three objectives are:

  • to strengthen cultural relations worldwide together with partners;
  • to advocate for culture in international relations as a strategic partner of the EU; and
  • to enhance its capacity as a network.

EUNIC Strategic Framework 2020-2024

EUNIC is one of the 28 European networks supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. It has continuously benefited from this support since 2014.

EUNIC members join together in 125 clusters in 96 countries worldwide. Clusters are the network's branches, established where at least three EUNIC members are represented. Clusters engage in cultural relations, co-creating activities with partner organisations. This map shows the global presence of EUNIC.

Colleagues working in EUNIC Clusters find key documents and guidelines in the EUNIC Resource Centre.

EUNIC members engage in cultural and related activities beyond their national borders. They are national institutes for culture or other organisations acting for or on behalf of a national entity, based in EU Member States. EUNIC unites both cultural institutes that operate at arm’s length from national governments and national bodies and ministries. EUNIC currently counts 36 members based in all EU Member States and the United Kingdom.

Czech Republic
Czech Centres
Culture Ireland
Slovak Republic
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
United Kingdom
British Council

Former members

  • Instytut Adama Mickiewicza
  • Flemish-Dutch House deBuren

EUNIC is registered as an international non-profit association (AISBL) under Belgian law (VAT BE 0473.098.365).

EUNIC’s General Assembly is composed of all members and is the governing body of EUNIC, steering the network strategically. The General Assembly approves new full and associate members, elects the Board of Directors, and confirmes EUNIC’s activity plan and budget. It also formally approves new EUNIC clusters. The General Assembly meets twice a year and is chaired by the President of EUNIC.

General Assembly Meeting Reports

Executive decisions are taken by the Board of Directors. It meets four times a year. The six Board members are elected for a period of two years by the full members of EUNIC, with the possibility of re-election for another two years.

Cees de Graaff

President – DutchCulture

Guzmán Palacios

Vice-President – AECID

Roberto Vellano

Board Member - Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Petra Kežman

Board Member - Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Matthieu Peyraud

Board Member – French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs

Aušrinė Žilinskienė

Board Member – Lithuanian Culture Institute

The EUNIC president chairs the General Assembly and the Board of Directors and represents the network. They serve a period of one year.

Cees de Graaff was elected President of EUNIC in October 2020. Cees de Graaff has been the Director of DutchCulture, centre for international cooperation, and of its predecessor, SICA, since 2010. Previous roles include working for the Youth Circus in Ethiopia (2001-2004), independent consultancies and management positions in the arts sectors with a focus on music, dance and cultural heritage. Cees is the Chairman of the Board of Rialto Film and World Cinema Amsterdam and is a Board Member of MOTI – Museum of Tomorrow International. He studied Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam and Art and Media management at the University of the Arts in Utrecht.

Former EUNIC Presidents and Board Members

The Director of EUNIC is responsible for the daily management of the network, delivering the EUNIC strategy and heading the EUNIC office. The Board of Directors delegates some of its tasks to the Director. The Director is selected by the Board of Directors after an open call to the network, and is seconded by the respective EUNIC member for a time period of three years. In autumn 2020, Gitte Zschoch's mandate has been extended for another two years until the summer of 2023. EUNIC compensates that member for the staff costs of the Director.

Gitte Zschoch became Director of EUNIC in 2018. Previously, she was the founding director of the Goethe-Institut's branch in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and has held different roles for the Goethe-Institut in Seoul, Tokyo, Johannesburg, and in the Munich main office, where she was Deputy Head of Communications. She formerly worked as an independent cultural manager and writer with a focus on visual arts and literature. She holds an MA in Modern Korean Literature from Seoul National University and a BA in Comparative Literature from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich.

Former EUNIC Directors
Andrew Murray, British Council, 2015-18
Helena Kovarikova, Czech Centres, 2012-15

The EUNIC office is the secretariat of the EUNIC network, based in Brussels. The secretariat supports EUNIC members in the delivery of collaborative work worldwide, advocates for European cultural relations, and facilitates knowledge sharing and capacity building between the people of the network. The office was established in 2012.

Contact the team

EUNIC is funded by proportionate membership fees.

EUNIC's worldwide activities are financed by contributions of members’ local branches and partners.

The Cluster Fund is the network’s most important internal financial instrument and is financed by voluntary contributions by EUNIC members. It supports activities inside and outside the EU with currently around 200,000 euros annually. Since its establishment in 2012, 119 Cluster Fund projects have been financed with a total budget of 970,000 euros.

In 2014, EUNIC received funding as European network from the Creative Europe programme, which was renewed in 2017 for an additional four-year cycle. The Preparatory Action European Spaces of Culture is co-funded by the Directorate-General Education, Youth, Sports and Culture of the European Commission.

Administrative Arrangement: Partnership agreement with the EU
In 2017, EUNIC signed a partnership agreement, an Administrative Arrangement, with the European Commission – represented by the Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (EAC) – and the European External Action Service (EEAS). In the Arrangement, the three parties agree to initiate joint pilot activities to enhance cooperation between EU Delegations and EUNIC clusters.

The EU strategy on international cultural relations, the Joint Communication ‘Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations’, was published in 2016. It identifies EUNIC as one of the implementing partners of the EU's cultural relations approach.

Joint activities between the EU and EUNIC
A first joint pilot activity resulting from the Administrative Arrangement was the publication of the Report on the current state of the partnership between EUNIC clusters and EU Delegations, based on the experiences of collaboration in 14 countries worldwide.

Furthermore, EUNIC, the EEAS and the Commission have co-hosted joint sessions on the role of cultural relations in EU foreign policy during regional seminars in North Macedonia (2018), Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Ghana, Guinea and the Philippines (2019). In 2020, they are co-hosting webinars on cultural relations for colleagues working in EU Delegations and in the EUNIC network.

To further facilitate cooperation between EU Delegations and the EUNIC network, the Joint Guidelines: EUNIC – European External Action Service – European Commission partnership were co-authored and published. These guidelines advise colleagues working in EU Delegations and EUNIC clusters worldwide on how to design effective working relationships in order to deliver cultural relations projects.

Joint cultural relations projects and programmes between EUNIC clusters and EU Delegations are currently being implemented in eight countries: Bolivia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Jordan, Peru, Senegal, Sudan, Tunisia and Ukraine.

European Spaces of Culture
In 2018, EUNIC has been granted the Preparatory Action European Spaces of Culture (formerly European ‘Houses’ of Culture), initiated by the European Parliament and implemented through EUNIC’s network, EU Delegations and local stakeholders. The project tests new models of European collaboration in culture.

Further reading

Joint Statement "For the future: Make cultural relations count in a post-crisis global society" approved by all 36 EUNIC members
Strategic Framework 2020-2024 adopted
Joint Guidelines on the Partnership between EUNIC, the European Commission and the European External Action Service published
European ‘Houses’ of Culture Preparatory Action grant received
Creative Europe programme funding received for the period of 2017-2021
Administrative Arrangement signed, a partnership agreement between EUNIC, the European Commission and the European External Action Service
Network grows to 100 clusters worldwide
First Strategic Framework adopted
EUNIC brings together members from all EU Member States
Creative Europe programme funding received for the period of 2014-2016
EUNIC Cluster Fund created
EUNIC office in Brussels installed
Network grows to 50 clusters worldwide
Integration of ministries for Member States without cultural institutes
EUNIC network created by six EU cultural institutes: Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, British Council, Danish Cultural Institute, Goethe-Institut, Institut français and SICA, the predecessor of DutchCulture

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