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Saving a Dutch Political Cartoon Award


Cartoon Movement editor Tjeerd Royaards wrote an opinion piece about the possible disappearance of the only annual award for political cartoonists in the Netherlands as major sponsor the Democracy & Media Foundation decided to pull out. The article was published in Dutch daily De Volkskrant on Wednesday. Here is the English translation:

There are 75 prizes for journalists each year in the Netherlands. In an article from 2016, Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad refers to journalists as ‘champions of self-congratulation’. For Dutch political cartoonists there is only one award: the Inktspotprijs, rewarding the best political cartoon once a year. But now that the biggest sponsor, the Democracy & Media Foundation, has decided to pull out, the survival of the only cartoonist prize of the Netherlands is at stake.

There has been a renewed interest in cartoons and cartoonists ever since the attack on Charlie Hebdo in 2015. For many years, cartoonists rarely left their drawing tables, but now they are regular guests at debates and talk shows when the topic is freedom of expression. And when there is big news, media immediately turn to cartoonists to see how they respond, publishing slideshow of their work (often without paying, but that’s another story).

In this context, the decision of the Democracy & Media Foundation has decided to no longer support the Inktspotprijs is exceedingly strange. Their sponsorship was very modest, just 5000 euro each year euros a year. (The Foundation has a yearly budget of 2 million euro available to hand out in funding.)

The mission of the Democracy & Media Foundation is to invest in independent, critical media and a strong, just democratic state. An independent, critical media can not exist without cartoons. I admit that cartoons are not very innovating. Honoré Daumier and Charles Philipon, who compared the French king to a pear in 1831, did exactly the same work as British cartoonist Morten Morland, who drew Erdogan as a cat in 2014 (a comparison Erdogan allegedly really hates). And where Daumier was imprisoned for mocking of the king, Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart has now been in prison for over 200 days because of a similar crime.

Those in power (and especially those who aren’t very fond of democracy) still fear political satire, and rightly so. Democracy begins with the freedom to criticize power and nobody uses this freedom more effectively than a cartoonist.

In other words, if you want to support media in their role as watchdog of democracy, you should support political cartoons. And cartoonists certainly do not need continuous praise, but one award each year to recognize the importance of their work should not be too much to ask.

The article received an overwhelmingly positive response. Today, The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision officially announced they will take over the sponsorship, ensuring this award will continue to exist in years to come.

10 of Our Best (Unpublished) Refugee Cartoons

Our collection Migration & Refuge currently contains 62 cartoons, which is the number of cartoons we have published about this subject since our inception in 2010. But our cartoonists have sent in many, many more cartoons on this subject over the years. A modest estimate suggests about 600 cartoons in our database deal with the subject of refugees. For World Refugee Day, we’ve picked 10 great cartoons that haven’t been published on our homepage, but deserve to be seen nonetheless.


 1. A Fine Line


Current politics (in the US and Europe) tend to focus on anti-immigration policies. Refugees can become a victim of these policies as well. We should take care with how we treat people fleeing from war, Ant reminds us.


 2. Locked Doors


The journey of a refugee is hard, and more often then not the destination is full of locked doors. An image by renowned Brazilian cartoonist Cau Gomez.


 3. There & Here


How do we treat refugees after their arrival? Do we offer them a future in safety, or do we leave them on the streets? A question posed by Osama Hajjaj with this cartoon.


 4. Borders


Borders divide humanity, making us all less human, says Cuban artist Osvaldo Gomez.


 5. Passport Identity


And in a world of borders, passports create are identity; they determine where we can and cannot go If you are lucky, a passport allows you to travel the world, but if you have the misfortune to be born in a less prosperous or peaceful country, your passport becomes a burden. Cartoon by Rodrigo de Matos.


 6. Unraveling


When we talk about refugees, we often focus on where they are going, the perils of their journey, and how they will be treated at their destination. We tend to forget how difficult it must be to leave everything behind, to know you might never see home again. Cartoon by Rafat Alkhateeb.


 7. Ceci N’est Pas une Europe


The simplest of images can have the most power. This is not Europe, says Italian cartoonist Giuseppe La Micela.


 8. European Anthem 


The anthem of Europe says all people become brothers, but our migration policies say something different, according to Tjeerd Royaards.


 9. Search for Peace


Like the vast majority of people, refugees are simply looking for peace. Image by Christina Bernazzani.


 10. I Call Them Superheroes


But unlike most of us, refugees and migrants alike leave all behind and often risk life and limb in the quest for peace, prosperity and happiness. In the eyes of Luca Garonzi, that makes them superheroes. 

World Press Cartoon 2017



World Press Cartoon is the most prestigious international cartoon competition in the profession. We are very proud that this year’s winners include a number of our cartoonists. Third prize in the editorial cartoon section went to Sunnerberg Constantin (Cost) and Trayko Popov, Silvano Mello and Marco De Angelis all received honourable mentions.

Check out the World Press Cartoon gallery to see all the cartoons from this year’s edition.

De AngelisCost.

De AngelisMarco De Angelis.

MelloSilvano Mello.

300-MH-738x1024 Trayko Popov.

Perspectives on Freedom - Cartoon Exhibition

Since 2011, we have produced for the National 4 and 5 May Committee in the Netherlands every year. These cartoons are about freedom and are related to May 5th, Liberation Day. Starting last year, the cartoons we make are featured on very large canvases at the 14 Freedom Festivals that take place throughout the Netherlands on May 5th. Below are photos from some of the festivals. You can check out all the freedom cartoons we've made since 2011 on our two project pages:

Perspectives on Freedom 2011-2016

Perspectives on Freedom 2017

Vlissingen, Zeeland  (photos by Anda van Riet):

Zeeland_Anda van Riet4

Zeeland_Anda van Riet7(1)

Zeeland_Anda van Riet1

Zeeland_Anda van Riet6

Roermond, Limburg:


Den Bosch, Noord-Brabant