Monday

25th Oct 2021

Culture in figures: Nordics most engaged

Compared to people from other parts of Europe, Scandinavians are the most inclined to spend their time and money on culture.

The Danes are the biggest spenders. Some 5.5 percent of everything they spend goes into books, films, and other things cultural. They go the cinema more often than any other nation in the EU. In 2006, less than half of Europeans went to see a movie at least once.

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  • The Swedes and the Finns have the most artists and creative writers as a share of population (Photo: Steve Rhodes)

"On spending, the Danes are followed by the Finns and the Czechs, whose “share of cultural expenditure in total household expenditure,” according to the EU’s latest figures (from 2005), amounts to five percent each. On average in the EU, that number is around four percent."

The Danes are also among the most creative in the EU, together with the Swedes, the Finns and the Latvians. The Swedes and the Finns boast the most artists and creative writers as a share of population.

But it is non-EU members Iceland and Norway who steal the show. Some 3.2 and 2.6 percent of their workforce, respectively, is employed in the cultural sector. The EU average is 1.7 percent.

The Danes are not, however, the most often enrolled in art school. Instead, it is the British and the Irish who top the bill. Of all university students there, some 6.8 and 6.6 percent respectively study the arts, compared to 3.8 percent on average in the EU.

In general in Europe, those in the north are more culturally savvy than those in the south, if statistics are anything to go by. But there are some outliers.

Luxembourg is one. After Bulgaria and Greece, its citizens spend less on culture than anybody else in the EU. Its share of cultural workers is well below the average.

Malta is another. It scores above average on most indicators. Its citizens do not go to the cinema much, but they study the humanities like no other.

There are differences between men and women, too. Women are much bigger readers than men. In every single country in the EU, the share of women who read at least one book per year is at least 10 percent higher than the share of men.

Most books are read in Sweden and Finland. Figures for Denmark are not available. The Czech Republic is a notable third.

Compared to other parts of the world, finally, Europe is a cultural hub. Not only does it boast more Unesco World Heritage sites than any other region but it also export 50 percent more cultural goods than it imports.

It trades most in books and paintings, predominantly with the US and Switzerland.

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