Sunday

15th Dec 2019

Europeans turning their back on culture, survey says

Fewer Europeans are reading books or going to the theatre, mainly due to lack of interest, time and money, according to new research.

Cinema-going was the only activity not to see a fall in numbers between 2007 and 2012, said pollsters Eurobarometer.

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  • The survey linked the trend to people having less time and money (Photo: European Commission)

The survey carried out for the European Commission, which contacted 27,000 people, also suggests that northern Europeans are more likely to visit museums and art galleries than those in the south and east of the bloc.

Some 68 percent of Europeans have read at least one book in the last 12 months, the most common cultural activity, while just over half visited an historical site or monument.

However, the numbers of concert- and museum-goers were lower at 37 percent and 35 percent, respectively, while a mere 18 percent have been to a ballet performance.

Meanwhile, the countries worst hit by the EU's economic crisis have seen steep declines in cultural activities.

Just 22 percent of Greeks visited one of the country's many historical sites and monuments in 2012, down from 33 percent in 2007, when the survey was last carried out. Portugal also saw a 12 percent fall to 36 percent.

Ninety percent of respondents in Sweden, 86 percent in the Netherlands and 82 percent in Denmark have read at least one book in the last year, compared to just 51 percent of respondents in Romania and 50 percent in Greece.

People in Scandinavian countries were also far more likely to sing or dance than their southern European compatriots.

Seventy four percent of Danes said that they had taken part in "cultural activity" in 2012 compared to just 14 percent of Bulgarians.

"Governments need to re-think how they support culture to stimulate public participation," said the EU's culture commissioner Androulla Vassiliou on Monday (4 November), adding that the EU executive would continue to promote its "Creative Europe," programme aimed at streamlining the EU's funding sources for culture.

There is also little sign that people are becoming more European' in their consumption of culture.

Just over three in 10 Europeans have read a book by a foreign author, while only 19 percent have visited a historical monument or site in another country and 10 percent have attended a live performance or exhibition.

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