New report: Cultural expenditure in the Nordic Region

NEWS | 28 January 2020

Of all the Nordic countries, Iceland, Greenland and Norway have the highest cultural expenditure per capita. This is according to a Nordic cultural facts report, published by Kulturanalys Norden.

During the period 2009–2017, the total expenditure on cultural services in the Nordic countries increased by 12 per cent, as stated in a report on public cultural expenditure in the Nordic region (Kulturutgifter i Norden).

During the same period, the Faroe Islands and Norway were the only countries where the share of GDP spent on cultural services increased. The other Nordic countries either reduced spending on culture in relation to GDP (Sweden, Iceland, Greenland) or stayed unchanged (Denmark and Finland). Between 0.5 and 1 per cent of the Nordic countries' GDP is expenditure on cultural services.

Iceland spends the most money on culture, with EUR 651 per inhabitant (2017). Greenland and Norway follow with EUR 495 and EUR 438 per inhabitant, respectively. The least cultural money spent per inhabitant is in Sweden and Finland, with EUR 240 and EUR 213 respectively in 2017.

Smaller Nordic countries clearly have the highest expenditure on culture in relation to the population. This applies at the state and local levels combined, as above, where Iceland and Greenland top the list, but even more so at the state level only. Then the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland spend the most money on culture per inhabitant, according to a review of each country's 2018 state budget.

Another conclusion in the report is that it is difficult to compare cultural expenditure between the Nordic countries, as the statistics are based on broad categories and cultural expenditure takes place on different political levels (central government or local government). The Agency therefore recommends that the countries, in consultation, produce statistics according to the same definitions.

Summary in English: Cultural Expenditure in the Nordic countries

The report in Swedish: Kulturutgifter i Norden

More about the report: Kulturutgifter i Norden is the third report in a series called Nordisk Kulturfakta, presenting key figures and comparative data in different cultural areas. The series also aims to discuss the need for harmonisation of data in the Nordic countries for future follow-ups. The previous two publications dealt with film in cinema in the Nordic region, and museums in the Nordic region (English summaries available).

The Nordic Agency for Cultural Policy Analysis, Kulturanalys Norden, is tasked by the Nordic Council of Ministers to produce statistics and knowledge of relevance to Nordic cultural policy.


Find more Nordic cultural statistics


Go to the database
Read more: New Nordic database for comparative statistics


Go to Eurostat's database: Culture statistics
Read more: The Nordics – Europe's busiest users of culture and media online