The Nordics – Europe’s busiest users of culture and media online

NYHET | 5 december 2019

With almost universal household Internet access, Iceland leads in using the Internet for streaming TV and movies, reading online news, listening to web radio and streaming music and purchasing films, music and reading material. The other Nordic countries usually follow closely.

Eurostat’s 2019 Culture Statistics report compares culture-related data from the EU28, EFTA and enlargement countries. Below, some of the findings featuring the Nordics are highlighted, focusing on the Internet and media related activities.

Nordics in the top tier of Internet access and media usage — Iceland leads in all categories(1)

Iceland had the highest rate of household Internet access among all countries surveyed with 99 per cent, and only the Netherlands (98%) kept Norway from second place with 96 per cent. The three Nordic member states followed: Finland (94%), Denmark (93%) and Sweden (92%).

Iceland again leads the pack when it comes to Internet use for watching streamed TV and movies, with 91 per cent of the Internet users using it for that purpose in the three months preceding the survey. Finland came in second with 90 per cent (tied with the Netherlands), followed by Norway (89%), Sweden (88%) and Denmark (87%). (The percentages are based on Internet users throughout the article below.)

With 95 per cent of the adult population using the Internet for online news, Iceland again comes out on top. Norway (tied with Lithuania) came in second place with 93 per cent.(2)

When it comes to web radio and music streaming, Iceland takes first place with 81 per cent, followed by Finland and Sweden (both 76 %), Norway (tied with Greece at 72%) and Denmark (69%). See map below.

Map: Use of the Internet for listening to music (for example web radio, music streaming) 2018

Source: Eurostat Culture Statistics Online (Map 1) or PDF-report (Map 7.1, page 159)

Nordics lead in using the Internet to purchase films, music and reading material(1)

Among all countries surveyed, Iceland had the highest number of individuals using the Internet to purchase films and music with 54 per cent of the Internet users, followed closely by Sweden (49%) and Norway (44%). That is contrasted with less than 17 per cent of EU28 Internet users. When it comes to using the Internet to buy books, magazines and newspapers, Sweden tops the list with 37 per cent.

(1) The percentages using Internet for different purposes are based on Internet users throughout the article.
(2) Data from 2017.

Read more and download: Culture Statistics – 2019 edition

Read Culture Statistics as an online publication


More information: In the cultural field, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, compiles statistics from several different data collection exercises. The vast majority of the data in the 2019 report may also be found in the culture domain of Eurobase, Eurostat’s online database. Further statistics on ICT usage can be found in the digital economy and society section of the database.



To find out more about internet access over time in the EU28 and other countries in Europe (incl. Iceland and Norway), as well as individual internet activities per Nordic country, download the following tables from Nordicom’s table database (filter Region by ‘Nordic’ and Media by ‘Internet/ICT’):

Internet access in EU28 and per European country 2002–2018 (Excel)

Use of Internet for social networks, news, games, music, TV and video services per Nordic country 2011–2018 (Excel)

Use of Internet for social networks, games, music, TV and video services per Nordic country, by age 2018 (Excel)