D E N M A R K
0. INTRODUCTION *
The Kingdom of Denmark belongs to the group of Nordic countries and is situated in the northern part of Europe. It has an area of 43,100 sq. km. (excluding the Faroe Islands - 1,400 sq. km. and Greenland - 2,175,600 sq. km.). The population, 5.3 million (excluding the Faroe Islands and Greenland in mid-1996), is Danish, as is also the language. 94 per cent of the population profess Christianity, and belong to the Danish Lutheran Church.
Culture is defined in broad terms in Denmark, - as a way of life whose basis is the general freedom of action vested in the people. Culture is the joint property of the people, and this broad cultural concept forms the basis of the government's cultural policy. The general policy objective is to support and develop the multiplicity of culture and to ensure many-sidedness as well as quality. The professed social function of culture is not only asserted, but also acted upon, relying on the coordination of the social and cultural, as well as educational, policies.
1. GENERAL DIRECTIONS OF CULTURAL POLICY 1
Denmark has a long tradition of public support for artistic and cultural activities. This tradition was started by the Church and then gradually taken over by the royal family and the court, as a manifestation of their interest in culture and its support. When Denmark adopted its first democratic constitution in the middle of the 19th century, the responsibility for supporting the arts and culture shifted from the court to the newly formed civil administration. The first national administration dealing with culture in the broad sense of the word was the Ministry of Education, which was responsible for education, religious affairs and culture. It was only in 1961 that the Danish government established its first Ministry of Culture. In the early 1960s, a programme of cultural legislation was implemented and a wide range of reforms were introduced. Provision was made for subsidies to theatres, film production and symphony orchestras. The working conditions of the creative artist improved with the 1964 Act setting up the State Art Foundation. In parallel with this, the activities of the public library system were expanded and consolidated with the Public Libraries Act of 1964.
The first basic principle underlying the new legislation was that the State should encourage, rather than direct or control. In consequence, the legislation governing the activities of the State Art Foundation and the Film Subsidy Authority explicitly stipulated that all decisions on financial support in these spheres should be made exclusively by special committees made up of experts. Neither the Ministry nor Parliament can influence or alter such decisions.
Moreover, the second basic principle was that cultural policies should aim at involving as many people as possible in cultural activities. This effort has been very successful in Danish legislation pertaining to schools and education.
To execute such a policy, the need for decentralisation is obvious. Some central institutions set up branches throughout the country, and opportunities were created for the establishment of independent cultural institutions in different regions. But decentralisation also meant the transfer of responsibility, funds, and the right to decide to local bodies and the encouragement of the kind of cultural activities that arise spontaneously all over the country.
The third important principle, consistently followed since the establishment of the Ministry of Culture and the introduction of new legislation, was that cultural policy in Denmark was to be based on a wider concept of culture than the traditional one.
The latest step in this direction, designed to stimulate a more active involvement of the population in the planning of cultural activities, was the formation of the Cultural Fund in 1990.
The objective of the Cultural Fund is to offer financial assistance to new or cross-sectorial cultural initiatives involving cooperation between the arts and cultural institutions on the one hand and popular culture on the other. Furthermore, the Fund is designed to provide grants for the realisation of new ideas within established cultural institutions and the arts.
In recent years, the scope for expansion in the cultural sector has been limited by the smaller rate of growth in cultural budgets. Cultural policy has also become a question of priorities. In this situation, the topic of heated debate in the coming years will no doubt be whether the Government and Parliament should give more weight to supporting the arts or to bringing cultural activities to a larger and broader spectrum of the population. Finally, the division of labour between the national, regional and local levels of administration and institutions will probably also require some clarification in the near future.
The main body responsible for cultural policy at the governmental level is the Ministry of Culture, established in 1961. The Ministry is responsible for questions relating to cultural planning, development, copyright legislation, sports, archives, libraries, museums, theatre and films, circus, artistic education (including the training of architects), radio and television broadcasting, promotion of culture in the broadest sense, international cultural relations.
It comprises a central division and a number of cultural institutes. The institutes are divided into three main areas: the creative and performing arts, the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage and higher education and training. Cultural institutes enjoy considerable freedom and independence in relation to the Ministry. Generally, the Ministry does not involve in concrete subsidy allocation or act as an arbiter of taste in any of the arts or cultural fields. It acts as an architect of frameworks of overall cultural policy and, in interaction with Parliament, sets the objectives, financial frameworks, subsidy arrangements and organizational structures which form the basis of cultural policy in Denmark.
A number of cultural tasks are performed by the Ministry of the Environment and its National Agency for the Protection of Nature, Monuments and Sites, established in 1975, as well the as Ministries of Education and Ecclesiastical Affairs.
The Ministry of Education is responsible for comprehensive education, free schools and private primary and lower-secondary schools, county council single-subject courses for adults, the operation of the State Educational Grant and Loan Scheme, upper-secondary schools, matriculation courses, higher preparatory examinations, commercial schools, technical schools, leisure time education, universities, university centres and other institutions of higher education.
The Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs deals with matters relating to public worship and religious practice.
In keeping with the policy of decentralization, many cultural activities are the responsibility of local authorities at the regional, county and local-district levels (the Association of County Councils and the Association of Local Authorities), thus assuring a greater degree of participation in cultural life in both the professional and amateur context. The local authorities have a large measure of self-government, but are required to abide by certain statutory guidelines.
Statens Kunstfond (The States Arts Foundation) supports visual arts, literature, music, arts and crafts, artistic design, architecture. In each field the relevant committee awards grants to artists. Funds are also available for the purchase of works of art to be deposited in public and private institutions and for the decoration of buildings.
Akademiet for de skonne Kunster (The Royal Academy of Fine Arts) is an educational institution for painters, sculptors and architects. It also advises the State and county and local authorities and administers scholarships and prizes for artists.
Kulturfonden (Culture Fund) exists to support financially new cultural initiatives involving cooperation between the arts and popular culture. Furthermore, the Fund can support the realisation of new ideas within the established cultural institutions and the arts.
Dansk Kunstnerrad (Danish Arts Council) is an association of 18 professional arts organizations representing creative and working artists in the fields of visual arts, actors, architects, craftsmen, film workers, photographers, stage designers, etc.
Danske Kunsthandvarkeres Landsammenslutning (DKL) (Danish Arts and Crafts Association) is founded in 1976. It arranges exhibitions and gives professional advice to schools, museums, etc. It has 380 members and 8 regional groups of artist-craftsmen. The Association publishes Dansk Kunsthandverk (quarterly).
Kunstforeningen i Kobenhavn (Copenhagen Art Society) is founded in 1825. It stages exhibitions and publishes art books for its 3,500 members.
Ny Carlsbergfondet (New Carlsberg Foundation) supports art and history of art in Denmark.
Sammenslutningen af Danske Kunstforeninger (National Committee of Danish Art Societies), founded in 1942, arranges touring exhibitions with government support. It has 15,000 members.
All funds in support of cultural activity in Denmark provided by official sources, from the national to the local level, stem from taxation. There are also state as well as private foundations whose purpose is to further science and culture. Although no general study has been made to determine how much culture contributes to the national product, some studies suggest that, in money terms, this contribution is considerable. Spending on culture by the central government represents approximately 1.4 per cent of the total public expenditure.
Government subsidy for the arts is authorized under the State Arts Foundation Act, amended in 1978. The State Arts Foundation is intended to further the Danish creative effort in the fields of visual arts, literature, music, arts and crafts, artistic design, architecture, and other forms of creative art unable to obtain state support by other legislative means. The Fondation's terms of reference include the funding of public decoration, purchase of art objects, grants to artists, including working and travel scholarships, production awards for authors and composers, and also old-age pensions for selected artists. Subsidies to creative artists are given on the basis of artistic merit, with no special social subsidy arrangements.
The Danish National Music Council, the Theatre Council, the State Board of Museums, and the State Film Institute are organizations which offer recommendations to the Ministry of Culture for the allocation of subsidies in their respective fields.
In 1983, a special committee on the Taxation of Artists' Earnings was set up, which proposed various measures designed to balance the fluctuating incomes of artists and thus alleviate the difficult economic position of creative artists.
The share of business sponsorship increased during the period of constraints in the public sector in the 1980s, and local authority support is becoming increasingly important.
In the 1996 government arts budget, cultural activities received DKK 3.5 billion, or almost 40 per cent of the total arts budget. Municipalities contributed DKK 5.1 billion, or 57 per cent, whereas the counties spent DKK 0.4 billion on culture or about 4 per cent. The past few years have generally seen very few shifts in the distribution of expenditure between the state, municipal and county levels.
In addition to the above, a number of cultural activities are financed by the National Lottery and the Football Pools, and television and radio licence fees. Therefore, public spending on the cultural budget is augmented by an additional DKK 3.3 billion. This figure, however, does not appear in the annual Finance Bill and is not included in the national cultural budget.
In real terms, the central government's expenditure grew from DKK 2.5 billion in 1986 to DKK 3.5 billion in 1996, equivalent to a real increase of approximately 40 per cent. The period from 1986 to 1996 saw a very stable trend in the breakdown of the central government's total expenditure on cultural activities. Thus in 1996, support for artists, etc. accounted for 7 per cent, music 7 per cent, theatre 16 per cent, film 6 per cent, libraries 15 per cent, archives 3 per cent, museums and zoological gardens 13 per cent, artistic training and education 15 per cent, international and general cultural relations 5 per cent, and, finally, cultural facilities 11 per cent.
Budgeted cultural expenditure for 1996 by the central government, municipalities and counties (DKK billion)
Source: Cultural Profile: Danish cultural policy. Copenhagen. Danish Ministry of Culture, 1996, pp. 9
Denmark has appropriate legislation to cover most cultural fields: museums, archives, drama, cinema, broadcasting, music, and preservation of cultural heritage. Since the late 70s, decentralization has been the main principle in the design of cultural policy legislation.
The Danish Act of Copyright should especially be mentioned because it is today one of the most progressive copyright acts in the world. It was totally revised in 1995 and gives creative and performing artists, producers of audio recordings and films and broadcasters basic sole and exclusive rights over their creations.
The Danish Literature Act was adopted in 1996. (see Literature and literary production)
The preservation of cultural heritage is the responsibility of the following central governmental agencies: the Danish State Archives, the Royal Library, the National Art Museum, and the National Museum. The oral heritage is preserved by the Danish Folklore Collection.
The responsibilities of the Danish State Archives include the preservation of records of historical interest and value or records serving to document matters of important administrative and legal relevance to citizens and authorities and to make these records available to state officials and the general public for research and other purposes.
The Danish library system embraces two main types of libraries: public libraries and public research libraries. Public libraries promote and disseminate information, knowledge and culture by providing books and other material free of charge to the general public. Research libraries gather, register and publish scientific material, serving the universities and other institutes of education.
Statens Museumsnaevn (The State Museum Board) is the body responsible for the Danish museums, whose tasks include assisting and advising the Ministry in questions relating to museums, calculating the basis for the award of government grants and supervising such awards, and furnishing museums with technical and other professional assistance. The National Museum collects, preserves, investigates, and provides information about specimens serving to elucidate the history of human culture. The office of the Keeper of National Antiquities is responsible for archaeological excavations in Denmark.
See paragraph 4.4 below.
There are two bodies that cover the visual and performing arts field: the Committee for Fine Arts Exhibitions Abroad and the Danish Theatre Council. The task of the Committee is to promote official Danish art exhibitions abroad and to advise Danish visual artist's staging exhibitions within the framework of Denmark's cultural cooperation with foreign countries. In its role of the Danish Section of the Nordic Art Association, the Committee also has the task of promoting Nordic cooperation in the field of visual arts.
Subsidies to the visual arts are managed by the Danish Arts Foundation under the provisions of the Danish Arts Foundation Act 1964, as amended in 1996.
The National Workshop for Arts and Crafts provides workshops and training facilities for artists.
The Royal Academy of Fine Arts is a national body established to advise the Government on cultural issues.
The Danish Theatre Council is an expert body responsible for advising the Ministry of Culture and other authorities on matters relating to theatres, and administering the support arrangements provided for by the Theatre Act 1990, as amended in 1996. The purpose of the Theatre Act is to promote the art and culture of theatre in Denmark.
The Royal Theatre is Denmark's national theatre with the main objective to enact plays, opera and ballet. Three regional theatre companies contribute to catering for the drama needs of the provinces. Regional or local theatres can be established in the initiative of local communities. The majority of them specialize in the area of children's and experimental theatre.
The situation in the book industry is difficult, despite the large number of titles published each year. The book market is characterized by falling print-runs, rising book prices, and decreasing purchases by libraries. The living and working conditions of Danish writers depend very much on the situation in the book market, and the national policy reflects the concern for the improvement of the position of literature in the overall cultural field.
One of the most important institutions concerned with literature is the Danish Literature Information Centre (Dansk Litteraturinformationscenter), whose task is to promote Danish literature abroad. The Centre publishes information and bibliographies on Danish literature in English, French and German, as well as a guide to Danish children's literature and, twice a year, the Danish Literary Journal, a newsletter on Danish literature in English. The Centre administers funds allocated for translation grants and various literary activities.
The financial support for writers comes from special funds and foundations. Most of the foundations which give aid to authors are administered by the Danish Authors' Association and funding is distributed by the National Library Authority. Moreover, the Ministry of Culture maintains contacts with a large number of private foundations and societies which provide money for literary purposes.
Denmark's first Literature Act was adopted in spring 1996 and a Literature Council established in autumn 1996. The Council's task is to administer the new subsidy arrangements provided for the new legislation plus a number of existing schemes. The objective of the new legislation is to promote literature and access to literature in Denmark, while promoting Danish literature abroad.
The Danish Music Council is a body of experts whose aim is the promotion of musical life in Denmark and appreciation of Danish music abroad. The Council assists and advises to public authorities and institutions on aspects of music and submits recommendations concerning the implementation of the Music Act 1976, as amended in 1993.
Selective subsidies for investment or loans are granted each year to a number of periodical publications, which also enjoy reduced postage rates. Indirect measures include VAT exemption in the case of the press (350 dailies and weeklies).
Radio and television companies in Denmark are regulated by the Broadcasting Act 1992, as amended in 1996.
Radio Denmark (Radio and TV Section) is a public institution with a monopoly on radio and TV broadcasting in Denmark. It enjoys an independent status and complete freedom in programme choice and planning. The Radio Council is responsible for the running of Radio Denmark. Most political parties and certain listener/viewer organizations are represented in the Council. Radio Denmark is financed almost exclusively by licence fees. TV 2 is financed by commercial advertising (about 70%) and licence fees.
Local commissions grant licences to companies, associations and similar bodies to engage in radio or television broadcasting within a local area. There are approximately 300 radio licences and 30 TV licences.
Some financial support is given for the production of alternative records. Subsidies are given for individual productions. An additional 30 per cent tax is levied on the retail price of records, calculated exclusive of VAT (22 per cent).
Denmark produces about 10 full-length feature films a year. Danish film production is supported with grants for screenplays given by the Danish Cinema Institute which provides 50% of production costs. The Danish Radio and Television Co-production Fund helps to finance the production of films by offsetting possible losses on the basis of quality criteria. Assistance is also provided for the distribution of imported films of artistic value and imported films for children.
Attendance at cultural performances and participation in cultural creation has been steadily rising in Denmark over the last twenty years. The same period has also seen a constant increase in the public expenditure on culture. The participation and attendance figures are not expected to show any significant change in the next several years, although cuts in public spending have taken place in the last few years. Educational levels still account for differences in the frequency of participation of the population, although, on the whole, the differences between the urban and rural population are diminishing. It can be said that a certain urbanization of leisure activities has taken place in villages and rural districts.
The recent trend in cultural development has been in the direction of bringing established culture (creative arts and its institutions - museums, theatres, libraries, etc.) closer together with popular culture, originating at the local popular level and controlled by the people involved. This is being attempted through the Cultural Policy Ideas Programme, which is both a supplement and an alternative to the traditional cultural policy. One of the main objectives of the programme, in its trial period from 1990 to 1993, was to provide increased opportunities for carrying into effect ideas on cultural policy which unite popular and established culture. Another objective was to transcend the existing division into sectors as far as cultural funding is concerned. The aim of the programme was also to introduce innovation and experimentation in the ways in which institutions of established culture propagate arts and culture, thus paving the way for other ways of expression and perception.
The Ideas Programme was implemented through a special Cultural Fund, financed with a government grant of DKK 120 million over three years, with additional financial support from private funds and companies. Areas of cultural life affected by the programme included libraries, art museums, museums of cultural history, sports, adult education centres, youth schools, art associations, open universities, community centres, artists in all fields of art, artistic education, popular education bodies, evening courses, single-subject examination courses, clubs and associations in local communities, archives, theatres, music schools, etc.
Another important project concerns children. The Try yourself scheme initiated by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs invited children to start their own cultural projects. The scheme has caught root on the local level as well, with positive experiences.
The primary aim of the Danish cultural policy in relation to other countries is to address, on the basis of mutual respect, a wider audience for Danish culture abroad, so that culture may be used as a tool for greater mutual understanding among nations. Denmark has concluded bilateral cultural agreements with eighteen countries. Formal exchange programmes have been agreed upon with three other countries, and unofficial or semi-official cultural relations are maintained with non-European countries.
The country participates in the work of UNESCO and the Council of Europe. Denmark's international cultural cooperation is the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture.
The Danish Institute, which is an independent, mostly government funded non-profit body, engages in the dissemination of knowledge about Danish culture abroad, utilizing a network of staff members in a number of European countries.
Denmark collaborates with other Nordic countries through the Nordic Council of Ministers. The traditionally strong Nordic cultural ties were formalized in a treaty of general cooperation signed in 1962 and extended in 1971. Denmark also takes part in the joint Nordic cultural activities abroad, such as the Scandinavia Today event in the USA.
The Danish Contemporary Art Foundation, established in 1995, has the main objective to promote contemporary Danish art, design and decorative art generally, including cooperation with the Danish Contemporary Art Gallery (DCA) in New York.
The Danish Literature Information Center was established to promote interest in and awareness of Danish literature abroad.
The Danish Music Information Centre is responsible for the registration, documentation and supply of information on Danish music at home and abroad and at the same time plans and arranges public performances of Danish music internationally.
The objective of the Baltic Media Center is to promote media cooperation in the Baltic region, between the former Socialist countries and the West, and to ensure the media a role in democratic development.
The function of the Danish Cultural Institute is to provide information on Danish society, promote Danish culture and offer Danish language courses. The Institute's head office is in Copenhagen with divisions in Edinburgh (UK), Brussels (Belgium/Benelux), Hannover (Germany), Vienna (Austria), Kecskemét (Hungary), Gdansk (Poland), Riga (Latvia), Tallin (Estonia) and Vilnius (Lithuania).
Four other institutes also operate abroad (in Rome, Hamburg, Athens and Damascus) concentrating mainly in the fields of humanistic and cultural research and cooperation.
8. ADDRESSES 2
Cultural Policy and Administration in Europe: 42 outlines. Vienna, Österreichische Kulturdokumentation, Internationales Archiv für Kulturanalysen, 1996, pp. 47-52
Cultural Profile: Danish cultural policy. Copenhagen, The Danish Ministry of Culture, 1996, 30 pp
Fisher, Rod. Briefing Notes on the Organisation of Culture in EEC Countries. Briefing Notes on the Organisation of Culture in Denmark. London, Arts Council of Great Britain, 1990
Handbook of Cultural Affairs in Denmark. Copenhagen, Ministry of Culture of Denmark, 1993. pp. 3 - 22
Handbook of Cultural Affairs in Europe, Baden-Baden, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 1995, pp. 223-240
Host, Helvinn: The Situation in Denmark, in: Participation in Cultural Life. Papers presented to the European Round Table on Cultural Research. Moscow, April 1991. Bonn, Zentrum für Kulturforschung in Co-operation with C.I.R.C.L.E. (Ed.), Kultur & Wissenschaft, Band 8, ARCult, 1991. pp. 77 - 83
Kulturens Penge, Information fra Kulturministeriet, Offentlige udgifter til kultur og folkeoplysning, juli 1989, Denmark, p. 39
Kulturens Penge, Information fra Kulturministeriet, Offentlige udgifter til kultur og folkeoplysning, oktober 1992, Denmark, pp.10-12
Mitchell, Ritva. Cultural policies in the Nordic Countries: Past Development, Present Problems and Future Perspectives. Stockholm, Nordic National Commission for UNESCO, Departementens Reprocenral, 1982, 47 pp.
Report on Danish Cultural Policy and Programme of Ideas, Information from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. Ministry of Cultural Affairs. April 1989.
Rouet, François; Dupin, Xavier. Le soutien public aux industries culturelles. Paris, La Documentation Française, 1991, pp. 53-59
Situation and Trends in Cultural Policy in Member States of Europe: World Conference on Cultural Policies, Mexico City. Paris, UNESCO, 1982, pp. 30-34
Source Index of Cultural Statistics in Europe. Luxembourg, European Commission/Eurostat, 1997
The World Almanach and Book of Facts 1997. Mahwah, New Jersey, World Almanach Books, 1997
10. FOOTNOTES* This monograph is based on a selection of data from the Cultural Policies Data Bank and on documents collected by the Documentation Centre for Cultural Development and Cooperation, Culturelink. The original draft, written by Zrinjka Perusko Culek, has been revised by the Kulturministeriet, Denmark. It has also been revised in 1997 by Daniela Angelina Jelincic.