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Denmark/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.2 Public actors and cultural diplomacy

Denmark's international exchange and cooperation activities are conducted on two separate fronts:

  • Councils, Expert Committees & Art Professional Centres; and
  • Administrative and political bodies and agencies

The work of the various bodies on these two fronts is coordinated by an International Cultural Panel presided by the Ministry of Culture.

The Ministry of Culture co-operates with other ministries and authorities e.g. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Udenrigsministeriet) with regards to the cultural dimension in the Danish Embassies around the world

Councils, Expert Committees & Art Professional Centres

The Danish Arts Council promotes artistic development in Denmark as well as outside of Denmark. The Council's two principal tasks are:

  • to provide support for artistic endeavours within the fields of literature, performing arts, visual arts and music,
  • to advise public authorities regarding matters within the Council's sphere of activity. The council has committees within each of the four branches of the arts.

The role of the Danish Arts Foundation is to promote the creative arts in Denmark. Its main task is to provide grants for creative artists. The Foundation has committees for Visual Arts, Crafts and Design, Architecture, Film and Performing Arts, Literature, Classical Music, Popular Music and Art in Public Spaces.

The role of the Danish Film Institute is to support and promote the Danish film and cinema industry – in Denmark and abroad.

Danish Crafts (DC) is the national information centre for Danish crafts and design. It works to promote the international branding of Danish craft and design and help professional crafts people and designers gain a foothold in the international market.

The Danish Design Centre (DDC) is Denmark's professional knowledge centre for design and innovation. The main task is to carry out design and innovation activities aimed at Danish businesses with the purpose of improving their competitiveness. Furthermore it works to brand Danish design internationally.

The Danish Architecture Centre's (DAC´s) mission is to initiate partnerships designed to foster the development and wider awareness of Danish architecture and buildings, thereby establishing their cultural and commercial value, both nationally and internationally.

Administrative and political bodies and agencies

The Danish Agency for Culture is an administrative body under the auspices of the Danish Ministry of Culture. Among other things, the Agency acts as secretariat for the Danish Arts Foundation and the Danish Arts Council and has the regulatory responsibility for sites and monuments, listed buildings and state-subsidised museums. The Danish Agency for Culture is well-equipped to promote and provide services for Danish culture and art in the broadest sense on the domestic, European, and international fronts.

The Danish Cultural Institute (DKI) is an independent non-profit organisation funded by the Ministry of Culture. It aims to promote international cultural collaboration and exchange and to create enduring international connections and networks – not least through education and social awareness. The Institute's head office lies in Copenhagen with divisions in Edinburgh (UK), Brussels (Belgium / Benelux), Hanover (Germany), Vienna (Austria), Kecskemét (Hungary), Gdansk (Poland), Riga (Latvia), Tallinn (Estonia), Vilnius (Lithuania), St. Petersburg (Russia), Beijing (China), Buenos Aires (Brazil) and Cairo (Egypt). Three other institutes also operate abroad (in Rome, Athens and Damascus) focusing primarily on the fields of humanistic and cultural research and cooperation.

The Danish Centre for Culture and Development (DCCD) promotes international cultural collaboration between Denmark and the developing countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Middle East.

The Danish Embassies / Danish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and foreign missions are actively involved in promoting Danish art and culture as part of their public diplomacy efforts.

Cultural Contact Point Denmark (CCPD) is part of the European network of cultural contact points charged with informing and advising on the EU Culture programme (2007-2013). The Danish Ministry of Culture established CCPD to promote the cultural framework programme of the European Union for the previous period 2000-2007 and with that the participation of Danish cultural bodies in cross-national cultural collaboration. Cultural Contact Point Denmark takes part in a network of similar Cultural Contact Points in all EU, EU-candidate and EEA-countries, in order to assist in helping foreign cultural bodies and organisations seeking Danish partners for projects and networks. Cultural Contact Point Denmark is governed by the Danish Agency for Culture (see chapter 8.1.2).

The Council of Municipalities (LGDK, Kommunernes Landsforening) and, to a high degree, the municipalities themselves are important actors. Increasing European integration implies that Danish legislation and activities of the local authorities are affected by decisions made in the EU. Consequently, the EU Office of LGDK represents the association at the Council of Europe, EU and the global union of local authorities, with the purpose of indicating Danish local governments' interests and positions as to the EU, including the following: the global union of local authorities UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments), the European section of CEMR (Council of European Municipalities and Regions) and the EU Committee of the Regions. The work in the Committee of the Regions ensures that LGDK is informed and gains knowledge of future EU moves, thereby helping it to be prepared in advance of discussions at the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. LGDK is also a member of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities which is part of the Council of Europe, in line with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Committee of Ministers and the European Court of Human Rights.

The major instruments used in international cultural relations are co-operation treaties (EU, the Nordic Council of Ministers, UNESCO, WTO etc.). Co-production agreements on specific areas (e.g. film co-productions in EU and the Nordic Council of Ministers, see chapter 3.4.3) are also used. Finally, all the cultural institutions directly or indirectly funded and regulated by the state i.e. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts (Statens Museum for Kunst), The National Museum of Denmark (Nationalmuseet), the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (Det Kgl. Danske Kunstakademi) and other advanced educational institutions of Arts and Culture, Denmark's Radio (Danmarks Radio), Central Libraries etc. are obliged to cooperate and develop international cultural relation on a Nordic, European and global scale.

A major development in trans-national co-operation in the field of cultural education and training and other fields of international cultural cooperation in recent years has been a change from a Nordic focus to a European one - especially after the wall came down in 1989 and the inclusion of new member countries in the EU in 2006.

It's difficult to assess the trends in public financial support for international cultural co-operation in Denmark because it is calculated in the general budgets of the institutions. However, the international cooperation of the institutions has increased in recent years thanks to a higher priority in the performance contracts with the institutions and special initiatives taken by the Ministry of Culture.

The International Cultural Panel

The role of the International Cultural Panel is to coordinate the activities of all those Danish institutions involved in international cultural exchange and cooperation. The aim is to further communication and networking between the Danish and international key actors in order to strengthen the Danish arts and brand Denmark as a cultural nation.

The panel is presided by The Ministry for Culture and made up of representatives from the above-mentioned bodies as well as from the Danish Ministry for Economics and Business Affairs and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

The International Cultural Panel acts according to the Danish Government’s strategy on cultural exchange (pdf) (can be downloaded from

(Read more about the organisation of international work:;;

Chapter published: 04-06-2013

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