Print this Page
Print this Page

Denmark/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.4 Direct professional co-operation

Numerous Danish cultural and art institutions, artists' associations and regional administrations are engaged in international cultural exchange and in the presentation of Danish culture abroad. Most importantly, artists, curators and cultural institutions from all branches of the arts cultivate contacts and networks abroad, resulting in performances and exhibitions, as well as invitations to foreign artists to visit Denmark.

In June 2010 a report on the government's strategy on promoting Danish arts and culture internationally was launched. The goal is to develop Danish art and culture, increase knowledge on Danish culture abroad and promote dialogue between Danish culture and other countries' cultures. The government wants to promote Danish art and culture and make sure that it is a part of the global art and culture scene. It is also part of a strategy to promote Denmark in general abroad with an export- economic perspective.

In addition to artists' fees, private donations and corporate sponsorships, government funding is made available to artists who engage in international cultural exchanges. The Danish Arts Council (Kunstrådet) provides financial support for the promotion of Danish literature, music, performing arts and visual arts, and awards grants on application to support activities such as the participation of Danish artists in events abroad, translations of Danish literature, and visiting programmes for artistic or cultural representatives from abroad. The Danish Arts Council also supports the presentation of significant foreign art in Denmark.

The Danish Arts Councils grant-programme for artists-in-residence is called DIVA and supports foreign artists in the visual arts, music, performing arts and literature, invited by Danish culture and arts institutions to stay and work and exhibit in Denmark. The aim is to strengthen Danish art by this international exchange and each year 25-30 foreign artists visit Denmark as part of the programme. In 2012 the programme was allocated 2 million DKK by The Danish Arts Council (see chapter 8.1.1).


The Danish Arts Council's Committee for Literature provides support for the following international purposes:

  • translation of Danish literature into foreign languages. Foreign publishing houses may apply for grants. Translators may also acquire travel bursaries;
  • sample translations of extracts from Danish literature with a view to publication abroad. Translators and foreign publishers may apply for grants; and
  • exchange schemes. Support is provided to enable Danish authors to participate in literary festivals etc. abroad. Visits by foreign authors to Denmark for the same purposes may also be supported. The event organisers etc. may apply for grants covering fees and travel and accommodation expenses.


The Danish National Library Authority plays an active part in international cooperation within the field of libraries, documentation and information. The Authority also plays an active role in the work of a number of international organisations, as well as participating in several networks where dialogue and cooperation can provide inspiration for continuous development of the Danish library system - i.e. IFLA, LIBER, NORON and NAPLE. International initiatives within the Danish National Library Authority are, among others, the following:

  • the Authority arranges a number of study visits for foreign librarians each year; as well, Danish librarians travel abroad to visit foreign libraries;
  • the director general and members of the staff regularly participate in international conferences and present specific experiences from the Danish library world; and
  • The Knowledge Exchange Office is situated in Copenhagen and was established together with four related organisations in other EU-countries. The aim of The Knowledge Exchange Office is to develop closer working relationships between the key national agencies and bodies within Europe that are responsible for the development of infrastructure and services to support the use of ICT within tertiary education and research.

Visual arts

The Danish Arts Council's (Kunststyrelsen´s) Committee for International Visual Art (Det internationale billedkunstudvalg) realises international activities in the field of the visual arts and provides international information on Danish visual arts. The Committee for International Visual Art: 

  • selects Danish artists for exhibition in the Danish pavilion at the Venice biennale;
  • selects Danish artists for exhibition at the Sao Paulo biennale;
  • selects, on the basis of applications, Danish artists for the Committee's residency programmes in Los Angeles, New York, Berlin, Istanbul and Cuba;
  • selects, on the basis of applications, foreign artists for the Danish Arts Council's residency programme in Denmark, DIVA; and
  • initiates new joint projects with international partners.

Furthermore the Danish Arts Foundation's (Statens Kunstfond´s) Committee for Visual Arts (Billedkunstudvalget) provides grants to individual artists for international purposes.


The film agreement from 2010 covers the period 2011-2014. Three new elements have emerged: Globalisation, digitalisation and economic considerations. In terms of globalisation, it is recommended that Danish films will be even more active and constructive on the international film scene - at the same time as the need is identified to continue producing films in Danish targeted at the Danish public. Digitalisation is seen as an opportunity in terms of production and distribution, but the agreement is attentive towards challenges that these processes pose to Danish cinemas. Danish film faces constant competition from abroad and the agreement sees this as an opportunity to develop new business models. The challenge is in striking a good balance between private capital, contributions from the TV stations and public support from the Danish Film Institute.

The main points of the film agreement 2011-2014 are:

  • Sound and sustainable environment for film production. The Danish Film Institute is supposed to support 60-75 feature films that have a Danish main sponsor. The films are supposed to be in Danish (4-8 are allowed to be aimed at an international public). During this period, 120-140 documentaries are to be supported. The TV stations are also active in financial contributions to Danish films. The model is therefore that the Danish film Institute and a TV station (DR or TV2) are supposed to ensure that the major part of financing comes through these institutions.
  • Flexible and adaptable support system. The Danish Film Institute is supposed to give at least 673 million DKK to development, production and dissemination of feature films. The TV stations DR and TV 2 are supposed to contribute 53 million each. There are still two different support agreements, one for films with artistic qualities and one for films that have potential to attract large audiences.
  • Long-term investment in Danish talent. In total 147 million DKK will be allocated to developing talent.
  • Strengthening of Danish computer games. 20 million DKK will be allocated to developing Danish games as a viable alternative to foreign games. This will be done partly by continuing the Nordic Computer Games programme which is administered from the Nordic Council of Ministers.
  • Balancing the cinema sector. This is mainly a reaction to digitalisation. Smaller cinema theatres in particular are challenged by investing in tools to screen digital films in good quality and each cinema can receive assistance of 200.000 DKK.
  • Marketing of Danish film abroad. Danish films are a strong brand in the international film world and the film agreement puts focus on keeping this position.
  • Vivid and manifold film culture. The agreement wants to support a vivid film culture by for instance supporting film festivals in Denmark.

The Committee for Film and Theatre (Film- og scenekunstudvalget) and the Danish Art Foundation (Statens Kunstfond) support and stimulate individual film directors international exchange, studies etc. through travel grants etc.


  • The Danish Arts Council's (Kunststyrelsens) Committee for Music (Kunstrrådets Musikudvalg) works to support, consolidate and raise the profile of Danish musical life internationally, e.g. as co-ordinator and medium for a number of musical activities abroad.
  • Furthermore, the two Danish Arts Foundation´s (Statens Kunstfond´s), the Committee for Classical  Music (Tonekunstudvalget for den klassiske musik) and the Committee for Popular Music (Tonekunstudvalget for den rytmiske musik) support international cultural co-operation within the area of music for individual composers.
  • The Danish Arts Council's Music Committee has formulated an overall strategy and vision for international music exchange. The goal is to promote Danish music internationally, primarily rock and pop music, but also other genres. A new focus in this strategy is also to enhance management and marketing.
  • The organisation Music Export Denmark, or MXD (, has been supported by the Ministry of Culture since 2004 for international tours and projects within rock / pop, and organised Danish presentations in international rock / pop festivals and trade fairs. 
  • The Danish Rock Council (ROSA, Dansk Rock Samråd)promotes Danish rock music and related genres abroad and handles co-operation between the Danish and the international rock music scene. These networking activities are financed by the Danish Arts Council's Music Committee (Kunstrådets Musikudvalg). ROSA organises and participates in Danish music presentations abroad and international visits to Denmark by promoters, journalists and musicians.
  • The Danish Centre for Culture and Development (Center for Kultur og Udvikling) works to implement and support musical exchange projects between Denmark and the developing countries.

Performing arts

The Committee for Film and Theatre (Film- og Scenekunstudvalg) and the Danish Art Foundation (Statens Kunstfond) support and stimulate individual performing art directors to participate in international exchange, studies etc. through travel grants etc.

The Committee for the Performing Arts administrated by theDanish Arts Council (Kunstrådets Scenekunstudvalg) co-ordinates a number of international activities in the field of performing arts and provides support for guest performances by Danish theatrical companies abroad etc.

Cultural heritage

The International Council of Museums Denmark (ICOM) is the Danish national committee of the international museum organisation ICOM. The purpose of ICOM Denmark is to manage and facilitate communication between the Danish members and the international organisation.

ICOM Denmark cooperates with the Danish department of UNESCO.

Additional resources:

Mobility trends and case studies

Examples of mobility schemes for artists and cultural professionals in Denmark

Chapter published: 16-07-2018

Your Comments on this Chapter?