Denmark/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates
4.2.8 Social cohesion and cultural policies
One of the main priorities in the new governmental programme A Denmark That Stands Together, amended in October 2011, combined with the governments initiative under the Danish Presidency of the EU, January – July 2012 (see chapter 3.4), is to improve a more open identity and integration policy and strengthen social cohesion of non-ethnic defined terms of citizenship (see chapter 4.1).
Social cohesion at national and local level is an underlying consideration in most major parts of Danish cultural policy and in the general political debate in Denmark. Almost every Danish Minister of Culture has put special emphasis on the common Danish cultural heritage as a way of understanding oneself as a people - and as means to meet other cultures with an open mind in an ever more globalised and multicultural world. Today, one of the overall aims in Danish cultural policy is to revitalise Danish cultural heritage and to stimulate and consolidate Danish culture and identity (see chapter 4.1). Besides cultural heritage, social cohesion is also a topic in recent cultural politics regarding art and sports initiatives taken by the Danish Ministry of Culture.
An explicit policy in the field of social cohesion has yet not been formulated, but new initiatives have social cohesion as an underlining theme:
- several initiatives have been taken to strengthen the promotion of the cultural heritage in Danish museums. Free entrance is provided for children and young people in all officially recognised museums, as well as in the National Museum and in the collection of the Museum of Art. This increased the total number of visitors, in 2006, to the two national museums, by 27% and 57% respectively and the statistics show the number of visitors is still rising. The purpose of free entrance has been to attract the attention of a group of visitors who wouldn't normally visit museums. Also, the government has set aside 40 million DKK a year for communication initiatives of the museums. The figure was set in 2007 and has been on the Budget since.
- a new strategy Culture for All was launched in January 2010 to strengthen culture outside the Danish capital. The purpose is also to focus on culture as a coherent factor in the local and regional environment in provincial municipalities and towns (see chapter 4.1). The strategy focuses especially on non-users (ikke-brugere); this includes the new Danes actively in cultural policy for the first time. The goal is to create social cohesion for all groups in society by creating more possibilities and openness for those who do not use the cultural institutions.
- Sports are also a part of the initiatives by the Danish Ministry of Culture that are developed to create a stronger sense of social cohesion. In 2009, a report on sports "Idræt for alle" was launched. It includes a wide range of suggestions to the sports world on how to incorporate children and the youth who normally do not do sports.
- The libraries also play a significant role, especially by inclusion of new Danes. Since 2008, libraries have had the opportunity to start state financed community centres in areas with a high degree of new Danish citizens.
Chapter published: 10-04-2012