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The Finnish National Gallery started operating as a foundation at the beginning of 2014, with funding from the National Lottery.


A new government programme focuses on participation by children and youth in cultural services including a new national promotion centre for children's culture and arts education.

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Finland/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate  

4.3 Other relevant issues and debates

The Ministry of Education and Culture decided to evaluate the structure, functions and activities and of the Finnish National Gallery (FNG) in 2010. Since 1990 the FNG has been a fully state-owned institution consisting of four operative components, Ateneum Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art (Kiasma), Sinebrychoff Museum of Foreign Art and the Central Art Archives. The evaluation was carried out by a panel consisting of five leading foreign art museum experts, and one Finnish expert who is a member of the Supreme Administrative Court. According to the report, the biggest challenges of the FNG were related to the organisational and functional structures of the umbrella institution. All three museums were functioning well in general; however the day-to-day routines and activities were not supported and recognised enough on a strategic level. The panellists were of the opinion that the managerial and administrative level of the organisation is excessive in relation to the FNG's size and role as a state agency.

In 2011, inspired by the proposals of the international expert group, the Ministry of Education and Culture set up a working group to plan and execute the transformation of the FNG into a foundation-based entity. This has been stated as a central cultural policy objective in the current government programme of 2011-2015. A new law on the administrative structure has taken effect and the foundation-based organisation of the FNG started operations in January 2014 with funding from the National Lottery. The cuts in the funds available to other cultural activities receiving funds on a discretionary basis from the lottery pool were estimated to amount to EUR 20 million per annum. This would have meant significant cuts in activities especially for the two other national cultural institutions with contractual discretionary funding from the lottery, the National Theatre and the National Opera. However in 2013 the Finnish government decided to soften the blow on lottery funds by allocating to the FNG initial capital of EUR 10 million for 2014 and for the following two year period 2015-2016. There has been on average a 3.3% cut for organisations receiving lottery funding, excluding children's culture, organisations outside statutory government funding, grants and prizes and cultural journals. For the National Opera and the National Theatre the cut has been around 1%.

The National Library of Finland (NLF) is the oldest and largest scholarly library in Finland as well as one of the largest independent institutes at the University of Helsinki. It is responsible for the collection, description, preservation and accessibility of Finland's printed national heritage and has subsequently unique collections under its care. The National Library also serves as a national service and development centre for the library sector and promotes national and international cooperation in the field.

In March 2010, the Ministry of Education nominated an international expert panel to evaluate the operations and prerequisites of the National Library of Finland. The panel had three members, two internationally renowned library directors and one Finnish expert well-versed in the operations of Finnish universities and the Finnish research system.

The aim was to evaluate:

  • the quality and impact of the National Library services and operations in terms of information society, the academic community, the library sectors and other clientele;
  • the effectiveness of the steering, financing and management of the National Library as part of the University of Helsinki and as an institution performing national duties subject to performance steering by the Ministry of Education; and
  • in addition, the assessment was assigned to pay particular attention to the strategic choices and organisation of the National Library, to the challenge of preserving and making available the national cultural heritage, and to the challenges of future digital and networked information environments.

The Panel noted first that over the past decade the NLF has successfully assumed a central role in developing the national information infrastructure, which serves all library sectors and effectively faces the challenges of the growing impact of the digital information library. However, as the relative importance of digital information keeps growing, efforts are needed to cope with new demands.

The Panel made some further recommendations pertaining to the development of the dialogue between stakeholders. It also discusses thoroughly the present state and future development plans of the National Digital Library project, which is reviewed in chapter 4.2.11. The Panel expressed also its worry that the project might not receive funding for a sufficiently long time period and suggests that lobbying should be done to have the NDL included as an important strategic sector in the Policy Programme of the government appointed after the 2011 Parliamentary elections.

Chapter published: 16-07-2018

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