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Netherlands/ 2. General objectives and principles of cultural policy  

2.2 National definition of culture

As is also the case with most other European countries, the Netherlands has no national definition of culture. In 2012, the working group called the European Statistical System Network on Culture (ESSnet-Culture) presented a report concerning European statistical cooperation. With this report, ESSnet-Culture also aims to develop an international definition of culture (click here for the report).

In the Netherlands, the term "culture", as well as the terms "cultural sector" and "creative industry", can be interpreted in different ways. For example, there are several definitions of the term "creative industry". In a broad sense it is used to indicate the cultural sector as a whole; the narrow definition refers to commercial design disciplines (the applied arts), sometimes also including the media and film, or pop and dance. In most cases, the term "cultural sector" is used to indicate the sector as a whole, including:

  • Arts and cultural heritage. Visual arts, performing arts, amateur arts, arts education, museums, historic buildings, landscapes and sites, archaeology, archives, libraries, literature.
  • Media and entertainment. Broadcasting, (publishers of) printed and other media, bookshops, cd and dvd shops, film and photography.
  • Creative commercial design disciplines (applied arts). Graphic and industrial design, architecture, urban development, landscape design, fashion, e-culture, gaming.

The Department of Education, Culture and Science has commissioned Statistics Netherlands (CBS) to elaborate a proposal for a culture satellite account, in order to develop a coherent framework for gathering and analysing statistical information on the economy of culture.

Chapter published: 07-03-2017

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