COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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Netherlands/ 8.2 Cultural consumption and participation  

8.2.1 Trends and figures

Compared to other European countries, the Netherlands has a high level of cultural participation. In the Netherlands, 58% of citizens actively participate in culture, the fourth highest rate according to the European rankings.

Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands all score highly on the cultural index of the Eurobarometer, which measures how European Union citizens think and behave in the area of culture (click here for Eurobarometer 2013). As in most other European countries, overall cultural participation has declined since the economic recession in 2008.

The Netherlands Institute for Social Research, or SCP [Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau] conducts large-scale scientific research regarding social and cultural trends. The SCP operates as an interdepartmental government agency. At the request of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the SCP frequently reports on cultural affairs (click here for the English website). In its latest report (The Netherlands: Nation of Art-Lovers?), the SCP explores the interests, visits, stumbling blocks and experiences of Dutch citizens concerning the arts. The SCP divides the population into non-interested, interested non-visitors (potential audience), and visitors. Furthermore, it distinguishes two dimensions of art: canonised art forms (like opera, classical music, ballet and theatre) and popular art forms (like pop music, cabaret and film). The research shows that, generally speaking, more people in the Netherlands are interested in popular art forms than in canonised art forms (82% versus 53%) (see figure 1). However, not all people who say they are interested in art forms actually go to see a play or visit a museum. Interestingly, the percentage of people interested in culture who actually do visit cultural venues or attend performances hardly differs between the canonised art forms and the popular art forms (36% versus 34%). Overall however, popular art has a greater reach than canonised art (30% versus 19%). The interest in different art forms depends strongly on life phase, educational level, and the social environment.

Figure 1:   Interest in arts by the Dutch population (16 years and older) for 2009

Source:    SCP: "The Netherlands. Nation of art-lovers?" page 26 (2013).

The SCP also conducts an annual survey on the living conditions of the Dutch population. Participation in culture is one of the topics in the survey (see Table 5).

Table 5:     Participation of the Dutch population in culture and arts (18 years and older) for 2004-2012. Numbers indicate the percentage of population to have visited at least once in the last 12 months.

 

2004

2006

2008

2010

2012

Opera

6

6

5

6

4

Classical Music

19

19

17

20

18

Ballet

8

7

7

7

6

Theatre

25

28

28

29

27

Museum

44

49

47

50

48

Musical

25

27

26

26

24

Cabaret

22

24

25

25

22

Film

55

56

54

61

61

Pop music

25

27

31

29

27

Source:     SLI Index SCP.

In the period 2010-2012, cultural participation declined for all the sectors except for film (see Table 5). This is possibly the result of the economic recession.

Media

The use of media is the most dominant leisure activity of Dutch citizens. In 2012, the average use of media was approximately seven hours a day. With a share of 46%, watching television is the most popular medium, followed by the internet (30%) and the radio (28%); because these media forms can overlap, the total is more than 100%. On a daily basis, the Dutch population spends approximately 150 minutes watching TV, 99 minutes using the internet and 92 minutes listening to the radio (see figure 2).

Figure 2:   Media use in minutes on a daily basis (2012)

Source: TBO research (leisure activity) by SPOT.

During 25% of the time spent using media, consumers are multitasking – for example, reading a newspaper while the radio is on. Compared to the other media forms, television has the highest share of single-tasking users (for whom watching excludes other activities).

Obviously, not all television programmes are arts or culture-related. The Netherlands Public Broadcasting, or NPO [Nederlandse Publieke Omroep] is responsible for a large part of the cultural content on national television. The public broadcasters receive funding from central government to produce programmes that are independent in terms of content. Other requirements are a sufficient amount of pluriformity, quality and accessibility to a socially broad public (see chapter 4.2.6). Public broadcasters also have the legal task of broadcasting a certain number of programmes related to art and culture (see chapter 5.3.7 for information about the Media Act 2008). Every year, the NPO presents a report on the reach of its programmes (see Table 6).

Table 6:          Reach of cultural programmes NPO (2012)
Dutch population, aged six years and older

 

Reach (x1000)*

Average frequency**

Number of broadcasts

Number of contact moments*** (x1000)

Classical music

8 366

2.9

117

24 031

Popular Music

13 988

11.5

1 225

160 267

Art information

14 252

21.2

1 860

302 779

Source:     Cultuur in Beeld 2013, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and Stichting KijkOnderzoek.
*                 Reach: number of persons of six years or older who watched the programme for at least five minutes.
**              Average frequency: average number of times a programme in the referred category has been watched.
***            Contact moments: reach multiplied by average frequency.

As shown in Table 6, on average programmes featuring popular music have a larger reach than programmes featuring classical music. However, the number of programmes on popular music is ten times higher than those on classical music. In 2012, programmes about art information had the largest reach.


Chapter published: 19-03-2017

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