COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority phased out and the tasks reallocated.

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Norway/ 3. Competence, decision-making and administration  

3.2 Overall description of the system

Similar to the other Nordic countries, the Norwegian cultural policy is both centralised and decentralised. On the one hand, the basis for cultural policy is mostly provided by the state, although considerable responsibilities for the shaping and implementation of cultural policy are delegated to local and regional authorities. The national and municipal levels are the most important with respect to cultural expenditures, with the regional level playing only a modest role.

State level

At the state level, the decision-making apparatus is relatively complex. Considerable authority is centred in the political and administrative body of the Parliament, the government and the ministries. Formally, the main framework of cultural policy is determined by the Storting (the parliament), while the Ministry of Culture prepares documents for the Storting. All legal, financial, organisational and information means are applied in order to achieve political goals. However, the national budget is the most important instrument, with the Ministry of Culture maintaining the responsibility for a total budget of approximately NOK 12,5 billion (2015). The Ministry also administers gaming profits from Norsk Tipping AS, which are allocated to culture (18%), sports (64%) and other humanitarian purposes (18%). The total profit in 2014 was NOK 4.2 billion.

Other Ministries concerned with cultural affairs are the Ministry of Climate and Environment, which is responsible for cultural heritage (except museums, archives and libraries) and cultural environments. The Ministry of Education and Research is responsible for education, including artists' education, as well as music and culture schools for children. The Ministry of Education and Research is also responsible for academic libraries and university museums.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been given the responsibility for the presentation of Norwegian arts and culture abroad, including exchange projects with developing countries. Other ministries are also relevant to cultural policy, but play a more modest role. The Ministry of Finance plays a coordinating role in the budgetary process. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries has the responsibility for governing all types of business in Norway, including a role in the development of the various culture industries

A considerable amount of authority is also delegated to arms length institutions and expert bodies. Arts Council Norway is formally administered and financed by the Ministry of Culture, but it retains a largely independent position and is therefore characterised as an arms length institution. Each year, the Storting provides an overall allocation to the Cultural Fund, which is administered by Arts Council Norway as one of its principal tasks. In addition, the Arts Council acts in an advisory capacity to the central government and public sector on cultural affairs, as well as organising experimental cultural activities in areas which the Council considers to be of particular interest. In e.g. museum affairs, teh Arts Council holds responsibility for the development of museums involving allocating special grants for projects of museum development even though museums are directly funded by the Ministry of Culture. The National Library of Norway holds a similar position as an advisory body in the library field.

The Norwegian Film Fund is responsible for administering national support for film production in Norway. According to its statutes, the Film Fund shall also advise the Ministry for Cultural on film policy.

Other expert bodies such as The Language Council of Norway, KORO – Public Art Norway and The Norwegian Media Authority hold administrative, advisory, coordinative and development responsibilities in their own fields.

National institutions such as the Norwegian National Touring Theatre and Concerts Norway are responsible for the production of cultural offers.

Regional level

All 19 counties established cultural boards and administrations during the 1970s. These are independent regional and local cultural administrations responsible to the county councils. Since the 1990s, many counties have reorganised their cultural boards and administration, and integrated them into broader units, e.g. into regional development units.

The responsibilities of regional authorities include self-defined initiatives and subsidies for regional cultural activities and subsidies for regional institutions, which are partly state-funded and regulated by formal agreements on a shared responsibility.

Municipality level

Most municipalities also hold independent cultural boards and administrations, sometimes combined with other areas of policy such as business, leisure or education.

The responsibilities of local authorities include self-defined initiatives and subsidies for local cultural activities, including shared responsibility for cultural institutions. However, the most important areas of local cultural policy include local cultural schools, libraries as well as infrastructure for culture and sports.


Chapter published: 31-01-2017

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