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Norway/ 7. Public institutions in cultural infrastructure  

7.2 Basic data about selected public institutions in the cultural sector

Cultural heritage: The Norwegian museum sector consists of approximately 119 different museum organisations running more than 500 small and large museum sites all over the country.

Visual arts: There are both public art galleries and art museums in Norway. Art galleries are mainly NGOs financed by one or several public bodies.

Performing arts: There is one large opera house and three large theatres in Norway with state funding. Further, there are 13 theatres with a combination of state, regional and local funding. All these theatres are large producing theatres with permanent staff. In addition to this, there are approximately 100 fringe theatres partly financed by the Arts Council Norway.

Libraries: Public libraries in Norway are owned and financed by the municipalities. The state funded National Library has a certain responsibility for the general development of libraries.

Audiovisual: Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation is the only state owned broadcasting organisation in Norway. It is financed mainly by a licence fee payable by anyone who owns or uses a TV or device capable of receiving TV broadcasts. 

Interdisciplinary: Most cities hold their own culture house primarily owned and financed by the municipality. Such culture houses may include a cinema and one or several stages for performing arts, art galleries, libraries or sport venues. In recent years many such houses has been built.

Table 8:     Cultural institutions financed by public authorities, by domain


Cultural institutions (sub-domains)

Number (2014)

(++ to --)

Cultural heritage

Cultural heritage sites (recognised)1




Museums (organisations)




Archives (of public authorities)



Visual arts

Public art galleries/exhibition halls




Art academies (or universities)3



Performing arts

Symphonic orchestras




Music schools4




Music/theatre academies
(or universities)3




Dramatic theatre




Music theatres, opera houses




Dance and ballet companies



Books and Libraries





Broadcasting organisations



Source(s): National budget 2015 (Prop. 1 S (2014–2015).

Notes: It is problematic to choose which and how many institutions can be included in such a list. The institutions chosen here are limited to those that the government holds a particular responsibility for. Domains not specified with numbers are a problem to separate.

1                 Only includes World heritage sites.
2                 Several museums have merged as part of a reform.
3                 Academies are founded by the ministry of education and research, and are often part of a university or college.
4                 Almost all 428 municipalities in Norway offer out of school music and art training due to legislation. However, some municipalities cooperate.
5                 There are several culture houses around Norway that are primarily owned by the municipalities. No exact number can be found.

Chapter published: 20-03-2017

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