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Sweden/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and civil initiatives  

8.4.2 Cultural houses and community cultural clubs

Cultural houses of various sorts are maintained by many Swedish municipalities. These often include public libraries (which exist in all Swedish municipalities), theatres and other local cultural institutions. Other cultural houses are maintained by the municipalities for leisure activities for young people (fritidsgårdar). New and larger cultural houses, concert halls, and art galleries have been built in recent years by relatively large municipalities, such as Helsingborg and Karlstad, in small communities, like Hässleholm, Vara, Mariefred, and Skärhamn, as well as in suburbs of major cities, e.g. the Centre for Cultural Diversity in Botkyrka (Stockholm) and the Dream House in Rosengård (Malmö).

Three major national associations are supported by the national government to maintain cultural houses and other similar facilities throughout the country: Folkets Hus och Parker, Våra Gårdar and Bygdegårdarnas Riksförbund. All three have a background in the popular movements that arose in the late 19th century. The largest of the three is Folkets Hus och Parker, an organisation maintaining about 900 venues all over the country. It has close ties to other organisations sharing its origins in the labour movement.

Another major organisation is The Swedish Local Heritage Federation (Svenska Hembygdsförbundet), representing 1 973 clubs all over the country, often maintaining their own houses. It focuses mainly on preserving local cultural heritage in the form of immaterial heritage as well material heritage, such as for example local buildings and private museums. In small towns and villages, such facilities often play a significant role in local social and cultural life.

Chapter published: 16-05-2017

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