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Switzerland/ 8.2 Cultural consumption and participation  

8.2.1 Trends and figures

The latest study on cultural activities in Switzerland provides a valuable insight into the cultural behaviour of the Swiss population. The most important findings are summarised below (Source: 2010 Statistical Yearbook, Federal Statistical Office):

Visiting historical monuments and going to concerts or the cinema were among the most frequent cultural activities in 2008. Around two thirds of the population take part in these activities. Young people attend of cultural events more frequently than older citizens – this predominance is more evident in the case of the cinema and festivals. More highly educated citizens are more culturally active. Income also plays a significant role in most activities. Cultural activities are more frequent in urban areas than in rural ones. Cultural activities are in the first instance pursued out of active interest (68%) and secondly for the sake of entertainment (60%). As regards amateur cultural activities (that is, activities undertaken on a regular basis and with an artistic ambition), photography, the visual arts, and playing a musical instrument are mentioned most frequently. Photography attracts young men in particular, while women are more involved in the visual arts.


The favourite styles of music among the Swiss population are pop and rock, followed by classical music. With regard to concerts, classical music events attract the most visitors by a narrow margin. Persons aged below 30 in particular attend music events. Concerts are generally popular (two thirds of the population attend concerts). Almost 60% would like to attend concerts more frequently. Factors preventing them from doing so include time and money. Family reasons are often mentioned by women. 41% of the population consciously listen to music every day in the privacy of their homes, still predominantly on the radio (or on television). The younger the listeners, the more frequently they use newer media, like the Internet or MP3 players. Four out of five 15 to 19 year-olds use an MP3 player. Almost every second person has attended music lessons for at least a year at some time in their life. Today, however, only every fifth person plays an instrument. Persons under the age of 30 play an instrument more frequently (28%) than those aged 60 or over (13%). The most favourite instruments include the piano and guitar, with women playing the piano more frequently, and men the guitar. Most people play music on their own; only 37% of those playing music do so in the company of others.


63% of the Swiss population go to the cinema at least once a year. Age, education, and income are keys in this respect: persons aged 15 to 24 go the cinema most. Among persons with a higher education, 24% went to the cinema more than six times in 2008 (compared to 6% of those who had completed level one secondary school education). A similar situation applies when the analysis is based on household incomes: 57% of the population with a low income did not go the cinema in 2008, compared to only 25% with a higher income. Persons living in urban areas go to the cinema much more regularly than those living in the country. 40% of the population would like to go to the cinema more often. Factors preventing them from doing so include time, start times of screenings, costs, and the family or social environment. The latter is referred to more often by women than men (24% and 17% respectively). For more highly educated persons, time is a key factor. Cost reasons, however, are mentioned, especially by young people.

Video films, DVDs, or films watched via Video on Demand (VoD) were viewed by almost 60% of the population in 2008. The cinema audience and the audience watching videos, DVDs or films via VoD are overlapping increasingly: the majority of persons who do not go the cinema do not watch videos either. Those going to the cinema also watch video films most frequently. Persons living in rural regions not only go the cinema more rarely but also watch far fewer videos, DVDs or films via VoD.

Chapter published: 13-11-2014

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