The cultural NGO sector has grown dynamically in the last twenty years. Such growth resulted in the establishment of an “independent cultural sector” and contributed to the separation of “institutional” (government subsidised) and “independent” culture (that at the start of the 2000’s was subsidised mostly by foreign sources) (see also chapter 7.3). The number of cultural associations has been increasing continually in the last two decades, although in the last couple of years this increase has been slowing down. For example, according to data from the Government Office for Associations in February 2001 there were a total of 18 981 associations; 2 174 of which were in the cultural field. Ten years later, this number has more than doubled: in October 2011 the total number of associations was 44 463, while the number of cultural associations was 6 552 (Web Database Registry: http://184.108.40.206/RegistarUdruga/). Now, more than a decade later, this number is 8.912 cultural-related associations out of a total of 51.866 associations in Croatia (according to the Registry of Associations).
In the last decade, civil society organisations in arts and culture have been influencing cultural policy-making from the bottom up, thus resulting in policy innovations on the local and on the national level. An example of such an innovation at the local level is the establishment of the first civil-public partnership institution established in 2008 and is financed primarily by the City of Zagreb entitled POGON – Zagreb Centre for Independent Culture and Youth. On the national level, an example of the result of lobbying is the establishment of the Kultura nova Foundation which is dedicated mainly to the development of the independent cultural scene. The Ministry of Culture proposed the Law on the Kultura nova Foundation, passed by the Parliament in July 2011, with the Foundation fully operating since December 2012 (see chapter 6.4).
Cultural industries are an important part of the cultural policy system and are protecting their role and influencing cultural policy through their sector-specific professional associations, organisations and ad hoc networks (see chapter 3.5).