In the Czech Republic there are two types of contributory organisation: organisations established by the state and governed by Act No. 218/2000 Coll. on Budget Rules and on Changes to Some Related Acts as Amended; and organisations established by a regional authority in line with Act No. 250/2000 Coll. on the Budget Rules of Regional Budgets and Act No. 129/2000 Coll. on the Regions, as Amended, or organisations established by a town in conformity with Act No. 128/2000 Coll. on Municipalities as Amended.
Czech public cultural institutions, and foremost among them the Association of Professional Theatres, has long been advocating for the introduction of an act on public (non-commercial) institutions in culture. This legislation is meant to address the much-discussed problems of contributory organisations in the arts.
The management of existing cultural contributory organisations of the state and of the municipalities is basically defined in political terms. Within Europe only Slovakia has organisations that are similar in legal form to the Czech contributory organisations. This is because this legal form of organisation originated within the legal system of state-socialist Czechoslovakia. It frequently happens that directors of organisations are removed and replaced without any professional justification for doing so, and this is because these organisations do not have their own governing boards.
Since the mid-1990s, the transformation of organisations under state and municipal control has been a recurring topic. On the level of the local authorities, the municipalities changed the status of their publicly owned organisations to public benefit organisations, i.e. to independent bodies that receive public grants, and this is the only possible and suitable form for a bigger non-profit organisation according to valid legislation in the field of culture, such as theatres, philharmonic orchestras etc. This transformation is most visible in the capital city of Prague. The first period of the transformation of theatres from municipal organisations established in Prague was finished in 2004. These included 4 theatres, two of which became public benefit organisations and two became limited companies. Four-year grant contracts were made with all entities, but when they expired, it became apparent how fragile the independence of theatres can be.
The Ministry of Culture transformed the Prague Spring International Music Festival into a public benefit organisation, of which it is co-founder. Since 2006, according to the Act on Some Kinds of Support, the MC is able to make decisions on the division, integration, or merging of current state-managed organisations or on their cancellation. The MC’s most recent mergers involved the merging of Laterna Magika with the National Theatre on 1 January 2010, and on 1 January 2012 the Prague State Opera was merged with the National Theatre. On 1 January 2019 the Valach Museum of Nature (Valašskémuzeum v přírodě) had its name changed to the National Museum of Nature (Národnípřírodnímuseum), which also assumed administrative responsibility from the National Heritage Institute for three open-air museums.
The MC currently administers 29 state organisations, 16 of which are museums and monuments, 2 are galleries, 3 are libraries, 4 are arts institutions, and 3 have some other focus. All of these state organisations have the legal status of contributory organisations.