Sweden is a unitary state with certain autonomy for local and regional governments guaranteed by its Instrument of Government (one of its Fundamental Laws). In total, the national government provides 45 percent of public expenditure on culture. The main actors in Swedish cultural policy on the national level include the following:
The Parliament (Riksdagen) legislates and decides on the national budget, including the general policies, and provisions for government agencies (including some of the major cultural institutions). The national government’s principal responsibility within cultural policy is proposing legislation and the national budget, as well as co-ordinating and long-term planning of cultural policy via the appropriate ministries and related bodies. The national government is elected by parliament, which is also responsible for the national budget and for legislation. Most of the practical work of the national government is carried out by government agencies. These receive formal instructions decided in government decisions within a framework decided by parliament.
The Ministry of Culture is responsible for the arts, cultural heritage, media, national minorities, civil society, sports, and democracy. It prepares government bills concerning these areas, and co-ordinates government agencies. More than 40 government agencies report to the Ministry of Culture. The main agencies dealing with cultural policy are described in this chapter. Government agencies responsible to the Ministry of Culture include many of the more than 30 museums financed directly by the state. Directly responsible to the Ministry of Culture is also The Royal Opera and The Royal Dramatic Theatre. Through its grants to regional governments, the state supports a large number of regional museums, theatres and other cultural institutions (web page).
The Ministry of Education and Research is responsible for education on all levels, including cultural education and education in the arts (web page).
The Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation is responsible for supporting business and innovation in various sectors, including the cultural and creative industries.
The Swedish Arts Council (Kulturrådet) is a government agency reporting to the Ministry of Culture. Its principal task is to implement national cultural policy. The Council is responsible for:
- the allocation of state cultural funding to theatre, dance, music, literature, arts periodicals and public libraries, and to the fine arts, museums and exhibitions;
- providing the Swedish government with the basic data it needs to make cultural policy decisions, by evaluating state spending in the cultural sphere, etc.;
- providing information on culture and cultural policy; and
- approving regional cultural policies before allocating national funding to the regional level (web page).
The National Heritage Board (Riksantikvarieämbetet) is a government agency reporting to the Ministry of Culture. It serves as Sweden’s central administrative agency in the area of cultural heritage and historic environments. Among its activities are initiatives to protect the historic environment, preservation, conservation, interagency coordination, and the accumulation, and dissemination, of information in these areas. Since 2017, the National Heritage Board also has responsibility for coordinating and developing museums and museum policy (web page).
The National Public Arts Council (Statens konstråd) is responsible for buying contemporary art to display in various premises of the government and government agencies, including universities, county administrative boards and courts. The National Public Arts Council also co-finances non-governmental partners for artistic contributions to housing areas, schools and public places, and even the traffic environment.
The Swedish Agency for Cultural Policy Analysis (Myndigheten för kulturanalys) was established in 2011 to gather information on the arts and culture, follow relevant research, analyse information and evaluate cultural policy. It is also responsible for statistics within the area of cultural policy. It reports biannually to the government (web page).
The Royal Library (Kungliga biblioteket) is a government agency reporting to the Ministry of Education. It is responsible for the national library of Sweden, collecting all works published in the country, as well as a number of other categories of relevant material and media. It is also responsible for official statistics and coordination regarding public libraries in Sweden. On these issues, The Royal Library reports to the Ministry of Culture (web page).
The Sámi Parliament (Sametinget) is an elected body acting as a representative body for the Sámi people in Sweden. The Sámi Parliament supports professional skills development, as well as Sámi culture and language. The role of the Swedish Sámi Parliament is regulated in Swedish law and financed through the Swedish national budget. Similar Sámi parliaments also exist in Norway and Finland (web page).
The Swedish Film Institute (Svenska Filminstitutet, SFI) is a government funded foundation responsible for the promotion, support and development of Swedish film, the allocation of grants for the production, distribution and exhibition of Swedish films, and the promotion of Swedish cinema abroad (web page).
The Swedish Institute (Svenska Institutet, SI), together with the Swedish Arts Council, is responsible for supporting and initiating activities promoting international cultural exchanges (see also 1.4.1) (web page).
The Swedish Media Council (Statens Medieråd) is a government agency founded in 2011, when the National Board of Film Classification was merged with former Swedish Media Council. Its objectives include reducing the risk of harmful media influences on minors and empowering minors as conscious media users.
The Swedish Performing Arts Agency (Statens musikverk) is a government agency for the support of music and performing arts. It was founded in 2010, gathering a number of preexisting organizations, including the Museum of Performing Arts (Scenkonstmuseet), the Swedish Music and Theatre Library, and the record label Caprice Records.
Swedish Television (Sveriges Television, SVT) is the Swedish public service TV broadcaster. It is organized as a public limited company, and funded by a special tax on personal income. Together with the other two public broadcasters, Swedish Radio (Sveriges Radio) and Swedish Educational Broadcasting Company (Sveriges Utbildningsradio), it is owned by an independent foundation. The foundation’s board is appointed by the national government and consists of 13 representatives of the political parties in the Riksdag. The foundation in turn appoints the members of the SVT board.
The Arts Grants Committee (Konstnärsnämnden) (web page), The Authors’ Fund (Författarfonden) (web page), and The National Public Arts Council (Statens konstråd) are agencies responsible for various kinds of grants to support authors and other artists.