Table 2: People who participated in or attended a certain cultural activity during the last 12 months in Switzerland (in % of the population, over 3 available years)
|Activities heavily subsidised by the state|
|Theatre, Dance, Opera*||2018: 1.4 Mio. visits|
|Ballet or dance performance****||26%||2019: 26%|
|Library or media library****||43.9%||2019: 42.7%|
|Museums* / **||2018: 13.3 Mio. visits|
|Art Museums****||57%||2019: 53.5%|
|Monuments**** (Monument, historical or archaeological site)||70.1%||2019: 73.8%|
|Activities without large public subsidies|
|Festivals (Music, theatre, film, etc.)***||37.8%||2019: 46.5%|
|Cinema*||2019: 12.506 mio visits|
|Film Festivals*||2019: 621.200 admissions|
|Music concerts and Music Festivals*||2018: 5.5 Mio. Visitors|
|To read books not related to a profession or studies*** (at least one book per year)||78%||2019: 78%|
|To read books (total)*** (at least one book per year)||83%||2019: 83%|
|In digital format (Usually use), E-Books***||15%||2019: 25%|
|To read comics (total, without the French part (Romandie))***||2019: 16-17%|
|To read comics (only in the French part (Romandie))***||2019: 31%|
|To listen to music (Usually listen)***||2019: 96%|
|directly on the Internet***||2014: 56%||2019: 68%|
|Mobile phone***||2014: 45%||2019: 64%|
|use Spotify***** (Total population aged 15 and over)||2020: 31%|
|To watch television (Usually watch)*** Source: Federal Statistical Office: Kulturverhalten in der Schweiz Wichtigste Ergebnisse 2019 und Vergleich mit 2014 Link||2014: 134 minutes per day||2019: 119 minutes per day|
|TV streaming directly on broadcaster websites***** (Total population aged 15 and over)||2020: 35%|
|To watch Youtube***** (Total population aged 15 and over)||2020: 75%|
|To watch Netflix***** (Total population aged 15 and over)||2020: 35%|
|To listen to the radio*** Source: Federal Statistical Office: Kulturverhalten in der Schweiz Wichtigste Ergebnisse 2019 und Vergleich mit 2014 Link||2014: 100 minutes per day||2019: 92 minutes per day|
|Directly on the Internet|
|To play videogames*** Source: Federal Statistical Office: Kulturverhalten in der Schweiz Wichtigste Ergebnisse 2019 und Vergleich mit 2014 Link||2014: 55% of pop.||2019: 55% of pop.|
|Use Social Media***** (Young people 15-24; at least occasional use)|
|2014: 43%||2020: 82%|
|2014: 82%||2020: 34%|
* Federal Office of Culture: Taschenstatistik Kultur in der Schweiz 2020 Link
** Federal Statistical Office: Museumslandschaft und Museumsbesuche in der Schweiz: Entwicklung über 5 Jahre (2021) Link
***Federal Statistical Office: Kulturverhalten in der Schweiz Wichtigste Ergebnisse 2019 und Vergleich mit 2014 Link (Sample survey)
****Federal Statistical Office: Kulturverhalten – Besuch von Kultureinrichtungen und -anlässen, nach soziodemografischen Merkmalen (2021) Link
*****IGEM · Interessengemeinschaft elektronische Medien: IGEM-Digimonitor 2020 Link
Table 3: People who have carried out artistic activities in Switzerland in the last 12 months by type of activity, in % of total population
|Painting or drawing* (draw, paint, make sculptures or engrave)||21%||21%|
|Playing an instrument*||17%||18%|
|Music students (Children/Youth)**||2019: 296.000|
|Writing* (write poems, short stories, novels or a diary)||14%||15%|
|Creative work on the computer (graphic or musical)*||17%||15%|
|Rap / Poetry Slam||2%||2%|
* Federal Statistical Office: Kulturverhalten in der Schweiz Wichtigste Ergebnisse 2019 und Vergleich mit 2014 (S. 12) (Sample survey)
** VMS – Verband Musikschulen Schweiz: Bericht zur Statistik 2020 des VMS «Die Musikschulen der Schweiz in Zahlen» Link
The most important findings on the cultural behaviour of the Swiss population are summarised below (Source for all of the following data: Federal Office of Culture: Culture in Switzerland – Pocket Statistics (2019)):
Switzerland has a high number of visits to cultural institutions: over 70 per cent of the Swiss population visited at least one museum, concert, or monument in 2014, and just under half went to the theatre (47%). The proportion of people who regularly visit cultural institutions (more than three times a year) is around 20%. Most of this population group lives in cities and/or is young, and more highly educated citizens are more culturally active. There are also disparities in access to culture in the statistics. Almost 85% of the population are satisfied with their regional cultural offer, less so for rural inhabitants and young people. Half of the population (51%) do not have enough free time to attend cultural activities and a third of the population do not have enough financial means to do so. Almost 75% of the population indicates their cultural practices are linked with seeking a distraction, even though this doesn’t exclude the interest or curiosity for discovery that represents 80% of people surveyed.
In total, almost two-thirds of the population practice a creative activity. Almost a fifth of the people participating in these statistics enjoy amateur practices in photography, drawing, painting or music. Even if the number of people that practice their cultural activities is fewer than the number of people attending cultural events, they do so more frequently (at least once a week). These activities include singing, music, dancing, rap/slam jams or writing (including blogs). It remains a way of approaching culture that touches particularly young people from 15-29 years.
60% of Swiss citizens engage in volunteering within an association or organisation, whether it is sports, cultural associations related to cultural communities, or event-related organisation (choir, theatre, cinema, exhibitions). This participation can be singular or ongoing. One of Switzerland’s particularities is the number of amateur associations and the fundamental importance of such cultural participation. The biggest amateur associations are The Swiss Music Association (around 71 000 members), Swiss Choir Union (around 43 000), The Swiss Association of Amateur Theatre (around 27 000 members), the National Federation of Swiss Costumes (around 20 000 members), the Federal Association of Yodellers (around 18 000 members) and the Federal Society of the Orchestras (around 6 200 members).
Music is the most popular form of cultural practice and participation. Almost 95% of the population listen to music in private, and 70% go to concerts. On the practising side, 20% of the population sing, 17% make some sort of music and 9% dance. 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.
The favourite styles of music among the Swiss population are pop and rock, followed by classical music. Classical music events attract more people in the German part of Switzerland, French music in the French part and jazz, funk and country on the Italian part.
The music scene is very diverse, both in sounds and spaces, from small underground clubs to big concert halls, festivals, and operas. Switzerland has 13 full-time classical Orchestras, such as the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, and the Zürcher Kammerorchester.
According to the Swiss Federation of Music Venues and Festivals (PETZI), its 187 members are 60% clubs and 40% festivals, with 11 940 events in 2017 involving around 16 060 artists (69% Swiss artists) and attended by 2.6 million spectators.
The 42 members of the Swiss Music Promoters Association (SMPA) organised 1 900 concerts, performances and festivals, with a total of 5.5 million spectators in 2018. In total, 3 300 artists participated, and 40% of them were Swiss. The total gain for the sector is CHF 382 million, involving around 22 500 volunteers and employing 374 full-time professionals.
An interesting statistic is the growing market for vinyl records, that has increased five-fold since 2013, with a total of 260 000 vinyls sold in 2017. Digital and streaming services have also gone up by a significant 97% from 2010 to 2017.
For more data see chapter 3.1.4
In 2018, 2073 films were shown in Swiss cinemas, with 11 740 410 tickets sold in 605 venues (around CHF 179 million of revenues). Swiss films make up 8.5% of the cinema product, with 745 548 tickets sold (including productions where Switzerland was a minority participant). There were also 17 main film festivals that operated in 2017, with 630 000 spectators and over 2 500 films participating. There are many small and medium cinemas that are spread in the regions and have a diverse offer.
Regarding home-entertainment, in 2017 the market generated CHF 180 million, from which 87.3 million came from DVDs or physical objects. This number has dropped off by 24.3% between 2016 and 2017. Digital sales (VoD or electronic sell-through) have risen, with a benefit of CHF 92.7 million generated, against CHF 79.5 million in 2016. With 93% of the population having access to the Internet, these digital trends have to be more closely examined.
Theatre, Dance, and Opera
There are many spaces in Switzerland to host theatre, dance and opera performances, from small spaces to festivals.
During 2018 the biggest professional Swiss theatres hosted 6 400 performances (on-site and touring). These events brought 1.5 million spectators. The Zürich Opernhaus is the most visited theatre, with 245 517 spectators, followed by the Basel Theatre (180 766), St-Gall Theatre (155 740), the Zürich Schauspielhaus (147 484), the Bern Konzert Theatre (130 066) and the Luzern Theatre (73 684). Subventions from public funds to professional theatres were CHF 334 million during the 2017/2018 season. These theatres usually have their own troupes and buildings. For smaller and independent scenes, some cities make theatres available.
Dance and theatre festivals play an important role, facilitating exchanges, diversity and different formats to come together. A study from the Bern University in 2010 identified 380 different spaces where independent opera, theatre, and dance performances took place and attracted 1.7 million spectators.
In 2018, the 535 amateur theatre associations from the Zentralverband Schweizer Volkstheater gave around 4 300 performances, which hosted 712 000 spectators.
Books, e-Books, and Comics
In 2014, 83% of the population has read at least one book in the previous year; almost 30% read more than a book per month. Women from tertiary education and the group of 15-29 year olds read the most.
In 2017, around 804 libraries held 85 million physical media, 7 376 journals, and 23 052 e-Books in Switzerland. These libraries had 1.4 million active users, who borrowed almost 44.5 million items. In 2018, more than 10 262 books (titles) were published in Switzerland: 41.2% in English, followed by 34.3% in German, 17.5% in French and 2% in Italian. Around 15 million books were bought in German-speaking Switzerland, followed by French-speaking Switzerland with 10 million copies, of which 80% are imported books.