1. Cultural policy system
Last update: November, 2020
The State Cultural Policy for 2015–2020 had 5 priority objectives:
- Supporting identity, cultural diversity, and intercultural dialogue.
- Developing creativity through support for cultural activities and the creation of cultural goods, the provision of cultural services, work with the public, support for access to culture, and advancing a participative culture to facilitate social integration.
- Preserving cultural heritage as an environment conducive to the development of creativity.
- The use of cultural heritage and cultural activities, services, and goods to develop the economy, increase competitiveness, and support mobility.
- Creating a more effective environment for the support of cultural activities, the provision of public cultural services, the development of cultural goods, and the conservation of cultural heritage.
The final vision of the future state of support for culture laid out in the State Cultural Policy for 2015-2020 (with a View to the Year 2025) was based on the presumed successful management of priorities, objectives, and measures laid out in the government’s official programme (government regulation no. 96 of 12 February 2014):
- state expenditures on support for culture will reach 1% of state budget expenditure;
- the cultural sector will not become the weak spot in society’s development in the sense of lagging levels of education and culture among the population and insufficient use of cultural heritage as a developmental resource in the global economic environment;
- a culturally diverse society will focus on fostering innovation and on using tangible and intangible cultural heritage in the framework of diverse social groups at the regional level and in local associations, while emphasising support for individual cultural expression;
- Czech culture will become an active agent in the European cultural space, international cultural cooperation will be promoted, and European and international awareness of Czech culture will increase;
- an understanding of culture will be promoted that sees it as an economic factor and an important component of the state’s economic policy. Art and culture and the use of cultural heritage through cultural and creative industries will be elements that have a dynamic and modernising effect on the sectoral structure of the national economy;
- there will be increased participation of citizens in cultural events, and private, public, and state institutions will contribute significantly to the support, organisation and funding of the development of cultural services;
- the state will universally support the influx of extra-budgetary resources into cultural life and will use economic, regional and tax policy to stimulate an active role for culture in the development of society;
- the state will support cultural values that lead to the cultivation of humanity, cooperation, compassion, and the sustainability of human society; support for education will play an essential role in this;
- new legislation in the field of heritage conservation will establish the foundations for the sustainable use of this area of national culture;
- the latest scholarly findings and information and communication technologies will be used towards protecting cultural heritage and facilitating access to culture;
- the cultural environment of communities, regions, and landscapes will be universally supported through the coordinated cultural and regional policy of the state and through tools of regional planning as the basic foundation of the quality of life of the population and the development of related economic activities;
- full use will be made of the resources of the operational programmes (most notably the Integrated Operational Programme, the Enterprise and Innovations Operational Programme and the Operational Programme Research, Development and Education) set up for this period.
In our modern history, the sector of culture has been closely tied up with the sector of schooling and education, and in this the Czech state is continuing a tradition that dates back to the time of the Austrian Monarchy (MinisteriumfürCultus und Unterricht). The Ministry of Education and National Enlightenment was founded on 14 November 1918 and existed by this name until 15 June 1942, when it changed its name to the Ministry of Education and Edification of the People. After 1945 the Ministry of Education and Enlightenment and the Ministry of Information became the authorities responsible for culture.
In the time of the First Republic, culture was primarily associated with enlightenment, which was pursued on the level of voluntary associations, not the state. Activities aimed at enlightenment were coordinated in Czechoslovakia at that time initially through the Enlightenment Union and from 1925 through the Masaryk Institute of Public Education (Masaryk ovalidovýchovnéhoústavu). At that time there was no state cultural policy, and it was only through legislation that the state exercised an influence on cultural (educational) activities. Some of the most important pieces of legislation in this area were the Act on Organising Civic Education Courses for the Public, the Act on Public Municipal Libraries, and the Act on Municipal Chronicles.
After the Second World War, the territory of Czechoslovakia, as it was then called, fell under Soviet influence. This was one of the main reasons why the Communists seized power for 50 years after the ‘February Revolution’ in 1948. In 1960, the state changed its name to the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. Methods of totalitarian power and economic problems sparked ever-growing resistance, which culminated in the Prague Spring of 1968 and general liberalisation in all fields including the field of culture. All these efforts were suppressed in August of the same year with the invasion of Warsaw Pact troops. This unsuccessful attempt at democratisation was followed by so-called normalisation after 1969, which can be described as a period in which all individuals and activities that were opposed to the Soviet occupation were persecuted by the state. Many important Czech figures in the fields of art and culture were persecuted at that time. At the beginning of the 1980s, pressure for democracy started to grow more intensively, which led to the ‘Velvet Revolution’ in November 1989. This process brought essential political, social, and economic changes to Czechoslovak society and changed the shape of culture in the Czech Republic (CR).
In 1993, the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic split into two independent states – the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic – after mutual agreement by both federations. The Czech Republic (CR) joined the European Union on 1 May 2004 following a referendum. Czechoslovakia was one of the founding members of UNESCO and, following the separation of Czechoslovakia the independent CR became a UNESCO member state in 1993.
Until 1989, there was a dense network of ideologically controlled and endowed cultural facilities – libraries, cultural centres and houses, cinemas, theatres, museums, monuments, observatories etc. This network was centralised in the 1950s and structurally reorganised in the 1970s.
At the beginning of the 1990s, this network underwent mass privatisation and denationalisation. All state institutions, such as book publishers and music industries, film studios, circuses, and art agencies, were privatised. Some state ideological cultural institutions were closed. State funds like the Czech Music Fund and others were transformed into foundations in conformity with the new Act on Foundations (see also chapter 7.2.2).
The denationalisation of cultural facilities was a very important step in the process of democratisation. This process is also very closely connected with the Territorial Reform of Public Administration in the CR. The Act on Municipalities released the local authorities from organisational subordination to the state and it allowed them to establish cultural institutions. Many cultural institutions – theatres in particular – were transferred to their jurisdiction from the state level.
The first stage of territorial reform ended with the establishment of new higher territorial units. These 14 regions were created on the basis of Constitutional Act No. 347/1997 Coll. The regions started operating on 1 January 2001, following the introduction of the Act on the Regions. In the second stage of reform of territorial public administration, dozens of museums, galleries, and libraries were transferred to the regions on the basis of the Act on the Transfer of Certain Objects, Rights and Liabilities of the Property of the CR.
The first strategic document in the field of culture was drawn up in 1996 for the Ministry of Culture of the CR in the form of a White Book – a study that clarified the relation of the state to culture and presented examples of cultural policies from other European countries. It also included a proposal for modernising the grant system of the Ministry of Culture.
The first government policy on culture in the history of the CR was ratified by Government Decree of the CR No. 401 of April 1999 and it was called the Strategy of Effective Cultural Support.
In 2001, the government issued Decree No. 40 approving the Cultural Policy in the CR 2001-2005. Provisions connected with the membership of the Czech Republic in the European Union and the reform of public administration ranked among the main topics of cultural policy.
In November 2008, the government issued Decree No. 1452 approving the National Cultural Policy 2009-2014. This is a document that focuses on understanding culture as a discipline in which it is useful to invest time, energy, and human and financial resources.
In January 2013, with the introduction of Resolution No. 7, the government adopted the Updated State Cultural Policy for 2013 and 2014, with a View to the Years 2015 to 2020. The update provides information about the discharge of individual tasks laid out under the state cultural policy, including tasks fulfilled or cancelled by Government Resolution No. 823/2011 on the updating of the Plan for the Implementation of the State Cultural Policy for 2009–2014.
In April 2015, the government passed Resolution No. 393, which acknowledges the State Cultural Policy for 2015-2020 (with a view to the year 2025). The Ministry of Culture drew up a plan for the policy’s implementation. In early 2020 work began on the preparation of a new state cultural policy.
Last update: November, 2020
Last update: November, 2020
The central body of state administration for the field of culture is the Ministry of Culture (MC). The scope of the MC is defined in Act No. 2/1969 Coll. on Establishing the Ministries and Other Central Administration Bodies of the CR. According to §8 of this Act, the MC is a central state administrative body for:
- cultural and educational activity;
- cultural monuments;
- matters relating to churches and religious societies;
- matters relating to the press, including publication of the non-periodical press and other information sources;
- the preparation of draft laws and other legal regulations in the area of radio and television broadcasting;
- implementation of the Copyright Act; and
- production and trade in the area of culture.
The MC processes cultural policy, prepares drafts of acts and other legal provisions in the field of culture, and carries out tasks connected with the negotiation of international treaties, with the development of international relations and cooperation and other duties that the CR has in meeting its obligations under international treaties and membership in international organisations.
The MC supports the arts, cultural activities, and the preservation of cultural heritage with grants and contributions from the ‘culture’ division of the state budget of the CR. It establishes 29 state-managed organisations (which are founded, managed, and supported by the state) and 1 public benefit organisation, which is the Prague Spring International Music Festival (an independent non-profit organisation, where the state and the city of Prague are co-founders).
There are two state funds that operate at the state level: from January 2013 - the State Cinematography Fund (previously known as the State Fund of the Czech Republic for the Support and Development of Czech Cinematography – now the Czech Film Fund) and the State Cultural Fund of the Czech Republic. Both are founded on the basis of legislation. Administration of the State Cultural Fund falls under the authority of the MC, which is responsible for the financial management of the fund’s resources. The Czech Film Fund is an independent institution, but the MC nonetheless retains influence over it by exercising certain functions such as appointing its director, members of the Supervisory Board, and experts.
Last update: November, 2020
The original 7 regions that were established along with districts in 1960 were cancelled in 1990. Fourteen regions were established on the basis of Constitutional Act No. 347/1997 Coll. on creating higher territorial units. The regions were created from 76 districts that were abolished when the regions were established, and they commenced activity on 1 January 2001.
The regions support the development of culture and establish regional libraries, museums and galleries, regional theatres, orchestras, and institutes of archaeological preservation from their budget. The regions also co-create the financial, conceptual, and legislative conditions for the development of culture in the region in line with the concepts of the government of the CR and recommendations of the Ministry of Culture.
Last update: November, 2020
Towns and municipalities act in line with the Act on Municipalities and they are responsible for the general cultural development and needs of their citizens. Some municipalities establish cultural institutions, especially municipal and local libraries, municipal galleries and municipal and local museums, theatres, orchestras, and other specialised cultural institutions. Many towns announce specialised tenders for the support of cultural projects. Some towns, especially the bigger ones, have their own cultural policy or strategy focused on the cultural and creative industries.
Last update: November, 2020
A key actor in the provision of cultural services is the non-profit sector and cultural policy is also of course shaped by civil society and initiatives in this field that have emerged over time in the CR.This sector has an influence on the transformation of the cultural policies of towns and it also influences cultural policy at the state level. The biggest influence is evident in the changes in grant and other support systems in the field of culture and in the establishment of advisory bodies and more.
In connection with the COVID-19 crisis, which had an especially severe impact on the cultural sector, the main professional associations have become very active, and new structures have emerged across fields that up to now had been disconnected – one example being the music sector. In response to the effects of the pandemic on culture the main objective has been to advance short-term and strategic measures designed to support and protect the sector, both at the state level and at the level of local self-government. The main players active in this response include the Association of Professional Theatres in the Czech Republic (Asociaceprofesionálníchdivadel ČR), the Association of Independent Theatres (Asociacenezávislýchdivadel) and the Czech Music Community (Českáobechudební), which is a platform for all the main music associations, copyright organisations, and groups across the entire music sector (see also chapter 7.2.4).
Last update: November, 2020
The Ministry of Culture (MC) cooperates with other ministries and with the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic (CR) to fulfil the goals of their cultural policy – be it representation in internal advisory bodies or intergovernmental groups. It also cooperates on legislative drafts and other documents from other bodies. The most frequent collaboration occurs among these bodies:
- Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS),
- Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT),
- Ministry for Regional Development,
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
- Ministry of Finance, and
- The Office of the Government.
Cooperation with the MEYS occurs mostly in the field of extracurricular children's and youth activities and in the field of education. In 2000 the MC and the MEYS established an Inter-Ministerial Committee for extracurricular artistic activities for children and youth, for education through art, for art and cultural heritage, and for education in the arts. The committee was cancelled after three years due to passivity on the part of MEYS. In 2011 cooperation was re-established. In September 2011 the Inter-Ministerial Discussion Forum on Education in the Arts and the Role of Cultural Organisations was organised by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs as a follow up to the outcome of the Second UNESCO World Conference on Arts Education in Seoul and Bonn. And in 2014 a round table was organised in cooperation with the Czech Committee of UNESCO on the subject Formal and Informal Education in the Arts and a round table on the Role of the Media in Education in the Arts (see chapter 5.1.).
In recent years deeper cooperation has been established with the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT) and in 2019 a Memorandum of Cooperation between the MC and MIT was signed for the purpose of creating and implementing strategies of development and support for the cultural and creative industries. The main aim of this memorandum was to contribute to the development of creativity in the field of culture and business and to increase the competitiveness of domestic cultural and creative industries through inter-ministerial instruments of support (see chapter 3.5.1).
The Council for Research of the Minister of Culture is a body that works under the Ministry of Culture and is composed of representatives nominated by the Research and Development Council, the Czech Academy of Sciences, the Council for Higher Education Institutions, and the Czech Rectors’ Conference. Its purpose is to fulfil the Inter-Ministerial Concept of Applied Research and Development on National and Cultural Identity from 2016 to 2022 in line with Government Resolution No. 1268 from 2013.
The MC closely collaborates also with the Ministry for Regional Development, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Ministry of Finance in the utilisation of finances from the Structural Funds and in planning for the next programme term.
The MC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs collaborate in the conclusion of international treaties and the implementation of plans for cultural agreements and in the preparation of big cultural events and shows. MC candidates are represented in the advisory bodies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; for example, when preparing the EXPO exhibition. The UNESCO department at the MC participates in activities of the Czech Committee for UNESCO at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Important partners of the MC include some advisory and working bodies of the government of the CR; their activity is overseen by the Office of the Government. These bodies include the Government Council for National Minorities, the Government Council for Non-Governmental Non-Profit Organisations, the Government Council for Human Rights and the Government Board for People with Disabilities. The MC also collaborates with regional and local authorities through their structures, like the Association of Regions of the CR and the Union of Towns and Municipalities of the CR. Regional and local authorities are the appeal body for strategic documents of the MC and they are represented in some advisory bodies of the Minister of Culture.
Last update: November, 2020
Since the beginning of the 1990s, the sphere of culture has undergone two fundamental changes: the decentralisation and the re-allocation of public responsibilities. The first period was about the privatisation of cultural industries that had been subordinated to the state until 1990 (film production, film studios, book production, and the music industries, etc). State circuses and variety shows were privatised as were other cultural institutions. The second period was linked to the territorial reform of public administration in the CR.
The MC established 82 state-funded organisations in 1998. By 2001 this number had decreased to 39 and there were only 29 such organisations in 2012, when the Prague State Opera and the National Theatre were merged. The majority of these organisations are libraries, museums, and galleries that were transferred to new regions and the state kept only those of national and international importance.
Alongside contributory organisations the culture sector is also largely made up of networks of private cultural institutions and organisations or associations with various types of legal subjectivity that are more or less dependent on public support. This infrastructure covers every area of culture.
In line with Civic Code No. 89/2012 Coll., private non-profit cultural institutions usually take the legal form of institutions, associations, public benefit organisations, foundations, endowment funds, and religious legal entities. The overall cultural infrastructure includes also cultural organisations oriented towards profit and other types of legal subjects such as public limited companies or limited liability companies. Nevertheless, other than the distinguishing feature of whether or not a given cultural institution receives support from public financial resources, there are no clear rules that determine what is or is not a for-profit organisation.
Last update: November, 2020
Data on cultural institutions are collected in statistical surveys by NIPOS, a state organisation. The most accurate data provided by statistical surveys are on the public sector. The information in Table 1 on the private sector had to be drawn from multiple sources given the considerable inaccuracy of data from statistical surveys on this sector. Archives in the CR are not the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior, not the Ministry of Culture. Some data are not tracked at all – for example, the number of concert halls. In selected areas there are comprehensive overviews of the number of institutions that differ from the data provided by statistical surveys.
Table 1: Cultural institutions, by sector and domain
|Domain||Cultural institutions (subdomains)||Public sector||Public sector||Private sector||Private sector|
|Number (Year)||Trend last 5 years (In %)||Number (Year)||Trend last 5 years (In%)|
|Cultural heritage||Cultural heritage sites (recognised)||193 (2013) 214 (2017)||10.88%||104 (2013) 104 (2017)||0.00 %|
|Museums||Museum institutions||342 (2013) 338 (2017)||-1.17%||99 (2013) 94 (2017)||-5.15%|
|Archives||Archives||51 (2017)||-||11 (2017)||-|
|Visual arts||Public art galleries / exhibition halls||63 (2013) 40 (2017)||-36.50%||77 (2013 94 (2017)||22.07%|
|Performing arts||Scenic and stable spaces for theatre||77 (2013) 84 (2017)||9.09%||97 (2013) 87 (2017)||-10.40%|
|Concert houses||2 (2013) 2 (2017)||0.00%||-||-|
|Theatre companies||66 (2013) 67 (2017)||1.51%||94 (2013) 123 (2017)||30.85%|
|Dance and ballet companies||13 (2013) 13 (2017)||0.00%||9 (2013) 14 (2017)||55.55%|
|Symphonic orchestras||14 (2013) 14 (2017)||0.00%||2 (2013) 2 (2017)||0.00%|
|Libraries||Libraries||5912 (2013) 5983 (2017)||1.20%||89 (2013) 99 (2017)||11.23%|
|Audiovisual||Cinemas||638 (2013) 754 (2017)||18.18%||-||-|
|Broadcasting organisations||2 (2013) 2 (2017)||0.00%||193 (2013) 183 (2017)||21.74%|
|Interdisciplinary||Socio-cultural centres / cultural houses||452 (2013) 512 (2017)||13.27%||69 (2013) 84 (2017)||21.74|
|Other (please explain)||-||-||-||-|
Sources: NIPOS, Basic Statistical Data on Culture 2013 and 2017; Database of the ATI http://www.idu.cz – Theatres and symphony orchestras; Tanec v datech, IDU 2017; Výročnízprávy MK zarok 2013 a 2017; Database of the accreditation archives at the Ministry of the Interior http://www.mvcr.cz.
 Based on data from the NIPOS statistical surveys. Data from the National Heritage Institute indicate that 106 cultural monuments were newly registered in 2013 (none of which was an archaeological monument), and 61 cultural monuments were newly registered. The National Heritage Institute does not have a list of the owners of the sites, so there is no way to determine whether the monument is owned by a public or private institution. In 2013 there were 39 955 registered cultural monuments and in 2017 there were 40 375.
 Cinemas in the CR are not tracked according to the owner or operator but are differentiated as cinemas with continuous services, cinemas with occasional services, and outdoor cinemas (summer cinemas, mobile cinemas, and drive-in cinemas).
Last update: November, 2020
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.
Last update: November, 2020
The Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Czech Centres are the main public actors in cultural cooperation and the promotion of Czech culture abroad.
In 2015 the Czech Government adopted the Concept of the Foreign Policy of the Czech Republic. One of the goals of the country’s foreign policy is to promote the good image of the Czech Republic within the international community. Considerable attention is devoted to the CR’s branding and various forms of diplomacy including cultural diplomacy.
Other important actors include national organisations under the umbrella of the MC and non-governmental organisations, through which the majority of international cultural projects are implemented. These projects are supported by the state’s grant programmes and grants from regional and local authorities, as well as through foreign cultural institutions and foundations.
The Czech Centres operate under the remit of the MFA. Their mission is to promote the Czech cultural scene on the international level and to strengthen the good reputation of the Czech Republic in the world. There are currently 25 branches operating on 3 continents.At the end of 2018 the most recent branch was established when a new Czech Centre was opened in Jerusalem. Among their cultural activities Czech Centres focus on promoting every branch of Czech culture – fine art, architecture, design, fashion, performing arts, film, music, and literature. The Czech Centres are members of the European Union National Institutes of Culture (EUNIC).
The Arts and Theatre Institute (ATI) is an organisation founded by the MC to promote Czech theatre, dance, and music abroad, among its other roles. At present it also promotes other fields of the arts, such as literature and the visual arts. The ATI organises projects abroad, such as cultural seasons, exhibitions, publishes books, organises web portals in foreign languages, runs residential programmes for artistic exchanges in all fields of the arts, and provides financial support for the short-term mobility of Czech artists. The institution also ensures the operation of international non-governmental organisations in the field of the performing arts and music.
In 2017, based on demands from the representatives of the music sector, an export music agency was set up under the ATI: SoundCzech. The mission of SoundCzech is to facilitate the development of the Czech music industry in a wide range of genres and to support it with a variety of grants, workshops and mentoring sessions.
In January 2017 another pro-export state agency was established: the Czech Literary Centre. The centre was set up as a state contributory organisation by the Moravian Library in Brno. Its mission is to engage in the consistent and systematic promotion of Czech literature and book culture, connect individual activities and institutions in the sphere of literary culture, and increase the visibility of Czech literature and book culture abroad and in the CR.
NIPOS is another organisation that operates under the MC. It supports travel abroad for individuals and through a selection procedure welcomes international artists to perform in the CR in the field of non-professional artistic activities.
Since 2002 the Czech Film Centre has been very active in the area of promoting Czech cinematography abroad. It is currently a part of the State Cinematography Fund. It promotes Czech cinematography in various ways: promoting it at major international festials and markets, publishing work on Czech film and the Czech film industry, networking, and consultation.
In October 2009, the Czech government adopted the ‘Programme of Film Industry Support’ that operates via fiscal stimuli or tax incentives. Before this no such incentive had existed in the CR that would allow foreign and Czech film or TV producers to ask for partial compensation for invested expenses on the territory of the CR.
The CR adopted the Act on Some Kinds of Cultural Support in 2006, which provides a so-called state guarantee by providing compensation for an object on loan in case it is damaged during an exhibition or similar event.
Last update: November, 2020
Czechoslovakia was one of the foundation states of UNESCO and the Czech Republic (CR) has been a member since 1993. That same year it became a member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the Council of Europe. Since 1995, the CR has been a member of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and the Restoration of Cultural Property. It has been an EU member since 2004.
In the 1990s significant financial support was provided by foreign cultural institutions and foundations. Some foreign institutes, like the British Council or Pro Helvetia, reduced their activities in the field of culture after the CR joined the EU; the consequence was a general decrease in possible sources of funding for support in this field.
The Ministry of Culture is responsible for the Creative Europe programme for 2014-2020. It also covers a portion of the financial involvement of subjects that had successful projects in the Culture subprogramme. The programme also supported the event Pilsen – European Capital of Culture 2015.
After 2000 the EEA and Norway Grants have become an important source of funding. The EEA and Norway Grants represent the contribution of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to reducing economic and social disparities and to strengthening bilateral relations with 15 EU countries in Central and Southern Europe and the Baltics.
In October 2003 the Government of the Czech Republic signed the Agreement on the Participation of the Czech Republic in the European Economic Area (EEA). During the first operating period of this funding from 2004-2009 the area of culture that focuses on the protection and renewal of cultural heritage received 82 974 448 EUR.
In December 2009 the Czech Republic signed the Agreement on the Continuation of the EEA Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism for the period 2009-2014. In the area of culture, a programme in the area of cultural heritage and the contemporary arts was adopted, specifically the Conservation and Revitalisation of Cultural and Natural Heritage programme area, and the Support for Cultural and Artistic Diversity in the Context of European Cultural Heritage. Three calls were announced and 21 490 000 EUR was distributed. The programme was terminated in April 2017.
The third programme term of the EEA and Norway Grants is currently in progress (2014-2021). In the cultural sector the programme is aimed at supporting restoration and innovative use of cultural heritage, cultural and creative activities, art criticism, and the capacity building of umbrella associations, networks, and platforms.
In this programme term specific focus has been placed again on the area of culture. The CR has long been faced with several issues relating to human rights. For example, the UN has recommended that the integration of Roma citizens into society should be improved, and measures should be taken to combat racism and xenophobia. Projects in the area of the contemporary arts therefore emphasise support for the cultural production of minorities, including Roma, and address the issue of inclusion, including access to culture for minorities (e.g. Roma minority). The promotion of the cultural heritage of minorities, including Roma cultural heritage and inclusive activities, is emphasised in related open calls and directly supported through the predefined project (The building of a memorial to the victims of the Roma holocaust in Lety).
The greatest financial support for the culture sector flowing from the EU to the CR comes from the European Structural and Investment Funds (SF). Support from these programmes is always tied to strengthening economic growth and employment. In the 2007-2013 programme term the Czech Republic used SF primarily to support cultural heritage in conjunction with tourism (Integrated Operational Programme), but through other programmes, such as those supporting education, support also went to other projects relating to culture and the arts. In the next programme term in 2014-2020 no operational programme existed that was specifically devoted to culture. Subjects in the sphere of culture could apply for support from the programmes of other ministries, such as the Operational Programme – Enterprise and Innovation for Competitiveness (MIT) or the Operational Programme – Research, Development, Education (MEYS). Unlike many EU Member States, however, use of SF in the culture sector is still low in the CR.
The International Visegrad Fund was founded in 2000 by the governments of the Visegrad Four (CR, Slovak Republic, Hungary and Poland). The purpose of the fund is to support closer cooperation among participating countries using cultural, scientific, and educational projects, exchanges among young people, cross-border cooperation, and the development of tourism. The fund also offers grant programmes and student and artistic residencies. The fund is frequently used in the CR.
The MC is charged with the ratification and implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The Convention was ratified in the CR in July 2010 and in 2014 the Czech Republic submitted its first evaluation report. In 2015 a representative of the Czech Republic was elected to the International Committee for Diversity (finished in 2019) (see also chapter 2.5.1.).
Last update: November, 2020
In the Czech Republic (CR), there are many projects that link various networks, governmental and non-governmental organisations, and institutions dealing with cultural heritage and individual cultural projects. Useful contacts abroad were established long before the CR joined the EU. Many organisations in the CR have been members of European and international networks since the 1990s. Cooperation continued also within the frame of the international UNESCO NGOs, such as ITI, ASITEJ, UNIMA, SIBMAS, AITA/IATA and others (see also chapter 7.2.4).
There has been direct cooperation with foreign partners on hundreds of film, theatre, dance and music festivals and literary shows. The biggest and the most interesting events are often priority events of the Ministry of Culture (MC), like, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the Zlín International Festival for Children and Youth, the DIVADLO Plzeň International Theatre Festival, the Prague Spring International Music Festival, the Tanec Praha International Dance Festival, the Strings of Autumn Music Festival, the Colours of Ostrava Festival, the International Prague Writers’ Festival, or the Strážnice International Folklore Festival and many others.
Direct cultural cooperation is supported by the grant programmes of the MC for cultural cooperation abroad but also by direct support from grant programmes for theatre, dance, music, the visual arts, architecture, and literature. Individual towns also provide grants; the majority of finances being provided by the capital city of Prague under its grant procedure. Visits of foreign artists to the Czech Republic are also supported by foreign cultural institutes and foreign representative bodies in the CR, such as the Czech-German Fund of the Future. The majority of such events combine financing from several sources. Financing from private sources is not very substantial outside the fields of classical music and film.
Since the start of the 1990s NGOs have been very active in forging cooperation and building contacts within European and international networks, initially as individual members – for example, in the IETM performing arts network or in the field of cultural heritage. In recent years active cooperation has also been pursued through membership in and cooperation between networks in the CR and in networks abroad. Examples are the Association of Independent Theatres in the CR (Asociacenezávislýchdivadel CR), the European Association of Independent Performing Arts, the Association of Professional Theatres in the CR (Asociaceprofesionálníchdivadel CR), and PEARLE.