Cultural policy in Sweden

The duty of the Swedish Arts Council is to carry out and put into effect the cultural policy determined by the Swedish government and parliament.

The goal of Swedish cultural policy is to increase access for all who live in Sweden to culture, both via contact with culture of high quality and through creative activity of their own. Financial support for artists and cultural institutions is a key element of this policy, for which the Swedish state, regions and municipalities share responsibility. Yet it is individuals themselves who account for the majority of spending, when they purchase books, CDs, tickets for various cultural events, musical instruments, CD players, TV sets, computers, IPads and smart phones.

There are certain national cultural institutions that receive funding direct from the Swedish government, such as the Royal Opera, the Royal Dramatic Theatre, Riksutställningar (Swedish Travelling Exhibitions) and Statens Musikverk (Music Development and Heritage Sweden). In every county there are theatres, music institutions, county libraries and county museums. These often function as regional centres in their respective cultural spheres, working together with schools, the business community and others. Regional and municipal heads of these organisations have financial responsibility for their own institutions and thereby decisive influence over the scope and nature of their activities. However, for some considerable time the state has been promoting the establishment of the regional network of institutions, providing substantial funding each year. The state and regions also jointly fund specialist county consultants for dance, the pictorial arts and design with the aim of promoting activities in these areas.

The collaborative cultural model is a model for allocating State allowances to regional cultural activities. The purpose of the collaborative cultural model is to contribute to achieving national cultural policy goals, as well as providing opportunities to regional priorities and variations.

In Sweden's 290 municipalities there are also cultural institutions funded wholly or for the most part from local income taxes, e.g. public libraries, art museums and, in some instances, municipal schools for children and young people specialising in music and the arts. In certain cases, the state provides funding for projects and special commissions.

The cultural infrastructure is both a pre-condition and a consequence of Swedish cultural policy. Sweden's parliament laid down the objectives and basic principles of Swedish cultural policy in 1974. They were revised in 2009. The Swedish Arts Council was founded in 1974.

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