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Culture Monitor update: Audiences are coming back, but concerns remain


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Amsterdam, 7 May 2024 - The cultural landscape is flourishing again after the corona pandemic. Visitor numbers are rising at museums, cinemas, pop stages and theatres. And nine in ten Dutch people visit one or more cultural activities every year. This is according to new analyses by the Boekman Foundation for the Culture Monitor using, among others, CBS' Vrijetijdsomnibus 2022. Yet the concerns have not gone away.
view annual report 2023

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Art and culture is an important form of leisure activity for many Dutch people aged six and above. A large majority (87 per cent) visited one or more cultural activities annually in 2022. This brings the share of cultural visitors almost back to the level before the corona pandemic (2018: 90 per cent). The returning audience fits the general pattern of increased consumer spending.

Interestingly, most forms of arts and culture practice remain the same since the first measurement in 2012. Also, 53 per cent of Dutch people say they are satisfied with the cultural offerings in their neighbourhood, 42 per cent are neutral and 5 per cent are dissatisfied.

Concerns are not gone in the sector

Despite rising visitor numbers, various parts of the cultural and creative sector face significant challenges. These include steep cost increases for staff and accommodation, problems in the labour market and concerns about artificial intelligence (AI). And despite cultural institutions' commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion, persistent inequalities in the sector have not been resolved. Research by the University of Groningen, commissioned by the Boekman Foundation, also shows that two in three Dutch people surveyed think the cultural sector should become more sustainable.

Results available online

With the Culture Monitor, the Boekman Foundation annually charts the state of the arts and culture sector. The independent knowledge centre does this by collecting data, conducting interviews with the field and analysing the results. It uses data from Statistics Netherlands (CBS), sector associations, umbrella organisations and public sources.

The results and analyses are now available to everyone online. The Annual Report 2023 summarises the main topics and changes in the cultural sector as a whole. The theme and domain pages delve deeper into a specific topic and show key figures, analyses, trends and developments, and interactive visualisations. The dashboard consists of 214 indicators at national level and 133 at regional level.

To get a good picture of cultural life in the Netherlands, it is now also possible to further disaggregate data at provincial and municipal level. For municipalities, the Boekman Foundation is doing this step by step and will expand this further in the coming years.

Retrieved from you will find the latest figures and analysis on cultural life in the Netherlands.

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