Public Financing of the Arts and Culture: Statistics and Reality in Finland - Methodological Issues and Identification of the 1990s Turning Points that Reshaped the Conditions of Cultural and Art Institutions

This publication discusses an important phase of European statistical development work, and provides an indispensable source of information on the public financing of culture, and the financial situation and adaptation strategies in Finnish cultural institutions in the 1990s.

Document type


Publication authors

Ilkka Heiskanen


Arts Council of Finland and University of Helsinki, Department of political science

Publishing place and year

Helsinki 2002



The original aim of our survey was to sharpen and update the statistical data compiled in the past two decades on public financing of the arts and culture in Finland . These data have primarily been presented in two publications, the “National Report” commissioned by the European Council and in Pekka Oesch’s situation survey.

Also another objective was set for the updating. Since the survey was part of a more extensive TaiLa project centring on the present conditions and operating strategies of cultural and art institutions , it was expected to sound the changes in the operating conditions and especially in the public financing of these institutions. Even more specifi cally, it was expected to determine, with the aid of statistics, whether any essential changes took place in the public financing and operating conditions of these institutions during the first half of the 1990s – namely during and after the recession.

This survey is also closely linked to the work the European Union has carried out in the past few years on further developing the entire accounting system for the arts and culture. I myself participated in the work of a working group 3 developing statistics on cultural fi nancing and expenditure within the framework of a more extensive EU project (known as the LEG organisation) on public cultural statistics. This work ultimately brought forth the perspective of compiling statistics on an end-user level of public financing, which is elaborated on and applied in this report.

The report is composed of two parts: a methodological and an empirical/ statistical part. The former centres on analysing the problems due to which the reliability and international comparability of statistics on public cultural expenditure and financing are often questionable . The starting point in the analysis is the work carried out by the EU on developing cultural statistics (as referred to above) and the perspective it provides. This is the basis from which our report presents the solutions applied in the statistical part and recommended in a more general context of solving the key problems in preparing cultural statistics . In the statistical part I will first outline the general statistical background for understanding the financing conditions of the 1990s and from here move on to the actual updating of cultural statistics extending to an institutional level . The statistical part will not content itself with merely producing an update, but also comprises interpretations – specifically from the perspective of the operating conditions and public financing of cultural and art institutions. Readers who are less interested in the analytical and technical problems of statistical work may wish to directly skip to the statistical part. Its statistical references are accompanied by sufficiently detailed clarifications and reservations. These are also presented in the text itself in the context of interpreting the statistics.