Arts and culture in figures

Arts and culture have an impact and that is reflected in the research and the figures that are published across the various professional fields. Collect data which you can use to substantiate your story.

What do you use data for?

Figures about the arts and culture sector provide insight into the size of the professional group or field. That says something about the importance thereof. You can also examine this per field: for example, how many shows take place each year, how many architects are there or how many visitors do museums attract?

Pay careful attention to the context when using statistical data. For example, look at the scale: are you talking about impact at the level of a neighbourhood, town or city, region, nationally or internationally? From the Dutch perspective, it is relevant to know that approx. 410,000 people work in the cultural and media sector and that the share of total jobs is approx. 4.3%.

You can use research to elucidate the impact of your own work or field. Place figures in perspective by making a comparison, for example, with an average figure and substantiate your own story in that way.

Data and current affairs

When comparing data, it is also important to place new developments in that period in a broad perspective. For example, the corona pandemic has had major consequences for the entire arts and cultural sector. In 2020 and 2021 you will see a sharp decrease in the number of visitors. Income and employment also declined, despite the financial arrangements to compensate for the lockdowns and restrictive measures.

There have also been successful initiatives to reach audiences online. In most cases, this did not outweigh the loss of income from physical visits. The figures for 2020 and 2021, and probably also 2022, cannot be compared with those of the years before without that context.

Where can you find statistical data?

You will find quantitative data and qualitative and thematic analyses about the Dutch cultural sector in the Cultuurmonitor (Cultural Monitor) of the Boekman Foundation. You can also turn to this for figures about the various professional fields In addition, the Dutch Chamber of Commerce provides figures about the number of employees, self-employed professionals and institutions in the various occupational groups, including the ‘culture and sport’ industry. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and municipalities present statistical data.

Via representative bodies
In order to be able to properly support the interests of a specific field and their own members, representative bodies often conduct research themselves too, for example by questioning their own members or supporters about specific themes. This information is usually presented publicly too. There are various national professional organisations that make an important contribution in this way towards promoting the interests of their own professional group and towards arts advocacy in general. You can also take advantage of these figures in order to substantiate your own story.

Directly to:

Representative bodies

In 2021, there were approximately 16,000 visual artists active in the Netherlands. (Cultuurmonitor, 2023)

In 2021, we had 445 galleries for contemporary art in the Netherlands. More than half of the galleries (59%) are mainly active in the primary market. In other words: they sell work that comes directly from the studio and had no previous owner. About 7% is active on the secondary market and can be regarded as an art dealer. A quarter is active on both the primary and the secondary market. (Nederlandse Galerie Associatie, 2022)

In 2021 art museums received 4.1 million visitors. In 2020 they got 3.8 million visitors. And before corona, in 2019, they got 8.5 million visitors. (Cultuurmonitor and Museumvereniging, 2023)

Source: Cultuurmonitor - Beeldende kunst (Cultural Monitor - Visual arts)
Source: Nederlandse Galerie Associatie - (Dutch Gallery Association - sectoral research into galleries)
Source: Museumvereniging (Museum association)

There are more approximately 14,000 registered architects in the Netherlands. Three quarters are architects, 13% are interior architects, 6% are urbanists and 5% are landscape or garden architects.

There are almost 1,000 firms affiliated with the Royal Institute of Dutch Architects. (Branchevereniging Nederlandse Architecten)

Source: Architects Registration Bureau (Architectenregister)
Source: Royal Institute of Dutch Architects (Branchevereniging Nederlandse Architecten (BNA))
Source: Culture monitor - Architecture (Cultuurmonitor - architectuur)

In 2022, the Netherlands have 61,775 national monuments, including windmills, castles, churches and landscaped green areas, such as parks and gardens of country estates. By far the largest part of the national monuments consists of houses (31,577), followed by farms and windmills (9,909). (Cultuurmonitor, 2023)

In 2021, 471 museums are affiliated with the Museum Association. In this year there were 11.8 million museum visits. Pre-corona, in 2019, that was still 33 million. There were 1.4 million visits from abroad in 2021. There were 10 million in 2019. Museums made more than 1 billion euros in turnover in 2021, of which 30% own income, 14% corona support and 57% government subsidies. (Museumvereniging, 2023)

Source: Museumvereniging (Museum figures, Netherlands Museum Association)
Source: Erfgoedmonitor (Heritage Monitor)
Source: Cultuurmonitor - erfgoed (Cultural Monitor - heritage)

A total of 32 million visits were made to Dutch cinemas and film theatres in 2023. The average number of visits per person grew from 0.8 in 2021 to 1.8 in 2022. Compared to the pre-corona years (the average from 2017 to 2019), the number of visits was still 14% lower. The income from cinema tickets in 2023 was €338 million. (FDN, 2024)

Dutch film did well in 2023. Despite the fact that more foreign films were released again, Dutch films attracted a relatively large audience, representing a market share of 14%. (FDN, 2024)

Source: FDN
Source: Stichting Filmonderzoek (Film Research Netherlands)
Source: Cultuurmonitor - audiovisueel (Culture Monitor - audiovisual)

In 2023 159 institutions for arts education, such as arts centres and music schools, are affiliated with the Dutch sector organisation for cultural education, amateur arts and adult education, Cultuurconnectie.

In 2020, 61 percent of the Dutch population was practicing some form of culture.

In 2021 there are 11,000 amateur arts associations, clubs and groups registered at the Chamber of Commerce.

There are approximately 20,000 independent providers of arts education in spare time.

Source: Cultuurmonitor - Cultuur en participatie (Cultural Monitor - Culture and participation)
Source: LKCA - Verenigingsmonitor 2021 (Associations Monitor 2021)

In 2021, 5,568 music performances with an audience took place in the pop stages. That was 79% less than the 26,585 performances in 2019 and 14% fewer performances than in 2020. (VNPF, 2022)

In 2021, a total of 883,166 visits were made to the music venues, a decrease of 83% compared to the 5,197,689 visits in 2019, and 16% less than the 1,054,691 visits in the first COVID year 2020. (VNPF, 2022 )

In 2021, the music venues organised 272 hybrid activities, reaching almost 50,000 online viewers and listeners in addition to the live audience. In addition, the music venues organised 2,345 activities that were offered exclusively online in 2021, of which 1,809 were music activities. 2,258 music performances took place, resulting in an estimated 2.8 million views. (VNPF, 2022)

In 2019, more than 7,800 people worked for the music venues, compared to almost 6,600 employees in 2020 (a 16% decrease) and almost 6,700 employees in 2021 (14% less than in 2019). (VNPF, 2022)

In 2021, global recorded music revenues posted growth of 18.5%. Digital revenues have increased steadily over the past few years and streaming continued to be the dominant format globally, accounting for 65.0%. (IFPI, 2022)

Despite the growth in the offer of live pop music on Dutch stages and festivals (+57%), the offer has hardly become more diverse between 2008 and 2019, in terms of gender and origin of the performing artists. Four out of five performing artists are male and more than four out of five performances are performed by artists from three countries: the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. In the field of gender, there has been a slight difference since 2017; the share of female artists has gradually increased since then. (Poplive, 2022)

Source: IFPI
Source: VNPF (Association of Dutch Music Venues and Festivals)
Source: CBS
Source: Cultuurmonitor - Muziek (Cultural Monitor - Music)
Source: Poplive monitor

The figures from the CBS are based on figures from the VSCD, VNPF and their own survey. Festivals are not included in the CBS data.

In 2021 there were 574 theaters in the Netherlands. (CBS, 2023)

According to CBS, a total of 24,421 performances took place in the performing arts in 2021. Before corona, in 2019, there were still 54,052 performances. In 2021 there were 4,710 theater performances, 7,006 music performances, 1,676 dance performances, 2,467 music theater performances, 3,842 cabaret performances and 4,710 other performances. (CBS, 2023)

In total there were 4.1 million visits to performances in 2021 compared to 19.38 million in 2019. (CBS, 2023)

Source: CBS Statline
Source: Cultuurmonitor - Theater (Culture Monitor - Theatre)

Festivals are not included in the CBS data.