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, since the corona pandemic, we have seen a significant drop in visitor numbers in the performing arts, museums and cinemas. The financial arrangements designed to maintain employment during the lockdowns and restrictive measures have failed to prevent a fall in income and employment.

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. At the same time, more attention was paid to sustainability and climate issues during this period. This ensures that the architectural sector actually sees their work increase.

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 2020, there were approximately 15,000 visual artists active in the Netherlands. (Cultuurmonitor, 2021)

In 2017, we had 440 galleries for contemporary art in the Netherlands, 82% of which with a permanent exhibition space. (Nederlandse Galerie Associatie)

In 2017, museums received 34 million visitors, 8.9 million of whom to visual arts museums. Presentation institutions account for 0.4 million visits and galleries receive between 1.4 and 1.5 million visitors annually. (Cultuur in beeld 2017)

Source: Cultuurmonitor - Beeldende kunst (Cultural Monitor - Visual arts)
Source: Cultuur in beeld 2017 (Culture in focus 2017)
Source: Nederlandse Galerie Associatie - sectoronderzoek galeries (Dutch Gallery Association - sectoral research into galleries)

There are more than 13,805 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 1,100 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: Cultuurmonitor - Architectuur (Culture Monitor - Architecture)

As of 2021, the Netherlands has 61,809 nationally listed buildings, the majority of which in Noord-Holland (14,014) and Zuid-Holland (8,987).

In 2020, 456 museums are a member of the Museum Association. The number of museum visits decreased by 60% in 2020 to 13.2 million. A year earlier that was 33 million. For 2021, the Museum Association expects an even further decrease to 9.7 million visits. The decrease in foreign visits was even 82%: from 10 million in 2019 to 1.8 million in 2020.

In 2020, museums' own revenues have almost halved compared to 2019. They have fallen by 250 million. The total turnover (including subsidies) of museums decreased all in all by €88 million and came to €977 million. Museums have also cut costs, by €125 million. This mainly happened during exhibitions and purchases. Employment also shrank.

In 2020 there are more than 1.3 million Museum Card holders, which together account for almost 5 million museum visits (37% of the total number of visits).

In 2019, a total of approximately 31,000 archaeological finds could be viewed at archaeological depots.

Source: Museumcijfers, Museumvereniging (Museum figures, Netherlands Museum Association)
Source: Erfgoedmonitor (Heritage Monitor)

The year ended with 14,306,934 visits, a decrease of 14.6% compared to 2020 and a whopping 62.4% decrease compared to 2019. Total ticket sales in 2021 amounted to 143 million euros, a decrease of 5.5% compared to 2020 and a decrease of 58.8% compared to 2019. (FDN, 2022)

2020 (and 2019)
The total turnover of the Dutch film market was €731 million in 2020. That was €779 million in 2019. The box office receipts from cinemas fell from €347.6 million to €151.6 million. The video-on-demand turnover actually grew from €392 million to €543 million.

Altogether, multiplex and independent cinemas managed to sell 38.03 million tickets in 2019. In total, 4.5 million tickets were sold for Dutch films. In 2020, the total sales fell to 16.76 million tickets.

In 2019, 63% of all Dutch people aged 6 and older visited a cinema at least once (the reach). This equates to 10.2 million unique visitors. Taken on average people went to the multiplex and/or independent cinema 2.6 times (the frequency of visits)

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

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

The Netherlands has tens of thousands of amateur arts associations, clubs and groups.

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

More than 100 subsidised 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 institutes Cultuurconnectie.

Source: Cultuurmonitor - Cultuur en participatie (Culture Monitor - Culture and participation)
Source: LKCA - Verenigingsmonitor 2021 (Associations Monitor 2021)
Source: LKCA - Factsheet cultuureducatie en -participatie 2019 (National Knowledge Institute for Cultural Education and Amateur Arts - Factsheet on cultural education and participation 2019)

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)

According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), 25,571 shows in the performing arts took place in 2020, of which there were 6,027 theatre shows, 8,104 music performances, 1,391 dance performances, 3,143 musical theatre shows, 4,536 Dutch cabaret shows and 2,370 other shows. (CBS, 2021)

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 2020 there were 554 theaters in the Netherlands. (CBS, 2021)

According to CBS, a total of 25,571 performances took place in the performing arts in 2020. In 2019, there were still 54,116 performances. In 2019 there were 11,278 theater performances, 19,878 music performances, 2,482 dance performances, 6,414 music theater performances, 8,584 cabaret and cabaret performances and 5,479 other performances. These numbers have roughly halved in 2020. (CBS, 2021)

In total there were 5.35 million visits to performances in 2020 compared to 19.38 million in 2019. (CBS, 2021)

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

Festivals are not included in the CBS data.