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.

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Representative bodies

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.