Children and youth culture

Denmark has a long and firm tradition of ensuring that children, young people and their families have access to cultural experiences based on width and quality.

Children and young people should have the opportunity to see and make use of high quality art and culture in their everyday lives, and on their own terms. This is a focal point in Danish cultural policy. The Ministry of Culture envision that art and culture will reach children all over the country, that all cultural institutions will make contributions and that all types of art will be incorporated. To this end, dialogue with the municipalities is given high priority, and cooperation with interested local authorities is an integral part of the activities of the Ministry of Culture. Common activities also include consulting, knowledge sharing and documentation, and international cooperation plays an important role for children’s culture.

As a special area of focus in the Ministry of Culture, this has in 2014 resulted in the development of three national strategies for children’s and youth’s encounter with arts and culture.

Strategies for children’s and youth’s encounter with arts and culture

In 2014 The minister of culture introduced a new national children’s culture policy. The policy is based on the idea that children and young people must meet art and culture from their early years and continuously throughout their childhood and youth. The strategy is in three parts - a strategy for small children, for school-age children and young people. These strategies combined contain approximately 30 initiatives, each of which supports the overall objective “meeting arts and culture”. The strategy for schoolchildren also supports the broad political agreement from June 2013 on the reform of the public school, which among other things requires that schools must cooperate with the surrounding associations and cultural life. 

The three strategies include initiatives such as:

  • Culture Suitcases
  • Supporting local cultural services
  • Developing best practice-catalogues
  • Establishing a digital platform for culture
  • A new and improved children and youth culture-portal

Read more about the Strategies for Children’s and Youth’s Encounter with Art and Culture under current themes.

Network for Children and Culture

To coordinate efforts, and give advice The Ministry for Culture has established a the Network for Children and Culture. The Network consists of representatives with specialist knowledge within the policy area of children and young people. The network has members from The Danish Ministry of Culture, the Danish Ministry of Children, Education, and Gender equality the Ministry of Children, the Ministry of Higher Education and Science, The Danish Arts Foundation and 2 members from the Danish municipalities. The Danish Agency for Culture chairs the network.

The network’s task is to inspire and qualify the strategies and policies of the ministry about children and young people, and it is meant to help creating cohesion in state funding for children’s culture as well as unify the work with the various elements in the field.

Focus on children and young people at cultural institutions

In addition, the vast majority of state cultural institutions have a special focus on children and young people through which they individually and together contribute to ensure that children and young people are introduced to art and culture.

Funding in the area of children and young people

The public cultural institutions spend a considerable amount on cultural activities for children and young people. The Danish Agency for Culture alone administers funds at more than DKK 300 Million annually on this purpose. Among the activities that receives funding are the municipal music schools, theatre and concerts for children In public institutions and schools, artist in residence in schools, production of theatre performances for children, and so called Cultural services’ that establish contacts and services to facilitate cooperation between cultural institutions and schools.