Sweden ditches free admission to its state museums and slashes $91.4 million from its cultural budget

The Swedish government cut its 2023 budget for culture by SEK 1 billion ($91.4 million) and scrapped free admission to its state museums in response to the economic downturn.

Sweden’s new cultural budget is SEK 9.033 billion ($845 million) from last year’s SEK 10.133 billion ($970 million), with the drop partly reflecting the end of support for the Covid-19 recovery. 19.

Removing government subsidies that allow free admission to its state museums represents a reduction of SEK 99 million ($9.2 million).

“It’s a tough budget, it’s a budget full of priorities,” Swedish Culture Minister Parisa Liljestrand said, according to Dagens Nyheter.

Acknowledging that the sector was still overcoming the effects of the pandemic, she said: “We are seeing a recovery, we are seeing a drop in unemployment, but we still haven’t returned to [pre-pandemic] levels.” Liljestrand added that she would have liked more cultural support than the government has allocated to her.

In 2022, the government increased investment in libraries and art schools, both of which will be halved in 2023. The new budgets are SEK 75 million ($7 million) and SEK 100 million, respectively. ($9.4 million).

Also speaking to Dagens Nyheter, the country’s former culture minister and chair of the culture committee, Amanda Lind, called the announcement “a massacre of the culture budget”, adding that it signaled “that the government does not consider culture worth investing in.”

New investments are, however, being made in special grants and scholarships for artists and creatives, amounting to SEK 40 million ($3.8 million) in 2023 and SEK 30 million ($2.8 million ) in 2024 and 2025. This is in line with the recent “Tidö agreement”, the result of a special negotiation on October 14 between four right-wing political parties following the 2022 Swedish general election.

Although not directly mentioned in the budget, another proposal under the “Tidö agreement” to establish a Swedish cultural canon with the help of special expert committees also seems to be moving forward. .

The news in Sweden comes shortly after the UK government announced major cuts in public funding for cultural venues in Londonin favor of the support of a greater number of regional artistic institutions.

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