Increased funding for Danish museums in new museum reform

© NEMO, Image: Sara Herrlander A person with shoulder length hair is looking at an art piece in a glass monter.

© NEMO, Image: Sara Herrlander

An awaited reform by the Danish Ministry of Culture of the state funding of museums in Denmark was presented on 16 May. The Association of Danish Museums welcomes the new reform that will increase funding from about DKK 470 million to DKK 565 million a year, giving the Danish museums political priority.

In an article (in Danish), the Association of Danish Museums writes that it is gratifying that more funds are permanently added to the museum sector. Museums are an important part of Danish society, and this is now recognised politically. The Association also welcomes that two-thirds of the funds must be distributed among fixed grants, not least to ensure the museums' budget security.

The new reform declares that most of the funds (approximately 65%) are distributed as a differentiated basic grant in five categories based on an assessment of the importance of the museum's collection. The basic grants amount to the following according to category 1: 1.5 million, 2: 2.5 million, 3: 3.5 million, 4: 10.5 million and 5: 23 million. About 24% is spent on incentive-based subsidies – depending on the museums' performance in terms of visitor numbers, children and young people, research and income.

Although the reform is welcomed overall, Claus K. Jensen, head of the Association of Danish Museums, expressed some concern about the differentiated basic grants: “We appealed to create transparency in the system and coherence between tasks and grants, and unfortunately, we have not achieved that. The presented model, where the basic grants are distributed based on an estimate of the ‘museums' collections’, probably gives rise to a number of questions among many museums. The museums' collections are important, but the importance of the museums is far more than their collections.