About the Council of Ministers for Culture (MR-K)

The ministers for culture of the Nordic countries, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland have overall responsibility for cultural co-operation within the Nordic Council of Ministers. The overall objective of Nordic cultural co-operation is to promote the diversity of the region’s cultural expressions, to promote the region’s artists and their work, and to improve the quality and competitiveness of Nordic culture. It is also designed to enhance and develop the international profile of the Nordic countries in, for example, film, design, and children’s culture.

Art and culture are central to Nordic co-operation. Since 2007 the structure of cultural co-operation has undergone considerable changes. This will continue in the years to come as the premises for pan-Nordic cultural co-operation continuously adapt to the challenges posed by our Nordic societies and the world at large.

The Council of Ministers for Culture has an annual budget of approximately DKK 170 million. Much of the money goes to art and culture projects for which artists and culture stakeholders apply for funding in the Nordic Culture Fund and the council of ministers’ programmes (Culture and Art Programme, Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme, and Nordic translation funding). Other funds go towards developing and running Nordic institutes, and to the four Nordic culture prizes.

In 2011, the evaluation (in Norwegian) of the four-year-old culture reform concluded that changes in cultural co-operation in the Nordic countries had generally been successful with largely positive experiences, and that only minor adjustments were needed. The evaluation also concluded that the balance between artistic autonomy and political governance improved after 2007, and that the arms-length principle is thus alive and well. Yet the evaluation also pointed to the possibility of even clearer culture policy priorities.   

Five themes

The strategy for Nordic cultural co-operation 2013-2020 prioritises five themes. The themes are:

  • Sustainability
  • Creativity
  • Interculturality
  • Youth
  • Digitalisation

Forums for co-operation

The Council of Ministers for Culture (MR-K) meets twice a year to discuss and take joint decisions in areas where joint action and policies generate greater value than can be achieved by the individual countries on their own.

The Committee of Senior Officials for Culture (EK-K) is associated with the council of ministers. EK-K consists of senior officials from the ministries for culture in the Nordic countries, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland.  The committee meets four times a year and prepares ministerial meetings and manages the practicalities of implementing the cultural policy.

The Secretariat to the Nordic Council of Ministers in Copenhagen is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Nordic co-operation. The Department for Culture and Resources (KR) prepares the questions to be discussed by the council of ministers and associated committee of senior officials. In addition, the Secretariat ensures the implementation of all decisions taken.

Nordic institutions and partners

The Nordic Council of Ministers has a number of programmes and institutions that ensure the implementation of the specific elements of the culture policy. These programmes and institutions include:

Cultural co-operation and dialogue

Under the umbrella “Nordic Culture Forum”, MR-K organises conferences, seminars, and workshops.  The Culture Forum is continuously developed to make it an even better instrument for the council of ministers. 

Other cultural initiatives

The Nordic Council of Ministers is working to enhance pan-Nordic cultural co-operation. Nordic cultural co-operation includes a variety of themes and initiatives ranging from folk associations to the work of individual artists. In 2011 the council of ministers decided to support the following: