Svenska kyrkan

Cultural activities worth SEK 5 billion

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25 September 2020 14:00:00 | The Church of Sweden The cultural activities of the Church of Sweden within various areas are estimated to be worth a total of SEK 5 billion every year. This figure is revealed in a new report presented during the current Göteborg Book Fair.

Music is one of the largest areas in the cultural activities of the Church of Sweden. The image is from the church music symposium in Uppsala, 2018. Photo: Johannes Frandsen/Ikon
Music is one of the largest areas in the cultural activities of the Church of Sweden. The image is from the church music symposium in Uppsala, 2018. Photo: Johannes Frandsen/Ikon

The Church of Sweden runs cultural activities in many arenas and in most genres. This work involves a large number of people, both professionals and participants in the wide range of activities.

The Church of Sweden also manages and provides access to the country’s largest cohesive collection of cultural heritage in the form of its church buildings and their contents.

Can this work be valued in socio-economic terms? This is the question that the Church of Sweden commissioned analysis company Ramboll to investigate.

The result is presented in the report titled Svenska kyrkans samhällsekonomiska bidrag till kultur och kulturarv (The socio-economic contribution of the Church of Sweden to culture and cultural heritage).The report was released today in conjunction with a seminar during the current Göteborg Book Fair. Archbishop Antje Jackelén and Amanda Lind, Minister for Culture and Democracy, with responsibility for sport, participated in the seminar.

According to the calculations presented in the report, the total value of the cultural activities of the Church of Sweden amounts to SEK 2.3 billion per year. This sum can be compared to the turnover of the national chain of cinemas, Filmstaden, which reached SEK 1.7 billion last year, or the government support to sport, which totalled over SEK 2.1 billion in 2018.

In addition, there are economic spillover effects amounting to a further SEK 2.7 billion. The spillover effects comprise a higher demand for products and services in other sectors and correspond to more than 6,300 jobs.

This is the first time that such an extensive survey of the Church of Sweden’s cultural activities has been carried out. One underlying factor is that the cultural activities are mostly financed through membership fees. There is therefore a direct link between the number of members in the Church of Sweden and its contribution to Swedish cultural life. With shrinking membership numbers, there is a risk that the Church of Sweden will no longer be able to offer the same range of activities in future.

“The value of culture is naturally much higher than the measurable value in monetary terms. But the report now gives us valuable knowledge about the Church of Sweden’s cultural initiatives in many areas. It confirms that the Church is one of Sweden’s largest cultural actors – in rural areas it sometimes even underpins cultural life. Additionally, it is clear that this is not something that society can take for granted, “says Archbishop Antje Jackelén.

About the report
The Church of Sweden commissioned analysis company Ramboll to draw up the report Svenska kyrkans samhällsekonomiska bidrag till kultur och kulturarv (The socio-economic contribution of the Church of Sweden to culture and cultural heritage).

“Through the study we show that the cultural initiatives of the Church of Sweden are central to culture and cultural life in Sweden. The study also shows the considerable societal value created by civil society actors such as the Church of Sweden, even though not everything can be valued in money,” says Gideon Watchefo, economist and the analyst responsible at Ramboll.

The authors of the report have used tools such as statistics on visits to and participation in the Church’s activities, interviews with experts, case studies and calenders of the parishes’ activities.

The report also highlights factors such as overheads in conjunction with participation in the Göteborg Book Fair and the Göteborg Film Festival, as well as grants, remuneration, the value of training and various products and services. Staff costs have also been included in the calculations.

As there are several methodological challenges in valuing culture in economic terms, the authors have opted throughout to be restrictive and underestimate rather than overestimate the total contribution of the Church of Sweden’s cultural activities to the national economy.

The report Svenska kyrkans samhällsekonomiska bidrag till kultur och kulturarv (The socio-economic contribution of the Church of Sweden to culture and cultural heritage) and a short summary of the report are available via the links included in this press release.

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Music is one of the largest areas in the cultural activities of the Church of Sweden. The image is from the church music symposium in Uppsala, 2018. Photo: Johannes Frandsen/Ikon
Music is one of the largest areas in the cultural activities of the Church of Sweden. The image is from the church music symposium in Uppsala, 2018. Photo: Johannes Frandsen/Ikon
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