EU and international cooperation in arts and culture

The Ministry of Education and Culture participates in culture-related cooperation between different countries in various international organisations as well as in the preparation of cultural matters in the European Union. Finland's most important cooperation organisations in the areas of arts and culture are the European Union, the Council of Europe and UNESCO.

Culture and the audiovisual arts in the European Union

The European Union's objective is to support the diversity of culture and make it available to everyone. The EU works to promote and fund cultural exchange, cooperation between operators and actors working in different art forms and the distribution of works.

The EU strives to also ensure the operating conditions for the film and audiovisual industry, the publishing industry as well as the music and cultural industries to ensure that the European creative industries based on these are internationally competitive.

The Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (Article 167 of the TFEU) outlines the union's objectives and authority in the area of culture. According to the treaty, "the Union shall contribute to the flowering of the cultures of the Member States, while respecting their national and regional diversity and at the same time bringing the common cultural heritage to the fore".

The Union only has the authority to support and supplement the authority of the Member States. Additionally, Article 167(4) provides that "the Union shall take cultural aspects into account in its action under other provisions of the Treaties, in particular in order to respect and to promote the diversity of its cultures".

The Creative Europe Programme is the key instrument for the funding of the European community's cultural activities. In Finland, the Finnish National Agency for Education and the Finnish Film Foundation work together as the contact point for Creative Europe

Structural funds and other EU subsidy-types have also provided funding for arts and culture. The purpose is to support creativity and the mobility of artists, to develop intercultural dialogue and to strengthen the cultural and economic significance of the arts.

The EU's Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council handles matters related to culture and the audiovisual arts. Matters related to the Culture and AV Ministerial Council are prepared by the council's working groups, the Committee on Cultural Affairs, and the AV working group.

International cooperation

The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for the coordination of Finland's international cooperation in arts and culture with and within the following organisations: UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Culture Fund, the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), the Arctic Council, the Barents Euro-Arctic Council and their cultural bodies as well as their neighbouring areas.

The Council of Europe is a European intergovernmental forum for broad-scoped cultural policy discussions and measures. The council's European Cultural Convention establishes the framework for cooperation in arts and culture as well as cultural heritage. An effort has been made to highlight culture and cultural policy via such things as national studies and theme analyses in cultural policy.

The Council of Europe has three conventions related to the cultural environment and heritage as well as recommendations on special issues. The conventions cover such things as architectural and archaeological heritage and landscapes.

The recommendations cover the cataloguing, utilisation, revitalisation and integrated protection of cultural heritage, industrial and technological heritage, urban space and culture, rural building heritage, as well as questions concerning the skills needed for the conservation of cultural heritage. Additionally, recommendations include commentary on e.g. architectural heritage, the effects of pollution, the relation between tourism and cultural heritage and cultural heritage education.

Nordic cooperation emphasises cultural cooperation between the Nordic countries, the visibility of the Nordic countries within the European Union and cooperation with neighbouring areas. Cultural cooperation is based on the agreement concerning cultural co-operation signed by the Nordic countries.

Matters that are within the Ministry of Education and Culture's administration are discussed in the Nordic Council of Ministers for Culture and the Committee of Senior Civil Servants for Nordic Cultural Co-operation. Cooperation is carried out in areas in which the Nordic countries have common interests or challenges and in which cooperation improves the effectiveness of development.

The Nordic Culture Fund supports broad-scoped Nordic cultural cooperation. The fund is situated in Copenhagen, Finland actively participates in its activities, in addition to which Finland has a bilateral culture fund with each of the Nordic countries. The Nordic Culture Point coordinates the Nordic Council of Ministers for Culture's Culture and Art Programme, the Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture as well as NORDBUK's grant programmes.

The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for regional cooperation in the Northern Dimension's policy and in the Council of the Baltic Sea States and the Barents Euro-Arctic Council.

The main emphasis of regional cooperation in the Baltic Sea region is the strengthening of the region's culture as well as development of cultural heritage and cultural tourism.  In the Barents region the status of culture in regional development is strengthened through dialogue between the creative industries and cultures. The Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture develops the networking possibilities, internationalisation and competitiveness of actors in the creative industries. 

The Cultura Foundation supports the integration of Russian speaking immigrants through art and culture and works to support the study of the Russian language and Russian culture by Finns.

Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes

The Finnish Cultural and Academic Institute network have the common objective to increase the recognition of Finnish culture, art and science in the target countries and promote cultural exchange and cooperation as well as field-specific research and teaching in the countries in question.

The institutes are non-governmental bodies and each institute is maintained by a foundation. Each institute's purpose and tasks are outlined in the responsible foundation's rules. The activities of academic institutes emphasize the promotion of science and research, but the institutes also organize cultural programmes.

The Ministry of Education and Culture admits annual operating grants to the foundations that maintain the institutes. The ministry also holds information exchange negotiations with the foundations and institutes.

The Finnish Cultural Institutes are located in Paris, London, Copenhagen, Brussels, Tallinn, Berlin, Stockholm, Madrid, Oslo, New York and Budapest.

The Finnish Academic Institutes are located in Rome, Athens, Tokyo and the Middle East.

In addition to institutes that operate abroad, the Swedish-Finnish Cultural Centre, which promotes cultural interaction between Finland and Sweden, is situated in Hanasaari, Espoo.

Contact Information

Kimmo Aulake, Ministerial Adviser 
Ministry of Education and Culture, Kulttuuri- ja taidepolitiikan osasto (KUPO), Division for Copyright Policy and Audiovisual Culture Telephone:0295330067   Email Address: