A visionary expert on Finnish culture at the heart of the EU, as long as we get the funding we need

mrt 20, 2024 | Blog

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland published their funding decisions for arts and culture organisations in 2024.  “Altogether a cut of €8 million is directed at the arts and culture sector this year,” shared Frame Contemporary Art Finland in their article Cuts in arts and culture funding are short-sighted. Funding for the Finnish Cultural Institutes across the world also significantly decreased.

In a piece she recently wrote about the Cultural Policy Report being prepared by the current government, Executive Director of the Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes, Hanna Lämsä writes:

“There is plenty of high-quality and internationally interesting content and creators in Finland. A prerequisite for this is stable, predictable and sufficient public funding. In this regard, Finland still has a gap compared to the reference countries in Europe. In Spain, between 2012 and 2021, the share of the culture budget has been more than 2 percent and it is rising to 3.3 percent. Last year, France’s cultural budget rose by 7 percent and Germany’s by 4 percent.”

Laura Boxberg, Director of the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux shares:

“Things are constantly changing and we are afraid that there will be further cuts. Our general subsidy was cut by €20 000. The cut is 5,7 % compared to 2023. In practical terms the cuts mean a decrease in our programming and fewer collaborations with artists from Finland.

 

However, if we want to put a positive spin on the uncertainty of things, at least we can say that the discussion is still on the table. With the new government in Finland, it’s more important than ever for the Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes to remind decision makers of who we are, what we do and why. The cultural field is waking up after COVID, and it’s important that while we are up, we stay up and fight.”

It is crucial therefore that our Strategic Goals for 2024-2026 take these discussions and decisions into account. For the upcoming period we are focusing on strengthening operational reliability and funding, increasing our programme impact, increasing the European impact of operations and leading in sustainable practices in our networks. You can find our full Strategy for 2024-2026 below.

 

The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux’s Strategy 2024–2026

 

MISSION

We create sustainable connections and work opportunities for culture and art professionals between Finland and the Benelux region, and promote the visibility of Finnish culture in the Benelux countries.

The Benelux is a region of short distances, whose populations are diverse, open and strongly appreciative of culture. The Institute’s location in Brussels is unique: we are at the heart of the European Union, in the midst of shared decision-making, where the Institute has the opportunity to influence European audiences. Through the digital dimension of the programme, our accessibility is even broader.

The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux is a visionary expert organisation and a trusted international partner. It is the most significant and central promoter of Finnish culture and creative industries in the Benelux countries. The Institute’s programming influences current societal discourse through art and culture.

 

VALUES

Collaboration

We value our partners and actively participate in the networks within our operational area as a reliable player. We establish new and long-lasting connections that benefit stakeholders to the fullest extent.

Equity

In our work and daily life, we promote diversity, equity and inclusion. We actively work to create fairer practices in the field of arts and culture.

Responsibility

Culture is a powerful tool in the reevaluation of values, practices, and societal models needed for ecological transformation. We establish ecologically and socially sustainable working methods and practices to promote international mobility and cultural exchange.

 

STRATEGIC GOALS 2024-2026

We focus on four goals, which we implement through our yearly action plans, and monitor their realisation in our annual reports. The Foundation’s board assesses the achievement of strategic goals and updates the strategy as needed.

Goal 1: Strengthen operational reliability and funding

We strengthen funding by seeking new sources of financing and increasing existing ones, so that the self-financing portion of the total funding is 25 percent. We actively promote and encourage the transition to multi-year state grants.

We ensure that our partnerships are maintained and strengthened even across personnel changes within the institute.

We continue to streamline our administrative processes using digital tools.

Goal 2: Increase programme impact

The programme’s impact will increase by 30 percent by 2026. The guiding principle is the programme strategy, and the CRM (customer relationship management) tool shared by the institute network is used as a monitoring tool, with metrics including the expenditure on programme activities, audience and participant numbers, as well as communication insights.

Goal 3: Increase European impact of operations

We actively seek partnerships and collaboration projects with cultural networks working in the Benelux countries, as well as with the upcoming European Capitals of Culture candidates for Belgium (2030) and the Netherlands (2032), and other similar entities. Through these new partnerships, we aim to reach new audiences, networks, and opportunities for cultural professionals.

We actively participate in institute network projects as resources allow.

Goal 4: We lead in sustainable practices in our networks

We promote environmentally sustainable practices in the field of arts and culture, particularly in the context of international co-productions and mobility. We continue to measure the carbon footprint of international productions and also focus on designing digital productions to be more environmentally friendly.

Sonya Lindfors returns to Beursschouwburg with ONE DROP

Confronting the echoes of the ‘one drop’ rhythm and the ‘one drop rule’ with power, anti-racist love and resistance, Sonya Lindfors’ dance performance ‘One Drop’ comes to Beursschouwburg, 18 & 19 October 2024.

Registration now open for the autumn term of our Finnish language courses!

Start your Finnish language journey with the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux this September. Suitable for all levels, classes are open to everyone, no matter where you are based. Register today!

Meet the executive board of the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux Trust

Bringing expertise from the arts and cultural fields in Finland and in the Benelux, the members of the board are responsible for funding and supervising the activities of the Institute. Get to know the faces behind the names.

TelepART: June 2024

The June 2024 TelepART support by the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux goes to the performance “Unknown for talking bodies” by choreographer Eeva Juutinen and performers Astrid Stenberg and Taru Aho at Pianofabriek in Brussels, Belgium.

Boys Won’t Be Boys’ Finland debut through the eyes of Gender Studies student Tega Oke

Find out what it has meant for Programme Assistant Tega Oke to support the Finnish premiere of Boys Won’t Be Boys, a Dutch theatre production centered on personal and honest stories about masculinity.