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How Important is Culture?

The 2009 Flemish Participation Survey shows that since 2004 the figures for those attending cultural events have pretty much stayed the same.

  • 30 percent of Flems do not participate in cultural events;
  • 20 percent does something cultural a couple of times every 6 months;
  • 23 percent goes out between 3 and 6 times in 6 months; and
  • 23 percent goes out more than 7 times in 6 months.

For the Flemish Cultural Minister, Joke Schauvliege, it’s a case of accepting that many people still don’t participate in cultural events;  for the previous Flemish Cultural Minister, Bert Anciaux, at least numbers are not dropping off.  I’d say it shows that 2/3rds of Flemish people do participate.

The survey indicates that insufficient motivation is the biggest problem behind low attendance figures.   Practical problems such as time, distance and money are apparently less influential.

But what does ‘motivation’ mean?  De Standard newspaper (10/2/2011) claims that it’s ”no interest” that is therefore the main stumbling block.  I don’t believe that’s true.  I think it’s more likely to be low energy and tiredness (the result of over-loaded lives) in combination with dark nights and bad weather.  Isn’t it often: ” I would have loved to, but it was easier not to”.  That’s not exactly “no interest”.

Be that as it may, I just read in the newspaper (so it must be true) that a study by Jan Colpaert (HUB) has shown that even those who do not avail themselves of the cultural possibilities still value them (De Standaard, 9/2/2011).  So?  What’s the problem – keep up the support!

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