Skip to main content
EACEA National Policies Platform


8. Creativity and Culture

8.1 General context

Last update: 25 May 2021
On this page
  1. Main trends in young people's creativity and cultural participation
  2. Main concepts

Main trends in young people's creativity and cultural participation

The National Centre of Expertise for Cultural Education and Amateur Arts  (Landelijk Kennisinstituut Cultuureducatie Amateurkunst LKCA) identifies the following main trends:

New ways of expression

Hip-hop is becoming increasingly mainstream. It represents a huge youth culture that contains many cultural expressions, such as music, rap, graffiti, DJ’ing, and many forms of hip-hop dance. Spoken word is a hit. This way of writing poetry and reciting originates from the hiphop scene. Next to this, there are numerous other popular cultural expressions: from pop music to drawing, from LARP (Live Action Role Play) to Indian dance, from circus to vlogs.  

Digitalization and social media

Digitalization has a major impact in three ways:

  • Young people learn through and about their forms of arts via internet (tutorials);
  • Young people share culture via internet or get inspired by others;
  • Cultural participation is decreasing among young people because of competition with social media. Social media takes up a lot of their time. 

Decrease in cultural participation

In general, sports and cultural participation among young people in the ages of 12 to 19 years decreases, but this process has accelerated over the past few years: in 2017 49% of young people participated in some kind of cultural expression as compared to 58% in 2013. Mostly they make music (29%), followed by visual expression activities (24%), media such as photography and film (20%), dance (16%), creative writing (12%) and theatre (10%).  

More informal groups

Another general trend in Dutch society is that people are less inclined to join a union or club: 68% of young people that practice some kind of arts are not members of a club or other association. More often, they organize themselves in an informal way; they are more interested in temporary projects or ‘festival-like settings’.

All figures are derived from the monitor on amateur arts 2017 Kunstzinnig en creatief in de vrije tijd 2017 (Artistic and creative in leasure time) (LKCA, 2017). This report contains the most recent figures and information about cultural trends among young people

Between 2010 and 2020 more young people participated in cultural, arts and heritage activities than other age groups, especially in arts activities, according to the Netherlands Institute for Social Research in its report What do people have with culture? (Wat hebben mensen met cultuur?).

Main concepts

Government view on cultural policy

Cultural policy in the Netherlands is based  on the premise that the State should not be the judge of what is art and what is not. Artistic development has therefore been the responsibility of private citizens and a large number of foundations, many of them related to culture. Over the years, the government has gradually assumed the role of moderator of cultural activities, apart from being the largest patron of public art and culture. Arts and culture were introduced into the governmental portfolio in 1918, with the formation of the Ministry of Education, Arts and Sciences (Onderwijs, Kunsten en Wetenschappen - OKenW). Ever since, there has been a department for Arts and Culture, with a minister and/or a state secretary responsible for the cultural portfolio. Since 1994 arts and culture are part of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. More about this one can read in the Compendium Cultural Policies & Trends (Chapter Netherlands/ 1. Historical perspective: cultural policies and instruments) (2017).  

What is cultural education?

Cultuurconnectie (Culture Connection), the branch organization for professionals in arts and culture (also see Paragraph 8.1), describes cultural education as follows:

Through cultural education people learn about and with culture. Cultural education encompasses various forms of culture-oriented education, or uses culture as a means of learning. Here, culture is a collective term for arts, cultural heritage and media. People develop cultural competences and talents. They do not only learn about culture, but also develop cultural skills and an open attitude towards culture.”