The Norwegian Cultural Barometer is a series of publications based on Statistics Norway’s survey on the use of cultural activities. In this survey, a representative sample of the population answers questions about the access to and use of cultural activities. From 1991 to 2016, this applied to the population aged 9-79, but from 2021 there is no upper age limit.

The survey provides figures on participation in various cultural activities during the last 12 months. Additionally, it covers the use of digital cultural activities and access to different cultural activities. The first survey was conducted in 1991. Subsequent surveys were carried out in 1994, 1997, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2021 and most recently in 2023. The 2023 survey had a total of 3 415 respondents, resulting in a response rate of 57.2.

The 2023 survey results, presented in the Norwegian Cultural Barometer, reveal a significant increase in participation in all cultural activities, for both the percentage of participation and total number of visits, contrasting with the decline observed in 2021 due to pandemic-related restrictions.

65 per cent of the respondents visited the cinema during the last 12 months of 2023, marking an increase of 25 percentage points from 2021. Furthermore, the average cinema visits per person have decreased since 2000, and in 2023 the average number of visits per person was 2.1. Particularly children and teenagers visited the cinema in 2023.

Museum visits in 2023 rose to 45 per cent, from 29 per cent in 2021. Young people and those with a high level of education were the most frequent visitors to museums. Additionally, 7 per cent of the population visited a museum digitally in 2023. Furthermore, 25 per cent of the population attended art exhibitions in 2023, and 6 per cent saw an art exhibition on the internet. In 2023, the proportion of theatre visits has increased to 38 per cent, from 16 per cent in 2021. 13 per cent of the population stated that they had watched a theatre performance digitally during the last 12 months.

Both ballet- or dance performances and opera performances have re-established the same level of visits as before the pandemic, with 13 and 7 per cent respectively. Three out of ten in the age of 9-15 attended a ballet- or dance performance, in contrast to 4 per cent among those aged 80 and above. However, the elderly attended opera performances to a greater extent than the young.

Concert visits have generally increased over the years, but the share fell to 23 per cent in 2021, whilst a greater proportion of the population watched concerts digitally, 35 per cent. In 2023, 58 per cent of the population attended physical concerts, and the proportion who watched concerts digitally fell to 27 per cent. The proportion of visitors to festivals has also increased, and 29 per cent made use of this offer in 2023.

Near half of the population attended a sporting event in 2023, and it was particularly popular among the youngest in the age of 9-15, with 74 per cent. Sports events were the only cultural activity where men had a higher proportion of visits than women, with 52 and 44 per cent respectively. Religious or life stance community meeting participation in 2023 stood at 27 per cent.

Public library visits reached 44 per cent in 2023, with an average of 3.6 visits a year. Among visitors 56 per cent borrowed or delivered books. Among the population 66 per cent read paper books in the last 12 months, while 19 per cent read e-books.

Leisure activities within cultural fields varied, with 18 per cent of the population playing instruments, 16 per cent engaging in art, and 28 per cent were member of a sports club.