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Art and culture


Art and culture hold a special place in Slovenian history, as they helped the Slovenes – as well as certain other nations living within the Hapsburg monarchy – to compensate in many ways for the lack of national political and government institutions. Therefore, the development of certain areas of culture conveying national and political ambitions – especially literature, vocal music and theatre – was more rapid, involving many people.

It is therefore understandable that even today the attitude of the Slovenes towards national culture is quite intense; pride in national culture still seems to be a substitute for the former lack of national sovereignty to a considerable extent. As a consequence, Slovenia boasts a rather well developed network of cultural institutions, organisations and cultural associations comparable to the most developed European countries. There is a rich cultural life not only in the country’s major towns, but in virtually every corner of Slovenia.

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In spite of the evidently polycentric organisation of culture – which means that cultural institutions are quite evenly distributed – culture funding comes mainly from the government (equalling two thirds of all culture funding), and to a much lesser extent from local communities or municipalities. The government finances in full the national network of institutions, i.e. most of professional cultural institutions in the field of music and theatre; institutions for the protection of cultural heritage, the National Library, and Ljubljana’s Cankarjev dom, the main national cultural and congress centre.

This list also includes programmes and projects in the field of international cultural cooperation, an important part of the publishing industry, the cultural activities of the Italian and Hungarian ethnic minorities and also of Slovenes living abroad (roughly one quarter of Slovenes live outside the country’s borders). Local communities are responsible for libraries and certain other cultural institutions (local museums, art galleries and cultural centres), and cultural associations.

The small size of the cultural market – which nominally caters for two million people, but is in reality five times smaller, as only some twenty per cent of the population could be considered more or less regular consumers of culture – is the main reason for the fact that government subsidies and the funds of local communities constitute the main source of culture financing, while income from tickets and other consumer payments represent less than ten per cent. The entertainment industry, as well as rock, jazz and certain other genres of music are, while there is often no doubting their creative value, nevertheless entirely subject to the market

Public funds earmarked for culture at national and local levels comprise some 0.94 per cent of Slovenia’s entire GDP. This share is slightly higher than in the more developed (and smaller) European countries. Since 1999 and based on a special act, special funds have been raised in order to invest in venues, buy library material and renovate certain cultural monuments, support audio-visual projects and youth culture centres.


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