A girl waving colourful flags at an EEA Grants supported cultural event


Europe’s rich cultural heritage embodies our common history, allowing us to reflect on, discuss and learn from our past. The EEA and Norway Grants help make culture more accessible and contribute to local jobs, skills development, and resilience in local communities.

The Challenge

Besides its intrinsic value, the cultural sector is an important driver of social cohesion, sustainable development and economic growth. Culture contributes to job creation and smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. This brings long-term social and economic benefits, especially to local communities. The cultural sector in Europe faces several challenges, including:

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Increasing investment in culture

Many cultural heritage sites suffer from too little funding. Not only is it cheaper to maintain cultural heritage sites than to restore them –investing and managing cultural heritage can also drive sustainable development. This includes increased cultural tourism, new jobs, innovation and attractiveness for further investment.

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Bridging differences

Culture plays an important role in empowering communities, fighting discrimination and promoting human rights. Intercultural dialogue helps people explore what they have in common and promotes mutual understanding. 

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Increasing stability

Many cultural players are dependent on external funding for their work. Strengthening the capacity of cultural players through increased skills and better networks is essential for increasing the sustainability of the sector.

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Driving innovation

Culture can be a driver of economic and social innovation. Cultural entrepreneurship can bridge the gap between creativity, culture and business, for example through public-private partnerships. 

Our Approach

Our goal

We aim to strengthen social and economic development through cooperation, entrepreneurship and heritage management in the cultural sector.


The EEA and Norway Grants support to the cultural sector follows the Europe 2020 strategy and contributes to smart and sustainable growth. The funding facilitates cultural cooperation, strengthens the focus on cultural dialogue, our cultural diversity and the promotion of fundamental rights and freedoms. Supported activities include:

  • Cultural heritage management, preservation and conservation related to national, regional and local development
  • Documentation and accessibility of culture and cultural heritage
  • Cultural entrepreneurship and capacity development of cultural players
  • Cultural, creative and artistic activities contributing to sustainable development and social cohesion 

Download the overview of our support to Cultural Entrepreneurship, Cultural Heritage and Cultural Cooperation to see the full list of suggested activities.

Creating partnerships

By forging bonds between cultural players in the donor and beneficiary countries, culture can further strengthen the bonds within the sector and between the networks. There is strong bilateral cooperation in this area which stimulates knowledge sharing, accelerated learning and the emergence of stronger networks for international cooperation.

In the field of culture, the donor countries take part in planning and implementation of programmes and projects. Arts Council Norway and the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage are donor programme partners in this area and can assist organisations interested in participating in projects.