Norwegian cultural policy shall contribute to providing people with the opportunity to participate in and enjoy a rich diversity of arts and cultural expressions. It recognises the intrinsic value of arts, culture and cultural heritage for the individual human being as well as for society as a whole. The Norwegian Government recognises the intrinsic value of a strong and independent civil society and local and community engagement. Acknowledging the arm's length principle as an important premise, Norwegian cultural policy aims to provide both the arts and cultural sector as well as civil society organisations with a framework that enables them to thrive.
Norwegian cultural policy recognises diversity as the defining feature of arts, culture and civil society, and aims at promoting a plurality of voices and expressions. The arts and cultural sector should reflect the inherent diversity of modern-day society. This means that public funding will be distributed in such a manner as to ensure a sufficient diversity in arts and cultural expressions, and that governing bodies shall have a diverse composition when it comes to factors such as geography, gender and social background.
A strong and high level of government funding is fundamental to arts and culture in Norway. Institutions at national and regional level shall enjoy a stable and predictable financial framework, thus enabling the promotion of artistic freedom and excellence. At the same time, Norwegian cultural policy also recognises the intrinsic value of innovative and fringe arts. Experimental and innovative ways of cultural expression and dissemination challenge established and conventional structures and ways of thought, thus promoting a new societal debate. This means that one cannot allow cultural policy to be seen as fixed or static; a continuous development and critical scrutiny is needed.
The Government is committed to facilitating artists' and cultural workers' opportunities for making a living income. Central to this is the ongoing revision of copyright legislation. Strengthening the income and revenue potential of artists, cultural workers and institutions is sought i.a. by encouraging a more diversified mix of funding sources, whilst at the same time maintaining and underlining the importance of a continued, strong public funding.
The migratory situation in Europe has led to the Norwegian Government imposing a strengthened emphasis on the role of arts, culture and civil society in the social inclusion of migrants and immigrants.
Recent years have also seen a strengthened emphasis on the role of the public library, not only as a locus for the dissemination and enjoyment of literature, films and audiovisual material, but also as a meeting place that is accessible to everyone; as a public commons and arena for knowledge and the frank exchange of views and ideas. This is reflected in the National Strategy for Libraries, cf. below.