Culture Plays Smaller Role in Poland than Much of EU

Culture plays a significant role in the daily life of Europeans. But in comparison with other citizens of the EU, a statistical Pole is not as involved in culture, the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reported.

The aim of the survey, carried out within the European Statistical System, was to measure the cultural activities in 27 EU member states in 2006.

The results of the poll described different areas: cultural heritage and employment; cultural sectors in publishing, architectural activities and cinema; external trade in cultural goods, and time spent on cultural activities.

With some exceptions, the results for Poles are not very encouraging. EU citizens went to the cinema more than 900 mln times in 2006. Among Poles, however, only 44 percent acknowledged visiting a movie theatre last year. The statistical Pole went to the cinema less than once during a whole year.

In comparison the European average was 1.9 visits to the cinema during the year. The Irish were the most frequent cinema-goers, with an average of 4.2 visits.

The least frequent cinema-goers were the Romanians (0.1), the Bulgarians (0.3) and the Slovaks (0.6). In the EU, cultural employment accounted for 2.7 percent of total employment.
In Poland, the rate was 1.7 percent. In the EU, 3.9 percent of all higher education students were studying the arts. Poland had the lowest share of arts students, 1.0 percent.

The highest proportions of arts students, more than 10 percent, were found in Malta and Ireland. On the positive side, about 80 percent of the population in Poland watched or listened to a cultural program on TV or radio in 2006, which is more than European average. Sixty-four percent of Poles read at least one book in the last 12 months, close to the European average of 71 percent.

The most active book readers lived in Sweden – 87 percent – and the least on Malta – 45 percent.

The most popular cultural activities in Poland were: museums and galleries (32 percent of Poles went there at least once last year), concerts (29 percent), public libraries (37 percent). Less than 20 percent of Polish citizens went to the theatre (the lowest number in the EU) and only about 12 percent to the ballet or opera.

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