Danes ‘lied’ about culture activity

Study shows that survey respondents greatly exaggerated participation in cultural events

November 14th, 2012 11:09 am| by admin

Researchers are questioning the findings of a recent report financed by the Culture Ministry that claimed that the country’s appetite for high-brow leisure activities is on the rise.

Among the study's claims were that Danes made 9.3 million visits to the theatre during the 2010/2011 season. Researchers pointed out that that number was four times higher than the slightly under 2 million theatre tickets actually sold according to the national statistics bureau, Danmarks Statistik.

“There is no relationship between the figures provided by respondents to the survey and the number of tickets sold,” Stig Jarl, an arts professor at the University of Copenhagen, told Politiken newspaper. “The discrepancy adds up to what I would call lying.”

The report being attacked was compiled by the consultancy firms Epinion and Pluss Leadership and is the latest instalment in a continuing study of the nation’s cultural habits. About 4,800 adults and 1,500 children between the ages of 7 and 14 were interviewed for the latest report.

The study's conclusions of an upswing in the number of Danes taking part in cultural activity were widely reported and inspired culture minister Uffe Elbæk (Radikale) to crow that “culture is alive and well” in Denmark.

The minister had no comment on Jarl’s opinion of the report.

Jarl is not alone in his criticism of the study. Svend Kreiner, a professor of statistics at the University of Copenhagen, also wondered at the seemingly misleading figures.

“It is puzzling that the professional firms involved have not looked at Danmarks Statistik’s numbers,” Kreiner told Politiken. “And it is also surprising that the culture minister has not looked at them.”