Feasibility Study on cultural data collection in the EU

KEA European Affairs, which is a Brussels-based research and advisory company, published at the end of 2015 a report entitled “Feasibility study on data collection and analysis in the cultural and creative sectors in the EU”. The study was commissioned by the European Commission (DG EAC) in order to provide the European Institutions with the necessary information to build sustainable mechanisms for data collection, analysis, and delivering with regard to the Cultural and Creative Sectors (CCS). It is a very interesting report for the cultural heritage sector as it clearly addresses the current gaps in official statistics and the need to inform heritage policies with reliable data.

In 2014, Eurostat started a four-year work plan aimed at the development and dissemination of cultural statistics, taking into account the recommendations proposed by ESSnet-Culture (2012). They recognised that there is no systematic means to fully comprehend the value of CCS and their contribution to the European creative economy and knowledge society. The economic and social value of CCS remains indeed largely underestimated due to the sector’s specificities (see the illustration below). Furthermore, international classification codes are not adapted to capture CCS. As a result, citizens and their political representatives often take the view that investment in culture is not a priority and have difficulties in linking culture and innovation.


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The study first explores the data available from both Eurostat and alternative sources including administrative registers, business registers, ‘big data’ from the Internet, etc. Then, it proposes measures to address and remedy the main shortcomings identified with a view to providing European institutions with more and better data on CCS, on a regular basis. One of the scenarii recommends establishing a ‘CCS Observatory’ with the mission of improving the collection and comparability of alternative data as well as developing new ‘big data’ methodologies to measure the creative economy. CCS, including the heritage sector, are rarely comparable as EU Member States are still using different definitions or interpretations of statistical classifications (e.g. NACE classification for economic activities). Moreover, geographical coverage is often limited to some countries as data collection resources greatly vary from one EU Member State to another. The study therefore calls on the European institutions to work with trade organisations, cultural bodies and institutions to supplement existing data sources. A reliable set of data is important to build policies, as this enables the EU to identify the competitive strengths of its CCS and develop a better understanding of market evolution.


See the key recommendations provided by KEA here below:

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Considering EU’s global competitive position in the CCS there is a strong case for improving statistical information at EU level, especially in the field of cultural heritage. National heritage administrations will therefore be invited to cooperate more in the near future with European statistical bodies. The conclusions of the feasibility study support the current mission of the Economic Taskforce to create a common methodology for collecting economic data on cultural heritage.


You can read the full report here:


Visit the website of KEA European Affairs here: