Satellite account for culture and media 2018


This satellite account for culture and media is the second satellite account commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The first edition covered the year 2015, before the periodic revision of the national accounts. This edition presents the satellite between 2015, after the periodic revision of the national accounts, and 2018. Now that results are available for two years, we can make observations about the economic development of culture and media during this period. The definitions, terms, sources and methods used here are broadly the same as in the first edition.

The share of culture and media in GDP and employment remains stable

The share of culture and media in the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Netherlands in 2018 was 3.4 percent, which is practically the same as the share in 2015: 3.5 percent. In absolute terms, the contribution of culture and media to GDP increased from EUR 23.9 billion to 26.5 billion.
As employment increased from 300,000 labour years in 2015 to 330,000 in 2018, the share of culture and media in total employment remained stable at 4.3 percent.

Of the main macroeconomic figures, areas which increased more than those for the total economy included domestic production, imports and exports and intermediate consumption of culture and media. This is reflected in an increase in the share of culture and media in these macro totals; for example, the share of culture and media in domestic production increased from 3.6 percent in 2015 to 3.9 percent in 2018. However, as the consumption of culture and media lagged slightly behind total consumption, the share of culture and media in total consumption decreased from 3.2 percent in 2015 to 3.1 percent in 2018.

Summary of macro totals for culture and media and the Dutch economy1)
Culture and mediaShare of culture and media
2015, Pre-revision (mln euros)2015, Post-revision (mln euros)2018 (mln euros)2015, Pre-revision (%)2015, Post-revision (%)2018 (%)
Domestic production
(basic prices)
Total supply
(basic prices)
Consumer spending17,48015,63016,4203.73.23.1
Gross fixed capital
Total use
(purchase prices)
Gross value added
(basic prices)
Gross value added
(purchase prices) (GDP)
Total number of
employed persons
(x 1,000)
Total labour years:
all employed persons
(x 1,000)
1) For culture and media, amounts in this table have been rounded to the nearest ten million euros or the nearest ten thousand in numbers. As a result, underlying figures do not always add up to the total.

Culture and media slightly smaller after revision

The national accounts are periodically revised, with revisions introducing new sources and methods, and sometimes new national and international definitions, to ensure that they are up to date and use good data. This can lead to differences between the estimates of a range of figures for 2015 before and after revision. The first culture and media satellite account was based on the pre-revision national accounts for 2015. To make sure 2018 is still comparable to 2015, the 2015 satellite account for culture and media has been re-compiled using the post-revision national accounts for 2015. On balance, the share of culture and media in 2015 after revision is slightly smaller than before revision. Whereas the pre-revision share of culture and media in GDP was 3.7 percent, after revision it was shown to be 3.5 percent. The share of total employment in terms of labour years in 2015 also decreased slightly, from 4.5 percent before revision to 4.3 percent after revision.


Advertising is the largest domain

The total supply of culture and media increased from EUR 67.9 billion in 2015 to EUR 85.0 billion in 2018. Within the total supply of cultural and media products, the domains of Advertising (32 percent) and Media (21 percent) were the largest in 2018. Within household consumption, the Media domain was the largest in 2018 with a 41 percent share, followed by the Performing arts domain (15 percent). The share of the various domains therefore differs according to the macroeconomic variable.
For example, in terms of the share of the various domains in the beta indicator of value added, which has been calculated in this satellite for the first time according to domain and subdomain, Advertising remains the largest domain at 29 percent. However, the domains of Architecture and design (11 percent), Performing arts (9 percent), Literature (9 percent), Heritage (3 percent) and Education (8 percent) are gaining in importance in relation to their share of the total supply of cultural and media products. This is partly because the supply of these domains relies more on domestic production, and therefore contributes more to the Dutch economy. These domains also have high value added due to factors such as the greater labour intensity of their economic activities. The importance of the Media and Audiovisual domains in terms of value added and employment is smaller compared with their share in the total supply. This is because these domains involve more imports and re-exports, and also because the incoming and outgoing financial flows in terms of licences and royalties are offset to some extent, with only the value added remaining. The value added for each domain therefore provides an informative indication of how the importance of the various domains is evolving, for example in relation to their share in the total supply of culture and media.

Art is the third most important branch of industry

Within the culture and media sector, the largest branches of industry in 2018 were Advertising and market research (13 percent), Publishing activities (11 percent), Arts (10 percent), Trade and transport (10 percent) and Education (10 percent). Although Trade and transport is not a cultural or media product in itself, it is an indispensable link in bringing together supply and demand in relation to cultural and media products. Trade and transport margins in the domain of Visual arts (including Jewellery), for example, are high.

Literature lagging behind while Architecture and design is growing

As mentioned above, the absolute value of culture and media’s contribution to GDP increased from EUR 23.9 billion in 2015 to EUR 26.5 billion in 2018. Within culture and media, however, there are differences between the domains. For example, the goods and services within the domain of Literature experienced less development in almost all areas than cultural and media products as a whole. The only category within Literature that had an above-average increase was re-exports. However, this largely concerns printing machines and books that are not produced in the Netherlands, from which the only industry to benefit financially is Trade and transport. Literature’s contribution to value added in culture and media therefore decreased from 10 percent in 2015 to 9 percent in 2018.

The domains of Architecture and design and Audiovisual developed by more than the average in relation to total cultural and media products. The contribution of Architecture and design to value added in culture and media increased from 9 percent in 2015 to 11 percent in 2018. This result can largely be attributed to the Architecture subdomain.
The growth of the Audiovisual domain is primarily due to the increase in tax-induced money flows associated with the import and export of licences and royalties. These money flows are by no means always related to cultural expressions produced in the Netherlands; they often involve the import and export of licences and royalties from branches of foreign media companies based in the Netherlands.

Value added by domain12
Domain2015 (% of the total)2018 (% of the total)
Architecture and design911
Performing arts99
Visual arts44
Interdisciplinary and other33
1) Gross value added (basic prices). Excluding culture-related investments, ancillary revenues of cultural institutions and trade and transport margins. 2) This is a ‘beta indicator’: an indicator which is not compiled for the national accounts. The national accounts calculate value added by branch of industry and not by product group.

Government increases spending on culture and media

The share of culture and media in total spending increased in every layer of government between 2015 and 2018, resulting in an increase in spending on culture and media that was greater than that of government spending as a whole.

The share of culture and media in total government spending increased from 1.3 percent in 2015 to 1.5 percent in 2018. In 2018, this share ranged from 1 percent for the central government to 19 percent for local non-profit institutions (NPIs), which are the local museums, libraries and regional broadcasters that are treated as government organisations.

The focus of spending on culture is more at the local level, while spending on broadcasting and publishing (media) is concentrated more at the central government level.