institutions. It is responsible for disseminating information and contacts, catalysing
innovative cultural information technology projects, arranging courses and conferences,
editing some parts of the portal, initiating new cultural services on the Internet, and co-
operating nationally and internationally with similar activities.
Although the Secretariat does not have a direct decision making power with regard to
the overall strategy, it has the standing to also advice directly with the Ministry and by-pass
the Steering Committee. Suggestions from the Secretariat might be directly taken up, or
discussed further with the Steering Committee.The KulturNet Secretariat also consults the
Ministry of Culture on other culture-related issues that indirectly relate to the network, or
is appointed into special committees for its expertise.Thus, the Secretariat also functions as
quasi-expert panel and resource centre for the Ministry in many different ways. Although
there is not official status, it is nevertheless a very pragmatic way of using the knowledge
and expertise available through the Secretariat.
The Steering Committee advises the Ministry of Culture on the future development and
operation of KulturNet Denmark, and currently consists of nine experts not only from the
cultural heritage field, but also from other cultural sectors.
KulturNet Denmark facts
Founded in 1996.
Permanent staff: four full time, three part time employees.
Annual budget: 3 Mio.
KulturNet Server: hosted by Royal Library, National Library of Denmark.
KulturNet - a strong metaphor to push the basic idea
Undoubtedly, one of the strongest points of the initiative has been the creation of a
powerful metaphor that as almost self-explaining is able to simultaneously convey the
basic idea and that would allow the participating organisations as well as the visitors of the
KulturNet portal to develop a sense of belonging to a network of common interest.The
KulturNet-metaphor is so successful, that in the meantime it has become the signature for a
range of similar initiatives especially in the Nordic countries.The KulturNet-metaphor was
readily adopted by Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, and Finland, and although the
underlying concepts and models have been further developed and modified to fit the needs
of specific cultural policies, the metaphor has become a sort of brand name for national
initiatives that aim at bringing cultural heritage institutions and their holdings to public
attention.This is also an advantage when it comes brand recognition and audience loyalty.
The metaphor also makes it easier to seek out the areas of similarities to enable co-
operation, and even, to realise the vision of a European cultural server. Similar to the
European school net, the already existing national initiatives in the Nordic countries could
serve as the hub to further build a European cultural network and pan-national gateway to
European cultural heritage anchored in the KulturNet metaphor. In this model, already
existing cultural networks on the local, regional or national level could be extended and
developed, in a bottom-up manner, into a pan-European initiative.The primary objective of
a European KulturNet should be in communicating European culture, taking into
consideration cultural diversity as well as similarities between the European countries.
While Denmark and Sweden have been co-operating already in the past, now the other
Scandinavian countries like Norway, Finland, and Iceland have joined the network to
VI NATIONAL POLICIES & INITIATIVES
ON THE RECORD