In Finland, the provision of cultural services is decentralised, i.e. municipalities receive statutory or discretionary transfers (=funding) from the Government to fund their local cultural institutions. Through these transfers, the state aims to promote regional equality and access to culture. The grounds on which municipalities may receive statutory funding are stated in the Municipal Cultural Activities Act, which entered into force in 2019 and repealed the earlier Municipal Cultural Activities Act of 1992.
The objective of the renewed Act is to respond to the ways in which municipal cultural activities and their operating environment have changed as well as to reflect constitutional provisions and the implementation of international agreements on cultural activities. The Act incorporates provisions on the objectives of municipalities' cultural activities, the duties of state authorities, the participation of municipal residents, a development responsibility, cooperation as well as the production and assessment of information. The provisions concerning the duties of municipalities and state funding were amended to bring them up to date.
The objective of the Act is to strengthen the operational conditions of municipalities' cultural activities and to promote democracy, citizen -orientation, equality and sustainable development as well as cultural diversity and dialogue. The Act is based on the promotion of creative activities related to culture and the arts and the equal opportunities of all population groups to participate in culture, the arts and education.
The Act promotes municipal cultural activities by ensuring that activities get organised and services produced in ways that take into consideration local conditions, the various needs of different population groups and the ways in which culture and the arts can influence the lives of people and communities, society as well as regional and local development. The objectives of the Act and the duties of municipalities have been linked to people's opportunities for creative expression, the promotion of art creation, the promotion of the availability, use and engagement in culture and the arts, the strengthening of the population's well-being as well as the promotion of local and regional vitality.