Participation in cultural activities in Flanders has not yet recovered from the big hit it took during the COVID-19 pandemic, a just concluded survey shows.
The pandemic affected participation in all types of events that take place in an enclosed location - such as films, performing arts and concerts - according to the survey, conducted at three points in time: in 2020 (before the lockdown), just after the COVID measures in 2021, and in 2022, when normal life resumed.
Previous participation surveys were conducted in 2004, 2009 and 2014.
During the pandemic, attendance at cultural activities fell across the board. Figures for 2022 reflect a cautious, but far from complete, relaunch of the sector, and participation rates remain well below 2020 levels.
Participation in contemporary concerts before the pandemic was 27%. In 2021, it dropped to 14 %, and in 2022 it rose slightly to 17%.
Cinema attendance went from 49% before COVID-19 to 22% in 2021 and 30% in 2022.
Where local participation in culture and community centres is concerned, the recovery has been stronger, but the figures are still lower than pre-pandemic levels.
The survey also found that the cultural recovery of 2022 appears to be carried mainly by the more highly educated segment of the population and by women.