The expanded gift reinforcement programme for museums

In 2014, the government introduced a gift reinforcement programme to stimulate increased private sector funding for art and culture in the form of monetary donations. In response to the great interest shown in the programme during the initial trial year, the government has boosted funding for and expanded the scope of the programme in both 2015 and 2016. In 2017, the block grant has been increased to NOK 51.1 million, and the programme expanded to include a greater number of potential recipient organisations, donors and objectives.

Lessons learned in 2014

The initial guidelines encompassed museums in the national museum network and museums in receipt of fixed operating grants from the Sami Parliament of Norway. The government awarded grants in the form of a 25% gift reinforcement in connection with private donations for the purchase of art and for upgrading of museum facilities and exhibitions.

The Ministry of Culture received gift reinforcement applications totalling approximately NOK 17.8 million from almost half of the museums covered by the scheme. Twenty-three museums were given grants (in response to 34 applications), reinforcing a total of 70 separate donations made in 2014. While twelve of these donations amounted to NOK 1 million or more, most donations totalled NOK 250 000 or less.

Changes in 2015

The 2015 state budget included an allocation of NOK 30.3 million to the programme (under Chapter 320 General cultural objectives, Item 85 Gift Reinforcement Programme). In addition, the guidelines were expanded and revised. The most important changes to the guidelines were:

  1. The applicant/recipient organisation must be a museum that is either included in the Arts Council Norway’s museum statistics (in Norwegian), or a museum that meets the criteria for inclusion in the Art Council’s museum statistics.
  2. The objective of the donation must be to strengthen the museum’s activities in accordance with its objectives and plans. 

Changes in 2016

As of 1 January 2016, the gift reinforcement programme was expanded to include gifts related to music, literature, culture, the visual arts and cultural buildings. Funding for the programme was also increased by 50 per cent, from NOK 30 million to NOK 45 million. Under the new guidelines, gift recipients must meet one of the following criteria:

  • a museum that is either included in the Arts Council Norway’s museum statistics, or a museum that meets the criteria for inclusion in the Art Council’s museum statistics, or
  • an owner or administrator of a cultural building open to the public (multi-user premises or special premises for art and culture, such as libraries, premises used in the dramatic arts, concert halls or display premises for visual art), or
  • a professional art and culture undertaking with at least one permanent, salaried full-time equivalent, that engages in the communication of:
    - music (organisers, festivals, orchestras, ensembles, etc.)
    - literature (organisers, libraries, houses of literature, festivals, etc.)
    - dramatic art (organisers, festivals, theatres, operas, companies, independent groups, etc.)
    - visual art (organisers, art festivals, galleries, art halls, art associations, etc.)

More than 180 applications were received in 2016.

In both 2015 and 2016, the Ministry received many more applications than the block grant could support, and a number of applications had to be rolled over into the following year.

Processing of applications

The Ministry of Culture encourages all potential donors and recipient organisations to familiarise themselves thoroughly with the new guidelines for the gift reinforcement programme.

Applications, including all required details and necessary documentation, must be submitted to the Ministry of Culture. Applications should be marked “gaveforsterkning” and be sent by email to or to the Ministry of Culture’s postal address: PO Box 8030 Dep, 0030 Oslo.

Applications are processed in the order in which they are received, provided that they are complete, and gift reinforcement funds will be disbursed on an ongoing basis following processing and approval. In the event of the block grant being used in full, any remaining applications will be deferred and disbursed in the following budget year. The priority order is rolled over to the next year.

Guidelines for the museum gift reinforcement programme 2016 (in Norwegian)

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