Nordic Culture Fund

Scope of the programme
The Nordic Culture Fund has main office in Copenhagen. It awards grants worth approximately DKK 31 million every year. The Nordic Culture Fund is financed from the budget of the Nordic Council Ministers, which is approved by the Nordic Council. The Fund is therefore a part of the official Nordic collaboration.

The Fund receives 1,100 applications every year and 305 projects in all are granted. Here approximately 170 receive funding for projects, 90 receive funding for OPSTART, 10 receive funding for HANDMADE and 35 receive funding for puls in 2017.

Type of project activities

The Nordic Culture Fund allocates grants on three levels:

  1. The general project funding with three annual deadlines
  2. OPSTART which accepts applications all year round,
  3. Priority theme funding pools as HANDMADE and PULS with specific criteria and application deadlines.

1) The general project fund:
The Nordic Culture Fund supports art and culture projects involving different Nordic countries and regions: Denmark, Finland, the Faroe Island, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the Aaland Island. But countries outside the Nordic region can also be involved.

  • The projects must have Nordic relevance, meaning:
  • the project is created and implemented by stakeholders with a Nordic base and in collaboration with others outside the Region.
  • Ÿthe project actors represent a geographical spread in the Nordic Region
  • Ÿthe project extends beyond a national perspective and promotes openness and tolerance
  • Ÿthe project positions the Nordic Region in the world and the world in the Nordic Region

Applications are accepted from individuals, groups, organizations, institutions, associations and companies. Applicants do not need to live in the Nordic Region or be Nordic citizens.

Projects outside the Nordic Region can be supported, if they are deemed mutually beneficial for the organiser and Nordic stakeholders in the arts and culture.

OPSTART supports people with a good idea for a new art or culture project and who will develop the project into a concrete Nordic co-operation. With the OPSTART grant you can develop the quality of the project, the Nordic relevance of the project and the substance in the Nordic co-operations.    

 At least two of the Nordic countries or regions must have confirmed their interest in participating in the project before applying. The project must aim to extend the geographical scope and you must clearly indicate which other stakeholders and countries you intend to involve in the long term. 


Applications are welcome from all artistic and cultural genres, and from individuals, groups, organisations, institutions, associations and companies.

OPSTART projects may include partners from outside the Region. Furthermore, applicants need not be resident in the Nordic Region or be Nordic citizens.

3. Priority theme pools: 
The Nordic Culture fund's priority theme pools are established to support the current cultural policy initiatives.

  • Ÿ In 2016-2018 the fund has allocated funding within the initiative HANDMADE that revolves around craftsmanship. 
  • Ÿ In 2017-2019 funding is also distributed within the PULS initiative, which acts a springboard for the creation of a Nordic music network.

HANDMADE supports projects that explore production by hand in the craft field. HANDMADE is crafts newly detected and reinterpreted in our time. HANDMADE disclosed treasures in the periphery, in the undiscovered, the underestimated, the forgotten. HANDMADE finds new ways to interpret what it means to be Nordic

PULS supports  music venues and festivals to give a unique opportunity to live music in the Nordic Region and present Nordic-based, promising artists with international potential.

1) The general projects:

The grant can max be DKK 500,000, but the typical grant is not so high.

Grants may be used for administrative and wage costs, as long as these are directly linked to the project.

The budget must have an appropriate level of co-funding. The higher the amount applied for, the more self-financing and funding from other sources the Fund expects. In practice, this means that only 50% of the total funding for a project may be from the Culture Fund and maximum 85% from the various Nordic funding bodies

Voluntary work may form part of the self-funding component of the project. The application budget must quantify the scale of any voluntary work.

Active and competent international partners from outside the Nordic region ought to contribute resources to the project, either financially or in kind.


The maximum OPSTART grant is DKK 25,000.

Projects outside the Nordic Region can be supported, if they are deemed mutually beneficial for the organiser and Nordic stakeholders in the arts and culture.

Active and competent international partners ought to contribute resources to the project, either financially or in kind.


HANDMADE is a part of the Fund’s general funding programmes: OPSTART and project funding. The terms, conditions and assessment criteria for these programmes will apply to your HANDMADE-application.

PULs grants DKK 8,000 - 12,000 per concert. Applicants from Iceland and Greenland can apply for grants up to DKK 20,000 per concert. The Fund can furthermore grant up to DKK 20,000 for the communication and audience development described in your project.

The concerts must be minimum 50 % self-financed.

When and how to apply
1) The general project fund has three yearly rounds:

  • 1st of Oct. 2018
  • 1st of Feb. 2019
  • 2nd of May 2019

Response seven weeks after the deadline.

2) OPSTART has no application deadlines.

  • so always open for applications

The Fund notifies applicants of its decision within 20 days.


For HANDMADE you can apply for an OPSTART grant or go to project funding directly.

For PULS the next application round is in April 2019. Applicants will receive a response in 8 weeks time.

More information
See the website of Nordic Culture Fund.

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