Interest in culture wanes – The Portugal News

Books and theater prove less popular while local festivals and parties continue to be popular among the Portuguese.

These data are the result of a survey on the cultural practices of the Portuguese, carried out in the last months of 2020 by the Institute of Social Sciences (ICS) of the University of Lisbon, financed by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (FCG) .

The survey collected information on cultural consumption through theatre, as well as reading practices and attendance at museums, historical monuments, archaeological sites and art galleries, cinema, concerts and entertainment, including festivals and local celebrations.


According to the results of the survey, people between the ages of 35 and 44 are those who go to these shows the most with 15% declaring that they go there once or twice a year. Moreover, between the ages of 55 and 64, 4% of respondents went to the theater at least three times a year, while 6% went once or twice.

In contrast, the older generations, aged 65 and over, do not seem attracted to this kind of spectacle, with only 7% having attended the theater once or twice a year.

With regard to the professions of the respondents, businessmen, the liberal professions and managers are those who frequent the theaters the most. In addition, respondents’ income seems to be another important factor, as generally people with higher incomes tend to go to the theater more.

Art galleries and heritage monuments

Regarding museums, castles, art galleries, etc., in the 12 months preceding the start of the pandemic, 31% of respondents declared having visited historical monuments, 28% had visited museums, 13% had gone to see archaeological sites and 11% had visited art galleries. In this sense, lack of time (39%) and lack of interest (38%) are the main reasons cited for not visiting historical museums, archaeological sites and art galleries more frequently.

More than half do not read books

On the reading side, the survey revealed that in the 12 months preceding the survey, 61% of Portuguese had not read a single book, and of the 39% who said they had read, most did not didn’t read much. When asked about reading e-books, the percentage drops even further.

In fact, the percentage of people who in the last year have not read any printed book is higher than that recorded in Spain a year ago (38%), according to the study.

Festivals, local celebrations and cinema

On the other hand, the most popular cultural practices of the Portuguese population are the participation in local festivals and celebrations. The most frequented festivals are traditional and popular festivals (49%), then religious festivals (40%) and gastronomic festivals (11%).

According to the survey, 84% said they had attended music festivals and 16% said they had attended other festivals (3% film festivals; 12% theatre, dance and street art). In addition, local celebrations and celebrations were mainly with family members (63%) and partners or friends (33%).

Moreover, the survey shows that cinema is another cultural activity with a high participation rate. In the 12 months before the start of the pandemic, 41% of respondents went to the cinema.

The sample has 2,000 respondents and the fieldwork was carried out between September 12 and December 28, 2020 in Portugal. The information was collected through direct interviews in the respondents’ homes, using the CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interview) system.

James C. Tibbs