News 13 Dec 2016

Popularity of museums rising all over the world

Visits to museums have increased in many countries. For example, Estonian museums were visited nearly 3.3 million times in 2015. The number has doubled in 12 years. The strong growth is due not only to increased travelling to Estonia but also to the opening of new big museums, such as the Art Museum of Estonia KUMU and the sea museum Seaplane Harbour in Tallinn. The growth is likely to continue, because more than 300,000 people are expected to visit the Estonian National Museum in Tartu, which was completed in 2016.

Museums also have clearly increased their popularity in all Nordic countries, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, France, Spain, Russia and particularly in China. Icelanders with nearly six visits per person were the most active museum visitors in 2014. In Finland, visits to museums have grown by nearly 30 per cent from 2005 to 2015.

Most popular museum in the world in Beijing

In the past few years, the most popular museum in the world has been the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City in Beijing in China. The annual number of visits to the museum has risen to over 15 million. Louvre in Paris has long held the top position in the rest of the world (8.6 million visits in 2015). The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg has been the absolute number one among Northern European museums (3.7 million visits in 2015).

In addition to new museums, the numbers of visits have grown through increased free entrance to museums and the focus on changing exhibitions and new visitor groups, such as children. Museum cards or joint tickets to museums have also raised the number of visitors. A card entitling entrance to over 230 museums was taken into use in Finland in 2015, and according to the Finnish Museums Association, it already has over 83,000 users.

These data derive from Statistics Finland's table package on cultural statistics. The tables are updated four times per year and analysing articles are published in connection with the tables. Some of the tables have now been updated, and an international section has been added to the table package. The tables are in Finnish and English, and the articles in Finnish. 

Cultural statistics table service

Home page of Cultural Statistics

The table: Museums in certain countries 2011-2016

The table: The most popular museums 2012-2015

Further information: Jukka Ekholm +358 29 551 3370, Kaisa Weckström +358 29 551 2348,