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Arts and culture – Header image (photo)

Arts and culture

Impact measures

During 2017 Triodos Bank and Triodos Investment Management helped make it possible for 17.6 million visitors (2016: 13.7 million) to enjoy cultural events including cinemas, theatres and museums across Europe, as a result of its lending and investments activity to cultural institutions. This means that there were the equivalent of 26 cultural experiences per Triodos Bank customer.

Triodos Bank and Triodos Investment Management finance helped approximately 3,400 artists and creative companies active in the cultural sector (2016: 3,100). Theatre, music and dance productions from creative companies were visited by 450,000 people. New productions in 2017 from the film and media sector financed by Triodos Bank (most importantly in Spain) were seen by approximately 9.0 million people (2016: 9.7 million).

Triodos Bank and Triodos Investment Management also financed a number of organisations providing affordable spaces for cultural activities such as workshops and music courses, attracting around 97,000 people (2016: 90,000).

Arts and culture – Impact measures (graphic)

Our vision and activities

Percentage of our loans and funds investments to the arts and culture sector

Arts and culture – 5.9% of our loans to the arts and culture sector (pie chart)

Loans and investments by subsector

Arts and culture – Lending by subsector (pie chart)
% derived from data at the time of publication

Our vision on arts and culture

Arts and culture play an important role in the personal development of individuals and the cohesion of society as a whole. Creative expression provides new perspectives, inspires and connects people.

Arts as a catalyst for personal and community development

Arts and culture should contribute to personal development and a vibrant civil society. They can inspire and motivate change.

The cultural sector is dynamic and versatile. Cultural entrepreneurship is booming. Many institutions are wholly or partly commercial and target a wide and diverse audience. Triodos Bank fits in to the dynamics of a sector with this entrepreneurial focus and finances innovative cultural entrepreneurs to help increase its impact.

Our priorities

Based on its long-standing commitment to art and culture, Triodos Bank has a leading position in the sector. It develops innovative finance instruments such as guarantee funds. To do this we work together with governments, industry associations and consultants.

A broad church

We focus on cultural initiatives, regardless of their size, that focus on different activities such as – to use a real example – a stage, museum and a restaurant in one company.

Alongside this lending, we have a fund (Triodos Cultuurfonds) for Dutch clients. Launched in 2006, the Fund has pioneered arts and culture finance, helping to make the sector less dependent on subsidies, grants and charity by encouraging cultural entrepreneurship.

Triodos Bank will focus in the future on strengthening local networks and local cultural entrepreneurship.

The benefits to society of the Arts

Arts and culture – The benefits to society of the Arts (graphic)

Our activities

‘Connection’ is central to our vision in the cultural sector. Triodos Bank finances artists and cultural institutions that bridge, and connect, with society.

This usually involves a combination of high artistic quality and broad accessibility. Connecting with the community is done in many ways: by reaching broad audiences, and by dealing with other parties, such as sponsors, businesses, social institutions and banks. In addition, there is a connection with amateur practitioners who are active in the local area and contribute to social cohesion.

For these reasons, and to provide a richer picture of what financing the arts and culture sector means in practice, we publish the number of people reached at venues financed by Triodos Bank. This is not intended to be the last word on impact in the cultural sector. Indeed qualitative evidence of impact, illustrated through the case studies published here, offer a better picture of the difference Triodos Bank makes. A single, focused arts project may also have a profound impact on a smaller group of individuals rather than a more superficial, popular artistic work on a much larger audience. Nevertheless, we hope the combined ways we communicate impact provides an increasingly rich picture of the impact of our activities.

Case studies



Arts and culture – Case study (photo)

What challenge was the inspiration for your project?

In Spain, there are more than 2 million people with a visual or hearing disability. How is somebody supposed to enjoy a film or television programme if they cannot hear or see? This realisation was the starting point for technological research performed at University Carlos III of Madrid.

WhatsCine is a technological company that was created in 2013 as a result of this research at an academic level, with the aim of providing everybody with the freedom of being able to enjoy the cinema and television, regardless of their abilities and promoting equal opportunities in terms of appreciating audiovisual content. Furthermore, this app allows for additional languages and original versions to be used, expanding the range of options and bringing audiovisual content to an even wider audience.

Enjoying leisure time boosts our health and well-being, in addition to our social and family lives. WhatsCine employs technology to ensure the accessibility of audiovisual content.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

WhatsCine offers the first and only technology in the entire world to date capable of bringing cultural content to people with audiovisual disabilities in an inclusive manner and without affecting other viewers.

It uses tailor-made software available in the form of an app for mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) that integrates three accessibility systems: audio description, subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and sign language interpretation so that the user can choose the mode that best suits his or her needs and enjoy a film at the cinema or television content in real time.

Visual accessibility is offered by means of audio description, through headphones owned by the user. This entails an audible description that provides blind users or those with low vision, with a description of the scenes, characters, shapes, colours, circumstances and details in a way that they can be included in dialogue and narration without interfering with the original audio.

In turn, hearing accessibility is offered via subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and sign language interpretation. Users with hearing disabilities can choose between either of the two options. Both are shown on the screen of the user's smartphone or tablet, designed in such a way that people nearby are not affected.

The WhatsCine app is available for both iOS and Android, and is completely free of charge.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?

WhatsCine has already adapted more than 600 films in Spain and 1,000 episodes of TV series and is preparing to launch in new markets, with a new office opening in Miami soon.

It is difficult to estimate the exact number of people that have benefited from the technology offered by WhatsCine, although the mobile app has been downloaded more than 50,000 times, and has a score of 4.3 out of 5. “It offers us the independence and normalisation we have always sought,” asserts one user. “Being able to enjoy a film at the cinema with my son and family is priceless,” states another.

What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?

WhatsCine has forged alliances in the private sector, creating a 360º circle of alliances with distributors, producers, cinema owners and television stations that offer inclusive, accessible and varied content to this audience in any place and at any time, which was unthinkable for people with audiovisual disabilities 4 years ago, all thanks to the hard work and efforts of WhatsCine.

According to WhatsCine's developers, it is anticipated that in the future, agreements may be struck with public authorities and governments that set out regulations structured around the right of accessibility and inclusion of those with audiovisual disabilities.

What local impact has your business had on the community?

WhatsCine promotes inclusive and sustainable economic growth, providing employment to people with different abilities who generally experience more difficulties finding work or are at risk of exclusion. Thanks to WhatsCine, more than 40 jobs have been created in Spain, at the different associations and companies that produce the facilities and more quality jobs will be offered in the future.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

Triodos Bank shares the commitment to the social integration of people with disabilities, in addition to the opinion that culture and high-quality leisure should be accessible to everybody. WhatsCine offers a response both to the social aspect of offering support to people with disabilities and the cultural aspect, promoting universal access to audiovisual content, both at the cinema and via television, bringing audiovisual content to everybody.


We define cultural institutions as museums, theatres, cinemas, music venues, libraries and art galleries. Stores like bookshops are excluded.

We define artists as individual people creating art, authors, individual film makers, etc.

We define creative companies as film makers, TV-producers, theatre groups, orchestras, etc. Distributers of creative work are excluded.

New film and media productions are only taken into account in the year of release and only one representative episode from a TV series is counted.

The number of visitors to cultural events and the number of tenants and participants are provided by institutions Triodos Bank and its investment funds finances. The number of spectators of the film and media sector in Spain are sourced from the Spanish Cultural Ministry.

The number of people reached via affordable spaces can be either tenants that rent a space for their own use, or can be participants to a workshop or other cultural activity.

In our calculations we only measure the projects with a direct relationship to our finance or investment. We include 100% of the impact when we co-finance a project. If it is not possible to record 100% of the data required, we use conservative estimates.

The ‘Impact per customer’ calculations used throughout the annual report are based on a total of 681,000 customers at the end of 2017.