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Arts and culture – Header image (photo)

Arts and culture

Impact measures

During 2014 Triodos Bank finance helped make it possible for 6.2 million visitors (2013: 16.3 million) to enjoy cultural events including cinema, theatres and museums across Europe, as a result of its lending and investments activity. This means that there were the equivalent of 11.7 cultural experiences for each Triodos Bank customer.

The relatively high visitors figure in 2013 was a result of lending to successful film-makers in Spain during the year.

Arts and culture – Impact measures (graphic)

Our vision and activities

Arts and culture lending

Percentage of our loans to the arts and culture sector

Arts and culture – 6.1% of our loans to the arts and culture sector (pie chart)

Lending 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.

Case study

Metaal Kathedraal

Arts and culture – Case study Metaal Kathedraal (photo)

What challenge was the inspiration for your project?

Each day, vacant churches are becoming more of a common sight. The question is often what to do with these extraordinary buildings that are no longer in use for religious purposes. Providing them with a totally new function can offer a solution.

At the same time there is a clear demand for cultural hotspots, locations where artist can rent affordable work space in inspiring surroundings or where they can benefit from working with like minded artists.

The Metaal Kathedraal, in The Netherlands, is an effort to breathe new cultural life into just this kind of vacant building.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

The Metaal Kathedraal is a former church that was built in 1857 and is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the municipality of Utrecht. The building was used as a church until 1940, after which time it was turned into a factory for the production of side-cars and later the production of metal.

Because of its heritage as a factory, the church has a rather rough and tough look and feel, but also maintains some of its traditional features. The ‘hammerbean trusses’ – a type of structure which is also used in the Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament in London – offer a good example of these traditional features.

Mekka in de Meern BV, a Dutch company, has bought the building and has helped to preserved it by giving it a new purpose as a cultural venue. Cultural activities, such as festivals, concerts and presentations, are organised in the church and its surrounding gardens. There are also affordable workspaces for artists.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on the business?

The Triodos Culture Fund actively contributed to the preservation of this unique building and transformation into a cultural hotspot by providing part of the funding for the purchase and renovation of the building.

The Fund finances cultural projects that contribute to the development and preservation of arts and culture. This specific example of a cultural hotspot showcases this mission: it provides affordable workspaces for artists and as such plays a catalyzing role in the cultural sector.

What impact has your business had on the sector it works in?

The Metaal Kathedraal could act as inspiration for other projects like it, showing how an entrepreneurial approach benefits a cultural enterprise at a time when the cultural sector is dealing with cuts in financial support from governments. It provides a compelling example for others in the sector of how an imaginative approach, and a mix of funding, can make for a strong and resilient cultural business.

What impact has the business had on the community?

The Metaal Kathedraal provides a work space for new and established cultural and creative entrepreneurs.

Cultural hotspots like this one have proved to contribute to a better quality of life within a residential area building bridges between artists and local communities. Furthermore, they can offer solutions to empty and unused buildings, such as this church. New life has been breathed into this building contributing to a more sustainable and pleasant environment for local people.

The Metaal Kathedraal is not only a centre for artists, it’s also a venue for weddings and conferences benefiting local people and businesses. In the future it will also be possible to enjoy a cup of coffee or a small snack in the venue’s café.

How does Triodos Bank share the vision behind the project?

The Metaal Kathedraal improves quality of life and, as such, is very much aligned with the vision and mission of Triodos Bank.

For many years, Triodos Bank has been a pioneer in providing financial services to arts and culture. The experience in this sector is particularly relevant in the current climate, as many governments cut spending as part of far-reaching austerity measures.


The arts and culture figures we use are based on the number of people who attended events, visited shows, or watched films in 2014, provided by institutions Triodos Bank finances in each of its branches. If this figure was not available we calculated the average number of people who attended a typical event or show at a particular project during the year, multiplied by the number of events it put on.

Because of the complexity of accurately describing how many individuals they reach we have not included individual artists, musicians or their equivalent that Triodos Bank finances in this figure.

We recognise that an individual project may not have received all of its finance from Triodos Bank, and so it is not wholly responsible for its ability to put on these performances. But we believe that, typically, Triodos Bank’s financing of an arts and culture project plays a central role in its overall finances; so we can legitimately use this measure in this context.

The ‘Impact per customer’ calculations used throughout the annual report are made on the basis of the average deposit per customer across its five branches. This is then matched with the same proportion of Triodos Bank’s total impact in a given sector. There were a total of 530,000 customers at the end of 2014.