Congratulations are in order! Sweden’s crown princess Victoria gave birth to a tiny princess this morning. The newborn princess is second in line to the Swedish throne.
Unsurprisingly, social media in Sweden – and the rest of the Nordics – have been abuzz with royal news all day. But perhaps more surprisingly, the picture everyone has been waiting for was first released on Facebook, not to the press.
The Swedish court posted a low-key picture of the small family on their Facebook page just before the princess Victoria, prince Daniel and their daughter (whose name has not been announced yet) left the hospital and returned to their home at Haga castle.
By nightfall, the post has received more than 5,000 comments, 23,000 likes and has been shared 3500 times.
Congratulations to the Swedish people, whose princess has certainly been born into a social media savvy royal family!
Crowdfunding, having the public chip in to finance great ideas and projects, is hardly a new phenomenon. We’ve seen it done successfully in fundraising for years, for instance through Kiva.org and Kickstarter.
The arts and culture have embraced this financing model. Starting in 1992, Finnish sci-fi project Star Wreck has been an online cult phenomenon, attracting production help, downloads, and purchases from all around the world. Though not strictly a crowdfunding project, it’s definately a forerunner of the trend.
The first Scandinavian truly crowdfunded cultural project I’m aware of, was Norwegian rock group Kaizer’s Orchestra‘s collecting money from fans toward the recording of a new album in 2010. But since then, crowdfunding is rapidly becoming mainstream activity for lots of cultural innovators.
Does crowdfunding work?
The big question, of course: Does it work? Are projects getting funded? The answer is a definate maybe, so far. While there is no lack of fundraising efforts, the Scandinavian public are somewhat reluctant in opening their wallets – yet. But it’s early days, stil, and a little too soon to prophesy doom to the Scandinavian crowdfunding projects. Instead, let’s have a quick look at the status quo.
(I do not in any way believe that this is a complete list of Scandinavian cultural crowdfunding projects. If you know of any I have missed, please leave a note in the comments section!)
Sweden racing ahead
Sweden is taking the lead. Since 2010 the public have paid up for culture through the website Funded By Me. Several projects have been realized due to collective efforts online.
People in Sweden’s capital Stockholm also have the opportunity to contribute through Crowdculture.se, where they can vote for their favorite projects and help fund their development. Crowdculture.se is particularly interesting since it is in part initiated by local authorities in Stockholm. To my knowledge, this is the first example of crowdfunding efforts by the public sector in Scandinavia.
Norwegians getting started
This summer saw crowdfunding in general entering the Norwegian cultural scene as well, since Funded By Me launched a Norwegian sister-site to their Swedish operation. A local theatre group in Oslo is among the first candidates for crowdfunding. The response to the Norwegian site seems to be so-so so far, but I look forward to following their progress.
New Danish site
The Danish cultural scene has recently been expanded by the launch of Boomerang, a new crowdfunding site for arts and culture. Not many projects seem to have caught the eye of financers as of yet – but again, it’s early days and too soon to deem any crowdfunding efforts a success or a failure.
Less culture, more crowd: Iceland and Finland
Though not a cultural project per se, the Finnish crowdfunding efforts of Hub Helsinki pave the way for new crowdfunding projects in Finland.The cooperative of people trying to change the world are attempting to raise €50,000 towards the refurbishing of their new premises in Helsinki. The Aalto Social Impact initiative has taken a serious interest in crowdfunding in Finland.
I have not been able to find examples of crowdfunded cultural projects on Iceland. This is probably due to my abysmal comprehension of Icelandic – the country which crowdsourced its new constitution must surely have some interesting projects to show for. If you know of any, please leave a note in the comments section!
If you are interested in crowdsourcing as a phenomenon, check out this extensive list of crowdfunding sites. Among the inspirations for this post are the blogs of Danish Mikael Mejlvang, a.k.a. “Municipality Man” (blogs in Danish), and Arts and Business Norway (in Norwegian). Thanks!