Nykøbing Mors, Denmark

Ung Kult / Young Cult

Young Innovators Fostering Youth Communities

When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down significant parts of Denmark in 2020, it became both a challenge and an opportunity for the organization “Ung Kult” (Youth Cultural Platform). The youth organization creates new opportunities for art and cultural offerings by and for young people across the country, focusing on cultural entrepreneurship involving individuals aged 15 to 30. This is achieved through local engagement, regional connections, and national influence.

Much like other associations, Ung Kult was accustomed to organizing physical meetings and events, but the COVID-19 pandemic made that impossible. Consequently, many events had to transition to online formats, including Ung Kult’s participation in the Kulturmødet (the annual Danish Cultural Meeting) event, which featured a mix of digital and small-scale physical gatherings. This marked the inception of the annual ‘Ung Kult Camp’, which now coincides with Kulturmødet, while maintaining a distinct program.

Ung Kult was already aware that the drive of young people can create new possibilities for art and culture. The organization discovered that the blend of physical and digital networks of youth communities could offer equal opportunities for participation and a new understanding of what a modern community could be. In just a year, Ung Kult expanded from being locally based on the island of Mors in North Jutland to a movement in 50 local communities, thanks to, among other things, the experiences from the events during the COVID lockdowns.

Starting in 2022, Ung Kult began an extensive mapping of youth-cultural communities and environments in Denmark. Through methodical efforts, the initiators managed to build a national movement from the ground up, with a primary focus on small areas outside the major cities. As Mia Carlsen, Chairman of Ung Kult, puts it: “Copenhagen and Aarhus will be fine.”

This new movement also aims to play an active role in ensuring demographic sustainability and democratic participation in smaller towns. An active cultural life specifically tailored to young people can also help motivate more youths to remain in their local communities. This challenge is not unique to Denmark but is faced by many communities worldwide where young people move away in search of more opportunities, both in terms of career and culture.

Since January 2023, Ung Kult has had its facilities, “Ungehuset” (The Youth House), in the old YMCA building in Nykøbing Mors. It was the independent institution Nykøbing Mors YMCA & YWCA Youth House, that approached the municipality to transfer the building when they heard that Ung Kult needed its own space. The municipality purchased the building and also assisted the operations for the first two years, giving Ung Kult time to establish itself.

The young people have shown that enthusiastic individuals from the grassroots can create diverse cultural offerings, especially with some support. As the mayor says, “The youth are not just something we talk about on Mors. They contribute to the island’s development, and we are proud of everything that the youth brings.”

Ung Kult has over 300 members.

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