PRESS RELEASE: Impact of COVID-19 on European Healthcare Clowning Organisations

24.November 2020

COVID-19 has impacted societies at all levels, with health- and elderly care finding itself at the centre of the pandemic. The cultural sector also became one of the most affected areas as a consequence of the restriction measures. Therefore, RNI and efhco conducted a survey on the initial impact of COVID-19 on Healthcare Clowning Organisations, in June 2020, all across Europe. The report shows the creativity and resiliency of Healthcare Clowning Organisations during the pandemic.

The survey “Impact of COVID-19 on European Healthcare Clowning Organisations” asks how organisations were affected and how they reacted in different fields, like the Operational Department, the Artistic Sphere, Communication, Human Resources and Finance. In total, 40 Healthcare Clowning Organisations in 21 countries completed the survey. All the organisations work with professionally-trained and fairly remunerated clown artists.

In summary, the whole European Healthcare Clowning sector was highly impacted by the pandemic, as clowns were suddenly not allowed to enter hospitals and social institutions.

  • None of the 40 organisations that responded to the survey had to close down permanently, even though 97% of them had to cancel or postpone at least some or all activities.
  • 60% benefitted from networking with other Healthcare Clowning Organisations, exchanging experiences and inspiring ideas.
  • 78% of the organisations created some brand-new artistic activities, like online clowning, playing outside in courtyards, gardens or lifters outside the institutions or even addressed new target groups.
  • 73% used the lockdown period to develop new communication activities. Organisations made it their mission to share positive messages as in these hard times everybody needs more joyful and positive moments.
  • 84% expect a lower revenue in 2021. As more challenging times lie ahead, the report ends with a series of recommendations for internal and external key stakeholders, like governments, policy makers and clown management.

Our appeal: all vulnerable people who received visits before the crisis, missed the emotional support of the healthcare clowns a lot. At the same time, people’s need for joy increased. All Healthcare Clowning Organisations want to continue their mission and therefore urgently appeal to all responsibles: also in times of COVID-19, clown visits must continue in hospitals and care facilities! We care for patients and medical staff!


EFHCO                                                 RED NOSES International

Ursula Fährer                                         Eva Primavesi

Secretary EU Office                                Public Relations

secretariat[at]                              Eva.primavesi[at]

M: +32 489 257 005                                M: +43 699 11175081                                 






The European Federation of Healthcare Clown Organizations (efhco) was founded in 2011 in Brussels to protect and support professional clown work in a healthcare environment on a European level. In particular efhco cares for hospitalized children, their families and other vulnerable and sick people.

Today efhco has 14 full members plus 4 associated Healthcare Clown Organisations in 14 European countries, from Finland to Portugal, from Scotland to Austria.

About RED NOSES International

RED NOSES Clowndoctors was founded in 1994 in Austria as a non-profit organisation, bringing humour and laughter to people in need of joy. In 2003 the charitable non-profit foundation RED NOSES Clowndoctors International (RNI), also based in Austria, was established as headquarters of the RED NOSES group. Its tasks are to build up, monitor and support international RED NOSES partner organisations. In doing so, RED NOSES International simultaneously develops and maintains high ethical and artistic quality standards in all its clown programmes within the group. Today, RED NOSES Clowndoctors is one of the largest clown doctor groups in the world with partner organisations in 11 countries.