After the national and European classification systems were revised in 2008 (the French Classification of Activities, NAF-Rev.2, and the Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community, NACE Rev.2 respectively), a number of European works defining a statistical reference framework for culture were conducted between 2009 and 2011. Under the aegis of Eurostat (the Statistical Office of the European Union), a European working group (Task Force 1) designed a structure for the new European statistical framework, made up of some thirty cultural activities, with the intention of harmonising methodological approaches and to ensure better comparability of published results. This European framework falls within UNESCO’s international framework for cultural statistics and covers ten cultural areas – cultural heritage, archives, libraries, books and the press, fine art, audiovisual and multimedia, architecture, advertising and arts and crafts - with six economic functions, i.e. creativity, production and publishing, broadcasting and marketing, conservation, training, cultural management and administration. The publication covers the various current classification systems in France, Europe and internationally, and describes how they fit together. Published conjointly in the DEPS’s “Culture Studies” collection, Approche statistique européenne de la culture summarises the work of the European statistical network ESSnet-Culture and serves as a valuable complement to this methodological paper.