German support for culture

Sigrid Niemer

When you think about the political situation or acceptance of culture in Germany, I think that it is a special thing. You remember a long time ago there was the Second World War and Germany did not played such a good role in that. And when the new constitution for Germany was brought up the people who did it had really the best ambitions and they understood that the culture is a very important tool to raise the minds of people and to create more understanding or cooperation.

So in this time there were some institutions installed or build and I think this creates in Germany a general basis or a ground for a good acceptance of artistic and cultural work. Berlin has a special situation. You remember West Berlin, it was this island in the eastern country and no industry would be keen to come here and invest. It was too insecure from the economic point of view. But the city needed something to attract the people. So they did some very special things and young people liked to come to Berlin and they gathered and created ideas and projects. The city was well known for high quality of culture in many levels like opera houses, like co-called off-culture and places like us were accepted somehow.

After the reunification it became really difficult because all the money went into the huge effort to bring these two parts of country together again. And a lots of subsides were taken away or you got less money. There was very little project funding and like ufaFabrik we had some hard times and we had to reduce our ambitions. We had no money anymore for international festivals, for big events and we had to find solutions to make it on a more lower level somehow.
Because of this, I think in Germany is not that much touched by the actual crisis. The cuts of the cultural budget had happened 20 years before and we are already used to this. And I think that is the reason why we now are not so much shocked or we do not suffer so much. It happened already some years before in Germany. From my point of view you could say that it all goes in circles, you know. There are countries that have now good conditions and others very bad and maybe ten years later it is all the opposite. So do not worry too much, you know. Money will come and money will go but we have to survive. 

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