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Culture & the media

Vibrant Nation of Culture

Germany’s reputation as a great European cultural nation is based on famous names, its very vibrant art scene, and cosmopolitan diversity.
Ben Becker Theaterschauspieler
© picture alliance/Geisler-Fotopress

Germany sees itself as one of the great European cultural nations. A unique feature here is the federal structure of culture, which has resulted in extraordinary variety in terms of cultural outlets and their sponsors. The emphasis of the country’s federal tradition was important to the fathers and mothers of the Basic Law. Not only the Federal Republic of Germany founded in 1949, but also the Germany that was reunified in 1990 has consciously upheld the federal traditions and left the federal states firmly responsible for cultural policy. One of the effects of Germany having arisen from many small and medium-sized states and free cities, there are, amongst other things, around 142 theatres and 130 professional orchestras (which are in some instances paired with public radio stations). In addition, more than 7,200 museums and exhibition venues form an unprecedented gallery scene.

Steady growth: companies in the cultural and creative sectors

Source: BMWi

From Bach to Bauhaus

Germany’s reputation as a major cultural nation rests on the great names of the past, such as Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms in music, Goethe, Schiller, and Thomas Mann in literature. In the 1920s, the Bauhaus movement succeeded in developing a defining, pioneering formal idiom that still resonates worldwide today. Moreover, there are exceptional examples of contemporary artistic positions in all genres of art – in particular in painting with artists such as Gerhard Richter, Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer and Rosemarie, as well as in photography with Andreas Gursky, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Candida Höfer.

Cultural production has increasingly embraced outside influences on the basis of its own traditions and developed a new narrative. Young artists from migratory backgrounds have found expressive means, both poetic and musical, to respond to the encounter and fusion of different cultural backgrounds. The work done at the Maxim-Gorki-Theater in Berlin, for example, as well as a large part of contemporary musical culture and literary production are representative of post-migratory art.

Gross value added by sector, 2018, in billion €

Source: BMWi

International events

The Berlin Film Festival, the International Frankfurt Book Fair, the Bayreuth Festival, the Berlin Theatertreffen, Rock am Ring, and the Ruhr Triennale are among the most important cultural events in Germany.

In Germany, there are a total of 46 monuments listed under UNESCO protection – in Europe only Italy has more World Heritage sites. The Humboldt Forum, which will open in the rebuilt Berlin Palace, will form a new cultural centre in the capital. Characterised by cosmopolitanism, it will enable an international exchange of knowledge and intercultural dialogue.

Worldwide, the Goethe Institute provides access to the German language and culture in 159 branches in 98 countries.