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Germany increases culture budget by 7 per cent. But still lags behind the Netherlands.

It is obviously good news: the German federal culture minister is increasing the budget for culture by 148 million euros to 2.3 billion. At a time when, especially in the 'developed west', culture funding steadily declining (since 2010), such an increase is of course wonderful. For the Dutch, who point out with some regularity how well the arts are doing in Germany: per capita, our eastern neighbour still lags far behind us.

Converted, the central government in Germany spends 27 euros per capita on culture, per year. In the Netherlands, it is almost twice as much: 50 euros per inhabitant.


Now many people will say: but what about the states? True, but the total amounts prove rather difficult to track down. The fact remains that subsidies there mainly go to big urban figureheads, and that outside those cities there is almost no state-supported art to be experienced. What is certain is that the total German government subsidy for culture will not exceed 50 euros per capita.

What is different is the way people talk about art in Germany, and what the reasons are for increasing cultural subsidies. These are all much clearer and finer than here, with us. For instance, a lot of money goes to fighting the far right and measures to make the sector climate-neutral.


At a time when in Belgium entire companies are being disbanded and fewer and fewer permanent contracts are being issued to workers in the arts, in Friesland a cut of many per cent is threatening the provincial arts budget and in England the famous Arts Council with dissolution is threatened, the German measure is a welcome development.

Source: Artnet: Germany Bumps Up Culture Spending by 7 Percent to $2.4 Billion, Citing Link Between Arts and Democracy | Artnet News

Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

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