Fine arts, performing arts, literature, music and film

Key objectives of the measure:

Theatre and dance
In the 2009/2010 season, there were 140 publicly financed theatres with 866 performance venues in 126 cities in Germany. With diverse events, these theatres welcomed some 20 million visitors during that period. Furthermore, in numerous cities over 80,000 additional audience seats were made available in more than 200 private theatres that are partially supported through public funding. Moreover, there are independent theatres, children and youth theatres, dance and theatre establishments with guest performances, production houses and amateur theatres. Within this theatre landscape, the full diversity of performing arts is presented: drama, opera, operetta, musicals, puppetry and dance. Most theatres offer special rates for certain population groups, such as children and young people (e.g. school performances) and for senior citizens. Particularly in larger cities, numerous theatres cultivate international and intercultural dialogue through their own productions, projects and outreach activities.

In the music sector, Germany’s 132 publicly funded orchestras held concerts attended by some 4,470,000 patrons in the 2009/2010 season. In the age of globalisation, the diversity of cultural expressions has become visible through world music since the mid-1980s. To this end, Land North Rhine-Westphalia led the establishment of a nationwide network for the organisation of the “creole – World Music in Germany” competition starting in 2006. Within this context, a first comprehensive survey of music ensembles, musical forms, styles and techniques, pressing issues and aesthetic tendencies was executed. As a second step, selected music ensembles received funding to further develop their work – from its conception to its international promotion – through practical exchanges (Funding Project Homeland Melodies 2009). Exchange of information and academic reflection were the main focus of the 2010 Global Flux Conference in order to develop perspectives and recommendations for global music to sustainably take root within North Rhine-Westphalia’s music scene.

The Federal Government, along with the Länder, promotes the German musical landscape through their support of large-scale establishments such as the Berliner Festspiele, the Rundfunk Orchester und Chöre GmbH Berlin or the Bayreuther Festpiele. The Federal Government also supports initiatives like the New Music Network, which was financed from 2008-2011 through the German Federal Cultural Foundation. Since 2007, through a publicprivate partnership with the music industry, the Music Initiative has been helping young musicians and up-and-coming rock, pop and jazz bands get a foothold in the market. In addition, of particular interest to the Federal Government is the strengthening of amateur music, through its long-time support of the German Music Council, the umbrella association for all music organisations in Germany.

Fine and performing arts
Access to diverse exhibition possibilities is vital to contemporary artistic production. For this reason, exhibition halls such as art spaces, art associations, galleries, museums and privately-run exhibition spaces for contemporary art are supported through public funding. Support is also given to symposia and workshops, which play and important role and enable the public to gain a special insight into the artistic creation process, which in turn sparks an interest in contemporary art. Important instruments for promoting individual artists are work grants, prizes and project support (catalogues, exhibitions, travel costs). In general, the respective Länder and Federal Associations of Artists of the Fine Arts receive public support for the implementation of concrete project proposals. Part of the support received by the Associations from the Länder or Federal Government goes to providing professional and legal advice to artists, extending exhibition opportunities and disseminating information on nationwide and international artists’ competitions, grants and residencies. The Federal Government offers talented artists living in Germany the opportunity to further develop their skills through study stays abroad (German Academy in Rome at Villa Massimo, the German Study Centre in Venice, Villa Romana in Florence). The projects Danceplan Germany (Tanzplan Deutschland), promoted dance exchange and diffusion between 2006-2010, while the Heritage Dance Fund (Tanzfonds Erbe) and Partner Dance Partner (Tanzfonds Partner), for example, strengthened links and exchanges, as well as dance artists’ networks.

With public support, myriad literature associations, initiatives, literature memorials and museums carry out literary and cultural work in Germany. This involves both the cultivation of literary heritage as well as the development of the contemporary literary scene, which is influenced both by writers as well as by readers of all ages.

The Länder and local governments foster the dynamic development of literature by focusing their efforts on the support of freelance authors as well as on young talent in order to make space for new ideas. Grants, prizes, competitions and writing workshops are awarded to recognise and stimulate literary achievements. Literature houses offer a good presentation  venue for diverse literary works.

For example, for four years the Länder Hesse and Thuringia have made a sustainable contribution to the promotion of young literary talent through the joint competition “Hesse- Thuringia Young Literature Forum”. The Thuringia literature grant “Harald Gerlach” and the Thuringia Literature Prize are additional instruments to support individual contemporary authors. Since 2003, young authors from ten European countries have been invited to meet up with their editors for a professional exchange and presentation throughout Schleswig- Holstein’s Literature Houses during the “European First Novel Festival”.

Film promotion
Public film promotion contributes to the sustainable development of Germany’s film sector. Along with the film sector-financed German Federal Film Board and the film promotion institutions of the Länder, which handle a large share of Germany’s film promotion activities, the Federal Government is also substantially engaged in this task. In recent years it has decidedly improved the economic conditions and Germany’s attractiveness as a production location. Additionally, public support contributes to the quality and diversity of films that are culturally valuable but cannot be financed by the market. Cinematographic heritage is also an important component of cultural diversity.

The most important engine of the German film industry’s development is the German Federal Film Fund, established by the Federal Government. Since 2007, this promotion measure has provided an additional EUR 60 million (USD 88.5 million) per year in funding. By the end of 2011, over 520 film productions had been supported with funds totalling some EUR 294 million (USD 392 million). The German Film Prize has been awarded in several categories every year since 1951, and is Germany’s highest endowed cultural prize with some EUR 3 million (USD 4 million) in prize money. The Federal Government also funds the German Short Film Award, the German Screenplay Award, the Distributor Prize and the Cinema Programme Prize, which typically honours smaller art house cinemas for their outstanding annual programme. The Federal Government also supports international film festivals such as the Berlinale, the International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film and the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen.

In order to preserve the diversity of the German cinema landscape, the Federal Government has promoted the digitisation of cinemas since 2011. Along with the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, the German Federal Film Board and the Länder have made resources available for upgrading cinemas with digital technology. Small, lowrevenue cinemas including art house cinemas and those that, due to their size, are unable to cover the high cost of conversion on their own, are a particular focus of both programmes.

Goal(s) of UNESCO's 2005 Convention
Cultural Domain(s)
Cinema/ Audiovisual Arts
Performing Arts
Visual Arts