Just in: Germany gets new culture minister

Just in: Germany gets new culture minister


norman lebrecht

December 15, 2013

Bernd Neumann, the most pro-culture minister in Europe, is heading for retirement at 72. His successor is going to be another CDU politician,  Monika Grütters. She has chaired the Bundestag culture and media committee and knows the brief as well as anyone.



  • ed says:

    Will she be willing and able to breathe new funding and life into Germany’s arts and music institutions, and stave off the merger of the SWR and Stuttgart Radio Symphony orchestras?

    • Simon says:

      She has no direct say in the radio orchestras issue. The orchestras depend on the SWR public broadcasting corporation, which is a more or less self governing body of the states of Rheinland-Pfalz and Baden-Württemberg.

      Generally, most cultural affairs are state issue in Germany, with the federal giving some additional funding in certain cases. This is why the federal culture minister is no full cabinet minister with an own ministry but a junior minister in the chancellor’s office.

      The only thing Ms. Grütters could do in the radio orchestras issue ist lobbying. There will probably be no federal money for them, as a) the radio corporations are financed by licence fees, direct government funding could raise doubts on their independence, and b) the radio corporations do have enough money, the SWR is just no longer willing to spend it on two orchestras.

  • william1951 says:

    The German government spends 2.4 billion Euros per year on music. That’s 3.3 billion dollars. Only 9.2% of that sum comes from the Federal Government. State governments offer 37.3% of the total, and municipal governments 53.6%. The Federal cultural minister serves more or less in a figure head position as an advocate for the arts, and less so as an actual funder.

    There is a very good document in English about the German funding of music here:


    This sort of Federalist system would best suit the USA, if it ever developed a public funding system like all other developed countries have long had. American culture is very regional in nature, and there are huge differences in regional political perspectives.

    One can only hope that sooner or later there will be a state that begins a comprehensive public system that will be successful and serve as a model that other states will want to imitate.

  • For all who see the picture of German music funding as particularly rosy, keep in mind that this is not at all the case for the “free scene” – musicians and presenters who are not employed by a state funded institution. These free and independent artists and facilitators are a significant motor for creativity and renewal. And these must fight it out amongst each other for tiny pots of occasional funding, all together with other arts forms. Berlin is especially dismal in this regard, and particularly so for classical.