Merkel orders huge cash boost for arts in Berlin

Merkel orders huge cash boost for arts in Berlin


norman lebrecht

April 23, 2017

It is reported that the Merkel government is on the verge of pumping an  extra 25.7 million Euros of federal funds into Berlin’s cultural institutions.

Seven million have been earmarked for the Berlin Philharmonic, lesser amounts for the opera houses.

Read here.

Counterpoint: The case for shifting arts money to the regions.



  • alec johnston says:

    Maybe the orchestras that have been closed down or will be closed down outside of the capital will not be rejoicing. The main orchestra in Finance Minister Schäuble`s home province was closed down last year.

    • Suzanne says:

      The orchestra you are probably referring to was a radio orchestra and was part of a public broadcasting corporation that chose (badly) to fuse two radio orchestras together. Many wished that politicians, including Schäuble, would have put more pressure on the radio bosses to find a different solution, but the fact remains that Schäuble and the national government have no direct control over the broadcasting budget of the Südwestrundfunk.

  • Ungeheuer says:

    Good for Berlin, good for Merkel. She needs all the help she can get after helping set Europe on fire. We shall see what happens in France.

    • Holly Golightly says:

      She’s very canny getting the support of the luvvies through arts funding, knowing that no matter what she does to invite the world into Europe the bien pensants will continue to support her. Politics 101. But not so flash for those who aren’t protected through living in the better areas of Berlin or elsewhere. Seems to me I’ve heard this story over and over and over.

  • Hanns Wurst says:

    Murkle should be cutting the punitive and strangulating German tax levels – including the “temporary solidarity contribution” for rebuilding in the former DDR, which has been in force since 1991– rather than spending even more taxpayers’ money on whatever she thinks will buy votes in the upcoming election.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Not knowing the context of other subsidies towards Berlin’s famed musical institutions, I am surprised that an orchestra receives higher subsidies than opera houses. Further info will be appreciated.

    • Cynucal Bystander says:

      Byt we’re talking about the BPO. Aren’t their music stands made of solid gold?

    • Max Grimm says:

      Not really. The state currently supports Berlin’s opera houses and the Staatsballett, which are all under the umbrella of the foundation Oper in Berlin with ~ €142 million, compared to €17 million for the Berliner Philharmoniker.
      The breakdown from two or three years ago for example was:
      – Staatsoper Berlin €45m
      – Deutsche Oper €39m
      – Komische Oper €30m
      – Berliner Philharmoniker €15.6m
      (The Staatsballett Berlin was supported with between €8.5m and€9m during the same time period)

    • Peter says:

      Wondering if Berlin Phil needs the money for their ailing digital concert hall, maybe Deutsche Bank – a troubled institution themselves atm – doesn’t finance the digital concert hall for much longer?
      AFAIK digital concert hall does not break even, cost vs. revenue wise.

      • Max Grimm says:

        “AFAIK digital concert hall does not break even, cost vs. revenue wise.”

        Not quite. Robert Zimmermann, one of the directors of the Berlin Phil Media GmbH, claims they break even (ie. not making any loss) but they are not generating net profit.
        According to Zimmermann, roughly half of the revenue goes toward paying royalties to performers and copyright holders and the rest is invested back into the DCH “for technological infrastructure, generating new content and producing programs”.

        As for Deutsche Bank, they stopped being the DCH’s sponsor a year or two ago. The initial deal between the Berliner Phil and DB was that DB would finance the DCH until it was self-sustaining (which now seems to be the case). Since then, I believe, the orchestra has entered into a cooperation/sponsorship agreement with Panasonic.