Bavaria doubles its subsidies to culture

The Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder has announced a ‘rescue package’ for the cultural sector. The emergency fund fors state spending on arts will rise immediately from 90 million Euros to 200 million.

‘Bavaria is a country of culture,’ said Söder. ‘We live with and from culture.’



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  • Kulturnation. In spite of Regietheater and Klangkunst, and in spite of many other customs which provoke criticism, Germany is the heart of Europe in the sense of cultural awareness – closely followed by France, in spite of Boulezbianism, La Défense and Johnny Hallyday.

    • John,

      Russian culture is good as well. Music, ballet, theatre, choirs, poetry, great authors etc. and they are very proud of it.

      • Entirely true. Even Stalin loved classical music, especially Mozart. He honored the art form by directly intervening into composers’ lives and work habits.

        Alas, Russia is not a really European country, and does not want to be. Poor Russians.

  • Fantastic to hear that Germany (in this case Bavaria) is supporting its culture so strongly.

    And then, here in the UK, whilst the government announced that their various subsidies to protect jobs would cover 95% of the workforce, a recent Musicians’ Union survey brought out the shocking statistic that 38% of musicians (not the high earning stars, but the thousands of freelance, jobbing orchestral players and chorus singers who make up 70% of the UK’s leading orchestras, choirs and ensembles, the jazzers in pubs and clubs, the bands on the road, etc) are not covered by either the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme or the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

    UK musicians can fall into that 5% gap because they:
    – are newly self-employed;
    – are self-employed for less than 50% of the time (there are good reasons why if people mix and match fulltime earning across several areas of music, i.e. mixing teaching and performing they can fall into that category);
    – have yearly profits of over £50,000 (for those unfamiliar with the scheme, if someones earns £49,999 they get maximum support, but if someone else earns £50,001 they get not one penny, which seems particularly harsh);
    – operate through a Limited Company (where even if they earn less than £50,000 they don’t qualify for any support – harsh again);
    – or they have taken time out due to maternity or parental leave.

    Musicians in the UK are being hit very hard – we learn from colleagues in Germany, France, Netherlands and other countries across Europe that their goverments are supporting their performing artists far better.

    As a final economic and employment statistic, UK music adds £5.5 billion to the national economy and employs 140,000 people. The fishing industry contributes £1.4 billion and employs 24,000 people.

    • I think you should take-out the Netherlands, where culture is a mere hobby. The support for musicians in NL is a humiliating tip.

      • I am not qualified to comment on the Dutch’s attitude towards their culture, even though my own, wonderful experience as a frequent visitor to their museums, galleries and concert halls would lead me to believe they value their culture more than just an expensive hobby.

        In terms of government support for performing artists in the Netherlands, the temporary extra support known as Tozo (tijdelijke overbruggingsregeling zelfstandig ondernemers) has been made available to self-employed persons working in arts and culture in NL.

        Here’s what the Tozo support means for self-employed individuals:

        1. Income support. The government will supplement the income of those who’s income has been decimated by the corona crisis up to the guaranteed income minimum, which can amount to a maximum of around €1,500 per month. This support does not have to be repaid, and there is no capital or partner test.


        2. A loan for business capital up to a maximum amount of €10,157. One does have to repay this loan, but it is possible to request a delay of payment obligation.

        The scheme comes into effect retroactively on 1 March 2020, and will remain in place at least until 1 June 2020.

        Hardly a humiliating tip in my opinion.

        • The income support is only for a couple of months and a new rule means that the income of the partner will be assessed; if this is enough to survive for both, there won’t be any support. Also, with these kind of initiatives, it looks fine on the outside, but the process of application will show numerous obstacles which reduce eligibility, since for the authorities applicants are suspect and probably fraudulent until the contrary is proven. Don’t forget that Holland = Germany minus the plusses (which shows already in the languages).

  • The *regular* cultural budget of the City of Munich is even higher. For fiscal year 2020 it is 232.4 million Euros. That will bring the total for Bavaria to 432 million Euros for a population of 13 million.

    The NEA spends about $150 million for 328 million people. That’s why Munich has 7 full time orchestras with 52 week seasons and 2 full time 52 week opera houses.

    And why LA, by contrast, has only one full time orchestra and an opera with the equivalent of about a 6 weeks season. Same for Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston, Phoenix, etc. NYC is only slightly better with two full time orchestras and one full time opera house–the only full time opera house in the country compared to Germany which has 83 for one quarter the population.

    The lack in the USA is caused an unmitigated form of capitalism that has almost no concept of the common good, and thus does not allow for substantial public arts funding programs like ALL other developed nations have. The country has trouble even maintaining its basic infrastructure like roads and water systems. Fortunately, Bernie Sanders has managed to at least raise some consciousness about this problem.

    • Your analysis is quit right. How else could people who consider themselves decent regard health care as a business before and above all else? We know they turn out people who need care and who cannot pay.

      And who cannot get insurance because that is a total scam whereby almost from first breath people are developing things that exclude them from coverage under their twisted rules.

      Profit is The American Dream. Who else could turn their much-vaunted “Christianity” (Which Christ would not recognise through a magnifying glass at close range) into mega-businesses? Full of hucksters and frauds? Other Christian churches may have some sins to answer for (and some land holdings) but they are not answerable to the SEC.

  • Ah yes, Our Germany, country of culture, beer, pretzels, Dachau, Beethoven, Bach. Brahms and Bergen Belsen. The cultured folk who gave us Auschwitz, Treblinka, Maidanek, Goehring, Himmler and Eichmann. Incomparable.

        • You must be a German.

          Maybe this could help a bit: it is unwise and intellectually dishonest to regard the German lands and their history and culture exclusively through the lens of the Brown Period. It is entirely unnecessary to let the barbarians, who are present in any society, but who got mobilized in the Germany of the twenties and thirties of the last century, define the cultural identity of a conglomeration of nations (! Germany consists of the Länder, and is not a ‘Reich’).

          Kant, Goethe, Beethoven, the von Humboldt brothers, Heine, Brahms, etc. etc. have nothing to do with the scum who did so much damage to the world.

  • Dear Mr. Lebrecht,

    I hope, I may make an important correction. Free State Bavaria’s art subsidies were not 90m, now 200m. These amounts are alone the “Rettungsschirm” (rescue umbrella) for the art and culture in Bavaria. The yearley subsidies of Bavarian culture institutions and the free culture scene are much, much, much higher.

    Gerhard von der Linde

  • The reality is, it’s not possible to get Help, because the Bavarian government ist unable to construct a Internetform to question for Help❗

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