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German government pledges €2.5 billion in emergency funds for the arts

With a gesture which cultural minister Monika Grütters has called a ‘recognition of the [cultural] sector’s importance’, this fund will give cultural institutions and venues the financial certainty they need to organise events this summer. The fund, approved on May 26th, supplements the €2 billion already allocated to help the arts during the pandemic.

Konzerthaus Berlin. Photo: Alexander Naumann via Pixabay

The new fund is effectively an insurance scheme, which can be drawn on in case of losses resulting from capped audience members or last-minute cancellations and postponement, for up to €8 million per event. Finance minister Olaf Schultz said of the fund: ‘it’s coming at exactly the right time. I am optimistic that a diverse cultural life can soon start up again in our cities and communities.’

For those hoping to visit Germany this summer, the fund will likely influence capacity guidelines as the cultural scene comes back to life. While currently, only open-air venues can host spectators with negative tests or proof of vaccination, from 1st July, theatres and cinemas can open indoors for up to 500 people and be eligible for the fund.

From 1st August, events of up to 2000 people will be covered, and from 1st September, events of more than 2000 people.

It’s a huge a victory for the musicians, dancers and actors who have campaigned hard in recent months behind the slogan #allesdichtmachen (‘close it all down’) against the harsh restrictions which disproportionately impacted the cultural sector.

You can view the campaign, featuring Volker Bruch (Babylon Berlin) and Heike Makatsch (Love Actually) here.


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