Berlin's Culture Under Threat

Berlin's vibrant arts and culture scene may face a dismal future due to a court ruling last week denying the German capital federal support to pay off its 60 billion Euro debt.

The theatres, galleries, opera houses and concert halls that have helped propel a reunified Berlin to the top of the world's to-go-to art centres face budget cuts following the Federal Constitutional Court's rejection of the city's bid for emergency federal aid.

With the highest unemployment rate in Germany, Berlin has relied on heavily-subsidized cultural attractions to deal with debt accured through an expensive beautification process and heavy restructuring of East and West, following reunification in 1990. Restructuring alone cost the city more than 50 million Euros. On top of that, the city now pays 2.5 billion Euros in interest on its debts annually.

Berlin's mayor, Klaus Wowereit, was urged by the federal government to make cuts and sell assets to cope with higher debt payments. Wowereit, relected as mayor last month, told German magazine Spiegel that despite tightening the city's finanical belt, he is positive that the city will stay "sexy."


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Kevin Kelly
United Kingdom

As a recent first time visitor to Berlin I can honestly say how impressed I was with the city and the Berliners that I came into contact with during our week's stay. My girlfriend and I loved the place and plan to be back again before the end of this year - think of all those lovely Christmas markets!! I highly recommend a visit to those who have never been. Berlin is a top class European city and is not to be missed. Thanks for the hospitality Berlin Kevin & Iris (London, England)

Reply Oct 8th, 2007