The German government is providing around one billion euros for the NEUSTART KULTUR programme. The goal is to crank up cultural life, which has been severely restricted by the coronavirus pandemic, thus creating new employment opportunities for artists as swiftly as possible.
Preserving cultural infrastructure
"To this end we must preserve cultural locations and venues. And that is precisely the focus of the economic recovery programme NEUSTART KULTUR that the Cabinet has today adopted," continued Monika Grütters, Minister of State and Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. "We want to provide assistance, help cover the additional needs of facilities and projects, and foster alternatives, particularly digital activities." With the programme and other assistance packages worth billions of euros, the German government is making a contribution that is unrivalled at international level, she underscored.
The programme earmarks funding for the following measures in particular:
- Pandemic-related investment in cultural facilities
Some 250 million euros are earmarked to equip cultural facilities for reopening. The funds are to benefit in particular facilities whose regular operations are not primarily financed by the public purse. They are intended, for instance, to enable the facilities to implement hygiene concepts, establish online ticketing systems and modernise ventilation systems.
- Preserving and strengthening cultural infrastructure and emergency aid
Up to 480 million euros are to help the many small and medium-sized privately funded cultural venues and projects to resume their work and commission freelancers and one-person self-employed outfits. These funds are broken down by branches:
For music, i.e. live music venues, festivals, organisers and promoters a sum of 150 million euros is available.
For dance and drama another 150 million euros are earmarked, covering private theatres, festivals, organisers and promoters.
A total of 120 million euros will be available to the film branch. The funds are to benefit primarily cinemas; additional costs in production and distribution will also be financed.
For other areas such as galleries, sociocultural centres, books and publishing, a sum of 30 million euros is available.
- Promoting alternatives including online activities
A sum of 150 million euros is available to foster alternatives, including online activities. This will benefit Museum 4.0 projects and many new activities that are part of the federal government’s digitalisation campaign, which targets communication, networking and understanding in the cultural sector.
- Support for federally funded cultural facilities and projects
100 million euros are available for cultural facilities that receive regular federal funding to compensate for lost income and additional expenses caused by the pandemic. In the case of facilities and projects that are jointly funded by federal and state governments or local authorities, federal government will provide its share of co-financing.
- Assistance for private radio broadcasters totalling up to 20 million euros are envisaged. They have been hit hard by the loss of advertising revenue and still have high staffing costs in view of the enormous need to keep the public informed.
Today the Cabinet also adopted the government’s draft for a second supplementary budget for 2020, which includes the funding for the NEUSTART KULTUR programme. The two houses of the German parliament, the Bundestag and the Bundesrat should approve the supplementary budget at the start of July, after which the programme will start immediately.
Monika Grütters pushes for cultural facilities to open
The new programme, and the assistance already provided by federal and state governments and by local authorities must now be met by "creative opening strategies and concrete steps to reopen" said Monika Grütters.
Book shops and museums, memorial sties and galleries are already able to reopen, and they are to be followed by other facilities. "Culture is not a luxury that we can only afford when times are good," stressed Monika Grütters. In times of crisis more than ever, they contribute to active diversity and vibrant democracy.