German clubs fight for recognition as cultural institutions

  • Published
    Thu, Feb 13, 2020, 12:05
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  • The status change would make clubs and music venues legally equivalent to concert halls, operas and theaters.
  • German clubs fight for recognition as cultural institutions image
  • German clubs are fighting to be classified as cultural institutions. Nightclubs are currently classified as entertainment venues, equating them with brothels and casinos. On Wednesday, a bipartisan group argued in front of a national parliament committee to reclassify clubs and live music venues as cultural institutions in Germany's Building Usage Ordinance, which would give them the same legal status as concert halls, operas and theaters. This would help protect clubs against gentrification. Already, venues are being driven out of urban areas because of high rents and investors who will not grant long-term leases. According to the Guardian, over 100 Berlin venues have closed in the past ten years, among them Griessmuehle and Farbfernseher in the last 12 months. By receiving cultural institution status, clubs and music venues would be preserved and protected under the city's and country's building codes and urban development plans. The argument for this is rooted in the club scene's unique contribution to contemporary culture. Nightlife has made Berlin, for example, a cultural destination, drawing thousands of artists and tourists to the city and generating €1.5 billion euros each year. In turn, new creative industries, like galleries and record shops, are spawned around nightlife—a belief that led Tresor founder Dimitri Hegemann to open his new Tresor West club in Dortmund. "The difference between opera and club is the style of music," said Pamela Schobess, chair of Berlin's Club Commission and one of the activists representing nightlife on Wednesday. The outcome of the ruling is still unknown. This post has been updated to reflect that this campaign is to benefit all clubs in Germany, not just in Berlin. Alex Neuschulz contributed to this report.