The German Government Is Offering $3 Billion to Struggling Arts Event Organizers as the Country Plans Its Reopening

Germany has served as a model country in its arts funding over the past year.

German culture minister Monika Grütters. Photo by Günther Ortmann/ullstein bild via Getty Images.
German culture minister Monika Grütters. Photo by Günther Ortmann/ullstein bild via Getty Images.

The German government will create a special €2.5 billion ($3 billion) fund to support cultural events as the country begins to plan its reopening after more than a full calendar year of closures.

The money is being made available to concert halls, theaters, cinemas, and other cultural venues throughout the country. It is intended to help event organizers move on with their plans despite reduced profits because of visitor restrictions. Currently, only open-air cinema and theater events are allowed to take place.

“The federal government is helping the culture industry get back on its feet,” federal finance minister Olaf Scholz said. “In this pandemic, artists have had a special burden to bear.”

The money, which is capped at €100,000 per event, will initially be made available to smaller venues before it is scaled upwards. Events scheduled for 500 people, for example, will get money from July 1 onwards; organizers of events for 2,000 people will receive funding beginning August 1; and larger events will get money from September 1. The government will organize a centralized platform for applicants to submit proposals.

Due to restrictions on group gatherings, many events this summer would be financially impossible otherwise.

It is a major sign of hope for the cultural sector, which has been in limbo in recent months as the easing of restrictions has been slow to come. By now, 42 percent of Germans have received one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and 16 percent are fully vaccinated.

Another part of the funding will be allocated to insure event organizers should they need to cancel any large-scale events. In that case, the government will fund up to 50 percent of their proven costs.

German culture minister Monika Grütters called the plan a “third protection shield” after the government’s €2 billion ($2.4 billion) federal program, New Start Culture, which helped artists make ends meet during lockdown.


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