3.4.4 Direct professional co-operation
In addition to the longstanding international town twinning arrangements, communities in all the federal states (Länder) have entered into bilateral or multilateral regional partnerships with comparable territorial communities or authorities of other countries, primarily – but not exclusively – in Europe. This cross-border cultural exchange is particularly lively in the so-called "Euregios" (28 European regions are involved including Germany), e.g. EuRegioSaar-Lor-Lux-Rhein, Euregio Egrensis, Euroregion Erzgebirge e. V., Euroregion Elbe-Labe, and the Euroregion Spree-Neiße-Bober).
Since the 1970s, many private actors, professional organisations (e.g. of theatres, museums or libraries) and informal networks have started to develop their own international relations and exchange programmes
The Foreign Office is not directly involved in funding such programmes but allocates the major part of its funds to the mediators of foreign cultural policy such as the Goethe Institute and the Institute for Foreign Relations IfA. The Goethe Institute promotes the study of German abroad and encourages international cultural exchange through cultural events and festivals for film, dance, music, theatre, exhibitions, literature and translation. Additionally, the Foreign Office supports the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the funding organisation for the international exchange of students and scientists, e.g. the "Artists in Berlin" programme which awards grants to foreign artists, in visual arts, literature, and music, to work in Berlin for one year.
Furthermore, the Foreign Office supports major cultural projects with considerable impact on foreign cultural policy. Besides artistic quality, major emphasis is put on regional prioritisation, sustainability as well as partner-like cooperation with institutions and prominent individuals in the host country. Yet another significant field of work is the support of cultural projects from developing countries or the participation of artists from these countries in cultural events in Germany. Particularly important in this context is the House of the Cultures of the World (Haus der Kulturen der Welt), which also receives grants from the Foreign Office for jointly organised programmes which include concerts, readings, exhibitions and symposia.
Chapter published: 30-08-2016