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Germany/ 5.1 General legislation  

5.1.2 Division of jurisdiction

With regard to the division of competence between the federal authorities and the Länder, the Federal Constitution stipulates that "except as otherwise provided or permitted by this Constitution, the exercise of state powers and the discharge of state functions is a matter for the Länder" (Article 30). Legislative and executive powers must therefore be expressly conferred on federal authorities by individual provisions in the Federal Constitution, which has resulted in some responsibilities of relevance for cultural policy. One example is cultural relations with third countries.

There is not much dispute about the role of federal authorities to represent the country in culture matters and particularly in the federal capital Berlin. Other Federal responsibilities relate to the protection of the national and world heritage, the care for specific sites, the protection, acquisition and return of cultural goods of national importance, the funding of important cultural institutions in the Eastern part of Germany (so-called "light towers") and the promotion of cultural unity in the country. Also, the Federal Cultural Foundation (Kulturstiftung des Bundes) falls under the competence of the Federal Government. However, plans to merge this foundation with the Cultural Foundation of the Länder (Kulturstiftung der Länder) were revived by the grand coalition government elected in 2005, but failed at the end of 2006. Film funding and the governance of the Foundation for Prussian Heritage are matters to be addressed in co-operation with the Länder.

Other public responsibilities in the cultural sphere are usually regulated by the Länder. However, the Länder transferred the majority of responsibility for cultural affairs to the local level (cities, towns and counties), as can be read explicitly in some of their respective Constitutions and municipal codes.

Competence of the municipalities in the cultural field is, on the one hand, enshrined in Article 28.II of the Federal Constitution as well as in various Land constitutions and county and municipal codes.


Chapter published: 04-09-2013

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              Council of Europe/ERICarts, "Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, 15th edition", 2014 | ISSN 2222-7334