7.3 Status and partnerships of public cultural institutions
In recent years, numerous types and models for partnerships between public cultural institutions and private firms emerged in Germany. However, most cultural institutions, including the largest ones, are still exclusively state-run. Permanent co-operation and co-financing arrangements have been reached mainly for smaller institutions at local level, i.e. between local businesses and the respective city administration. There are now more and more examples of institutionalised cooperation in the realisation and maintenance of larger institutions such as the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich and the NRW-Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft in Düsseldorf, where the Länder, the municipalities and private firms / patrons are permanent sponsors. Some Länder, like Lower Saxony, abandoned the approach to finance institutions via civil society organisations by regaining direct control.
The wealth of vibrant cultural institutions in all of Germany's regions – a number of which are renowned throughout Europe – is a product of German history. Following each profound societal change (in 1918, in 1945 and – in eastern Germany – in 1990), the Länder and the municipalities reaffirmed their responsibility for theatres, orchestras and museums. While the most important public theatres and museums still enjoy fairly stable means of public support, the increasingly severe financial problems of the Länder and the municipalities have prompted, in recent years, an ongoing nationwide debate on a reform of public cultural institutions – see chapter 7.1 – as well as of wage and salary scales at theatres and orchestras (whose levels are sometimes overestimated in public debates).