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Germany/ 8.1 Support to artists and other creative workers  

8.1.3 Grants, awards, scholarships

Grants and prizes are instruments of "individual artist support", adopted both by public bodies at a municipal, federal state (Länder) and Federal level (Bund) and also by private and civil society organisations. A wide range of public and private foundations are important in this context (e.g. the art and culture foundations of the individual federal states (Länder)), but also, for example, the autonomously administered Federal Cultural Funds (Deutscher Literaturfonds, Stiftung Kunstfonds, Fonds Soziokultur, Fonds Darstellenden Künste, Deutscher Übersetzerfonds), which distribute, subject to application, funding of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (Federal Culture Foundation). The web portal Kulturpreise Online and the Deutsches Informationszentrum Kulturförderung ( provide information on the range of individual support funding available from awards and foundation grants.

Cultural awards and regular scholarships for artists are a particularly noteworthy support instrument; during the last three decades, their number and importance increased considerably: In 1978 the Handbuch der Kulturpreise (Handbook of Cultural Awards) listed 776 prizes and scholarships; by 1985 the number had already risen to 1 329 and by 1994 to just under 2 000. The 2000 edition of the handbook listed 2 400 awards.

The 2010 online version of the Handbook of Cultural Awards ( shows what may be interpreted as a possible saturation: It arrived at over 2 500 awards and scholarships (combining 4 500 individual measures under one name, e.g. for established artists and newcomers). General cultural awards account for 17% of these, followed by literature with 14%, the visual arts and media / journalism with 13% each, socio-culture with 12% and music with 11%. Recent years have also seen a marked increase of prizes and scholarships endowed by private individuals and firms, especially in the media. Nevertheless, the financial weight of awards and other forms of regular individual support for artists and writers is rather limited; it can be estimated to reach approximately 1% of the total expenditure on culture in Germany.In many cases, the symbolic and publicity value of such measures will be more important for the recipient than the actual income provided.

The further increase of cultural awards is documented at the online version of the handbook of 2013, which listed 6889 awards. In particular at the fields of media and literature various prizes are awarded – at each of the two nearly 14 %.

Chapter published: 12-09-2016

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