According to Article 30 of the German Basic Law, “cultural sovereignty” lies with the federal states (Länder), and is regarded as the core of the Länder’ sovereignty (see chapter 1.2.1). Each of the 16 federal states has its own cultural policies, which are characterized by their respective legislation, their own priorities and differently structured funding:
All of the 16 federal states (Bundesländer)have their own Parliaments, Parliamentary Committees that deal with cultural affairs and Ministries responsible for culture. As a rule, culture is combined at the Ministerial level with other policy areas, mainly education or science. In such cases, there are specific departments for cultural affairs. Only in a few federal states, responsibility for culture is located in the State Chancellery or Senate Chancellery.
On 1 September 2006, a reform of the federal system came into force. This has involved a redistribution of competences between the federal government and the federal states (Länder) in some policy areas. In the field of culture, the federal government (or level) assumed more responsibilities for culture in the capital, Berlin, and for the conservation of cultural heritage. German representation in the field of cultural policy within the European Union (Article 23, paragraph 6 of the Basic Law) has been given greater weight.
In October 2018, the federal states decided to establish an independent Conference of Ministers of Culture (Kultur-MK), which began its work on 1 January 2019. The Conference of Ministers of Culture deals with matters of cultural policy of supra-regional importance with the aim of forming a common opinion , as well as representing common concerns vis-à-vis the Federal Government. The first chairman is Hamburg’s Senator for Culture and the Media, Carsten Brosda, and the chairmanship rotates according to the rotation model of the Minister-Presidents’ Conference.