7. Financing and support
Last update: February, 2022
Cultural funding in the Federal Republic of Germany is based on several pillars. In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, culture - and thus also its public funding - is first and foremost a matter for the local communities. Only when a cultural policy task exceeds the municipal power in scope or matter does the state become active as a sponsor or promoter. Therefore, the municipalities bear the largest share of public cultural funding, followed by the Länder. The federal government has to bear only a smaller share due to its limited cultural policy competences (see chapter 4.1.2).
Until the turn of the millennium, different regional authorities worked with different definitions of the concept of culture (e.g. for scientific museums and libraries) and with different calculation methods (net or gross expenditure principle), which led to very different data on public cultural expenditure. A standardisation of cultural statistics was partially achieved in the preparation of the second culture financial report, the "Culture Finance Report 2003" (http://www.miz.org/downloads/dokumente/240/Kulturfinanzbericht_2003.pdf). For the first time, the Federal Government, the Länder and the municipalities agreed on a common concept of culture. In doing so, they orientated themselves on the definitions of EUROSTAT and UNESCO, in order to also internationally be able to guarantee comparability. According to this, the following fields are now counted among the culturally relevant areas of responsibility: Theatre and music preservation, scientific and other museums; scientific and other libraries/ archives; monument protection and preservation; other cultural preservation; cultural administration; art colleges as well as foreign cultural policy. Culture-related areas include radio and television broadcasting; adult education centres and other continuing education as well as church affairs. In addition, the basic funds concept was selected for the expenditure concept. The subsequent cultural finance reports - published every two years from 2006 onwards - have retained the concept of culture, the basic funds concept and the central questions.
The discussions about harmonising cultural statistics were also taken up by the Enquete Commission of the German Bundestag. In its final report, "Culture in Germany", it submitted a proposal for the harmonisation of cultural statistics. In 2008, this proposal was discussed and at least partially introduced. Following the recommendation of the Enquete Commission, the Federal Government and the Länder commissioned the Federal Statistical Office in 2012 to develop uniform nationwide cultural statistics, the concept for which was drawn up between 2014 and 2016. The project was extended from 2017 to 2022 under the title "Nationwide Cultural Statistics". The goals of the first project phase were: to research, examine and evaluate existing official data for their usability for cultural statistical questions, to develop a set of instruments for sector-specific reporting and to develop indicators. The focus of the second project phase was on the creation of further sectoral reports and the provision of further indicators. The already published products of the two projects include:
- Culture financial reports (2014, 2016, 2018, 2020)
- Cultural Indicator Reports (2018, 2019, 2020)
- Divisional reports
- Music 2016
- Museums, Libraries and Archives 2017
- Building Culture, Monument Protection and Conservation 2018
- Film, Television and Radio 2019
- Socioculture and Arts Education 2020
- Visual Arts 2021
- Performing Arts 2021
- Special surveys (music festivals 2017). The following publications are planned for 2022: the Cultural Finance Report 2022, Cultural Indicators at a Glance, as well as the sector reports Literature and Press and Building Culture and Monument Preservation,
Nevertheless, there is no legal basis for cultural statistics in Germany - unlike in the education sector, for example, which has statistics ordered by federal and state law. Against the background of the approaching end of the above-mentioned projects on cultural statistics in Germany, their structural continuation and financing in Germany is currently being discussed.
With the aim of providing greater transparency about their cultural funding, some federal states, such as North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein, and also numerous municipalities, such as Stuttgart, Wuppertal, Neuss and Ulm, are now publishing cultural reports.
The source of the data presented here are the "Culture Finance Reports". Since 2000, they have been published by the statistical offices of the Federation and the Länder, initially every three years and since 2006 every two years. The work of the statistical offices in the field of cultural statistics is accompanied by a working group on cultural statistics consisting of representatives of the German Association of Cities and Towns, the German Federal Statistical Office and the German Federal Statistical Office.
Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, two state ministries of culture and other experts. The most recent version of the Culture Finance Report - the "Culture Finance Report2020" (https://www.destatis.de/DE/Themen/Gesellschaft-Umwelt/Bildung- Forschung-Kultur/Kultur/Publikationen/Downloads-Kultur/kulturfinanzbericht-1023002209004.pdf? blob=publicationFile= was published in December 2020. It contains the provisional ACTUAL data for all 3 local authorities from 2017; for the federal government and the Länder, the provisional actual is still available for 2018 and 2019 and the target for 2020.
According to the "Culture Finance Report 2020", the public sector (Federal Government, Länder and municipalities) spent a total of 11.4 billion euros on culture (theatre and music, libraries, museums, collections and exhibitions, monument protection and preservation, cultural affairs abroad, public art colleges, other cultural care and administration for cultural affairs) in 2017 (according to financial statistics in delimitation according to the basic funds concept). The municipalities provided a budget of 5.1 billion euros (44.4% of total public cultural expenditure), while the Länder provided 44.4 billion euros (38.7%). The federal government contributed a further 1.9 billion euros (17.0%) to public cultural funding.
In relation to Germany's economic power, public spending on culture reached a share of 0.35% of the gross domestic product in 2017. Overall, public budgets allocated 1.77% of their total budget to culture. Public cultural expenditure per inhabitant was 138.21 euros in 2015.
According to the "Culture Finance Reports", total public spending on culture has increased since 2005 as follows: EUR 7.98 billion (2005), EUR 9.36 billion (2010), EUR 9.39 billion (2011), EUR 9.44 billion (2012), EUR 9.84 billion (2013), 10.24 billion (2014), 10.41 billion (2015), 10.76 billion (2016) and 11.44 billion EUR (2017). Thus, public spending on culture in 2017 was EUR 3.44 billion more than in 2005, an increase of 43.1%.
Per capita expenditure also increased from EUR 98.20 (2005), EUR 116.65 on (2010) to EUR 116.84 (2011), EUR 117.23 (2012), EUR 121.80 (2013), EUR 126.12 (2014) 126.77 euros (2015), 130.42 (2016) and 138.21 euros (2017). This means that per capita public expenditure in 2017 was 40.01 euros more than in 2005, which corresponds to an increase of 40.7 per cent. In contrast, there was no continuous increase in the share of cultural expenditure in gross domestic product, which changed from 0.35 (2005), to 0.36 (2010), 0.35 (2011), 0.34 (2012), 0.35 (2013 and 2014), 0.34 (2015), 0.34 (2016) and 0.35% (2017).
A similar development can be seen in the share of public cultural expenditure in the total budget. This changed from 1.60 (2015), to 1.68 (2010 and 2011), 1.66 (2012), 1.67 (2013), 1.72 (2014),1.73 (2015), 1.72 (2016) and 1.77 (2017). In addition to public cultural expenditure, the public sector funded the cultural-related sector (i.e. adult education centres, other continuing education, church affairs as well as radio and television) with 2.2 2.0 billion euros in 2017. The Länder contributed 1.2 billion euros (54.4%), the federal government 0.65 billion euros (29.6%) and the municipalities 0.35 billion euros (15.9%).
In addition, the provisional actual figures for 2018 and 2019 and the target figures for 2020 are available for the federal and state levels. Federal cultural expenditure was €2.015 billion in 2018 and €2.123 billion in 2019 (provisional actual) and €2.432 billion in 2020 (target), while that of the Länder was €4.635 billion in 2018, €44.905 billion in 2019 (provisional actual) and €5.392 billion in 2020 (target).
Last update: February, 2022
Table 6. Public cultural expenditure by level of government, 2017
|Level of government||Total expenditure in billion EUR*||% share of total|
|State (central, federal)||1.940||16,96 %|
|Regional (provincial, Länder, etc.)||4.426||38,68 %|
|Local (municipal, incl. counties)||5.076||44,36 %|
Sources: Statistical Offices of the Federation and the Länder (2020): Kulturfinanzbericht 2020, Wiesbaden.
In 2017, the municipalities accounted for the largest share of public cultural expenditure with 44.36 per cent, followed by the Länder with 38.68 per cent, and the federal government's share was 16.98 per cent. An examination of the development of the respective shares shows that the share of the municipalities has remained almost constant since 2001 and ranged between 43.6 per cent (2003) and
45.5 per cent (2005). With one exception (2003), the share of the municipalities was always higher than that of the Länder. Since 2007 (43.0%), the share of the Länder has been falling steadily to 38.7% in 2017. The increasing role of the federal government in financing the cultural sector is also reflected in the development of the respective shares of the territorial authorities. While the federal government's share was 12.4 per cent in 2001, it rose continuously and reached 17.0 per cent in 2017.
Last update: February, 2022
Table 7: cultural expenditure and cultural related expenditures 2017 in Germany by federal level, federal state level and local level
|Field/Domain/Sub-domain||TOTAL||Federal level||Federal state level||Local level|
|in million EUR||in %||in million EUR||in %||in million EUR||in %||in million EUR||in %|
|Theatre and music||3942.8||34.5||68.2||3.5||1727.5||39.0||2147.1||42.3|
|Museums, collections, exhibitions||2182.7||19.1||462.9||23.9||608.3||13.7||1111.6||21.9|
|Conservation and preservation of hist. monuments||574.6||5.0||135.9||7.0||236.3||5.3||202.4||4.0|
|Cultural foreign affairs||686.0||6.0||684.9||35.3||1.1||0.0||0.0||0.0|
|Administration for cultural affairs||280.7||2.5||0.0||0.0||209.5||4.7||71.2||1.4|
|Public universities for arts and music||584.8||5.1||0.0||0.0||584.8||13.2||0.0||0.0|
|Other cultural activities||1579.4||13.8||256.3||13.2||617.3||13.9||705.7||13.9|
|Total cultural expenditure||11442.8||100.0||1940.4||100.0||4426.3||100.0||5076.1||100.0|
|Adult education centers||1164.0||52.76||302.3||46.2||549.4.549||45.7||312.3||88.0|
|Radio and television||337.3||15.3||334.4||51.1||2.8||0.2||0.0||0.0|
|Total culture related activities expenditure||2206.3||100.0||654.1||100.0||1200.8||100.0||351.4||100.0|
Sources: Culture Finance Report 2020 + own calculations
The distribution of public cultural expenditure among the eight cultural sectors in 2017 shows that, at 34.5 per cent, more than a third went to theatre and music. Another 19.1 per cent went to funding museums, collections and exhibitions and 14.1 per cent to libraries. These three areas also accounted for the highest shares in previous years.
If one compares the expenditure structure of the groups of bodies, different focal points become apparent corresponding to the different distribution of tasks: The municipalities were most involved in financing theatre and music with 42.3 per cent. The second largest share was spent on museums, collections and exhibitions with 21.9 per cent, and libraries were in third place with 16.5 per cent.For the Länder, too, the funds for theatre and music, with 39.0 per cent of Länder expenditure, were clearly above the expenditure for other cultural maintenance with 13.9 per cent and those for museums with 13.7 per cent and those as well as for libraries with 10.0 per cent. (Compared to 2015, other cultural cultivation and museums have swapped places 2 and 3). The structure of cultural expenditure also varied between the countries. For example, the share of funding for theatre and music in the Länder ranged from 18.1 per cent (Brandenburg) to 43.6 per cent (Thuringia) and the share of funding for libraries in the Länder ranged from 7.9 per cent (Thuringia) to 19.2 per cent (Rhineland-Palatinate). The Federal Government allocates the largest share of its culture-related expenditure to cultural affairs abroad, at 35.3 per cent. Expenditure on museums, collections and exhibitions came second with 23.9 per cent and expenditure on libraries at 17.1 per cent, is in third place within federal cultural expenditure.
In 2017, public budgets provided a total of 3.9 billion euros for the theatre and music sector. Compared to the previous year, public expenditure on this area increased by 1.7 percent and by 20.3 percent compared to 2010. The federal, state and local governments provided a total of 2.2 billion euros for museums, collections and exhibitions in 2017. Compared to the previous year, public expenditure for this area of responsibility increased by 10.3 percent. Compared to 2010, expenditure increased 23.6%. For libraries, public budget expenditure amounted to 11.6 billion euros in 2017. Compared to the previous year, there was an increase in public expenditure of 3.8 per cent, and compared to 2010, an increase of 17.0 per cent.
Further information on the individual sectors can be found in the sector reports compiled in the project "Nationwide Cultural Statistics" (see chapter 3.).
Last update: February, 2022
The promotion of artistic production and reception is achieved on the one hand by funding the cultural institutions and on the other hand by creating art-friendly conditions. This also includes the provision of basic and advanced artistic training, primarily through 52 music, theatre and art colleges and four federal academies.
The Federal Government's cultural funding focuses on the following areas of responsibility: national, establishing a regulatory framework for the development of art and culture, funding cultural institutions of national interest (e.g. the National Library, the Federal Archives, the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany) and projects, preserving and protecting cultural heritage, cultural foreign policy (e.g. Deutsche Welle), fostering historical awareness and promoting Berlin as a capital city (Capital City Funding Agreement).
Other central funding instruments of the federal, state and local governments include specific programmes - in accordance with their responsibilities. Examples of programmes at federal level are:
Examples of programmes at the federal level are:
- Nationally valuable cultural monuments (since 1950, by 2020 over cultural monuments could be preserved and restored with a total volume of approx. 387 million euros),
- Investments for national cultural institutions in Germany (since 2004, until 2019 focus on Eastern Germany, from 2004 to 2019: approx. 87 million euros, since 2020 the programme has been extended to the whole of Germany),
- Initiative Musik (since 2007),
- National Prevention Programme against Islamist Extremism (since 2017 - 400m euros until 2020),
- Excellent Orchestra Landscape Germany (since 2017, continued 2021 to 2024),
- Preservation of the written cultural heritage (since 2017),
- Youth Remembers (since 2019, 2 funding lines: targeted examination of the Nazi era + sustainable reappraisal of the SED dictatorship).
At the federal level, support for artists is primarily provided through the cultural funds - the Art Fund, the German Literature Fund, the Socioculture Fund and the Performing Arts Fund as well as support projects of the German Music Council. This support includes, for example, nationally significant exhibitions of contemporary art, competitions, scholarships, prizes and other appropriate forms.
A central actor in the promotion of culture by the federal government is the Federal Cultural Foundation. Its task is to promote programmes and projects in an international context. In addition to general project funding, which is not restricted to specific genres or themes, it develops its own programmes, current e.g. "ZERO - Climate Neutral Art and Culture Projects", "TURN 2 - Artistic Cooperation between Germany and African Countries", "JUPITER - Performing Arts for Young Audiences" and "Culture digital".
Another funding programme is "Art in Buildings". This is understood to mean an obligation on the part of the state in particular, as a building owner, to use a certain proportion - usually around 1 per cent - of the construction costs of public buildings for works of art out of its claim to building culture. This obligation is laid down in corresponding regulations at the federal and state levels. Some cities have taken on this obligation at the municipal level.
Particularly important, however, is the individual arts / artists' funding for the various sectors. Special support for companies, start-ups, self-employed and freelancers in the cultural and creative industries is offered by the Federal Government through the Competence Centre for Cultural and Creative Industries; with eight regional offices they offer individual services and advice.
During COVID-19, numerous programmes were launched to support the arts and culture sector. Of particular importance here is the "NEUSTART KULTUR" programme, which the federal government launched in summer 2020. It initially comprised 1 billion euros, which was increased to 2 billion in spring 2021. Together with the cultural associations and funds, the federal government developed 74 different programme lines within "NEUSTART KULTUR", the funds were allocated by the cultural associations and funds. In doing so, the programme targeted three areas in particular: a) maintaining production - especially through project funding and scholarships, b) promoting investments that became necessary due to pandemic-related hygiene requirements and c) investing in digital infrastructure. The programme will continue in 2022.
In addition, the federal government has provided a special fund for cultural events amounting to 2.5 billion euros. It consists of economic aid for (smaller) events that can only take place with a reduced audience and of cancellation insurance for larger events. (see also See also: https://www.culturalpolicies.net/covid-19/country-reports/germany/)
Last update: February, 2022
The promotion of individual artists is primarily the responsibility of the federal states and local authorities.
The Federal Government's promotion of artists - in addition to the benefits for the social insurance for artists and indirectly through the funding of cultural institutions - takes place, for example, through the funding of stays abroad by artists living in Germany: in Italy (German Academy Villa Massimo in Rome, Casa Baldi in Olevano Romano, German Study Centre in Venice and Villa Romana in Florence), in France (Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris) and in Turkey (Villa Tarabya in Istanbul). In addition, since the seventies there has been a national acquisitions budget and a collection of contemporary art.
The focus of individual artist promotion is on the municipalities, regions, and federal states. There is a great variety of funding instruments available here: among other things, financial funding for art projects, the purchase of works of art, as well as the awarding of commissions and scholarships, the funding of exhibition and performance spaces, studios and production facilities, the announcement of competitions and sponsorship prizes, and the awarding of publication grants. Support is also provided by municipal art libraries and programmes such as Art in Buildings and Art in Public Spaces, and by business management advice for artists and financial support for business start-ups.
An example of individual support for artists is the funding programme for artists in the Ruhr area, which is open to all artistic professions and disciplines such as the fine arts, literature, music, performing arts, film, media art, architecture or design. It consists of twelve-month scholarships (1,500 euros per month) and a “fire brigade pot” (for small projects and distributions in case of financial shortages). Since its inception in 2016, the programme has supported more than 200 projects to the tune of around 2.1 million EUR with funds from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Last update: February, 2022
Scholarships and prizes are instruments of individual support for artists, which are awarded by public authorities at municipal, state and federal level as well as by private and civil society organisations.
The web portal Kulturpreise Online provides information on cultural funding, especially for individual support for artists in the form of prizes and scholarships.
Culture and art awards are a particularly important funding instrument that has grown in scope and importance in recent decades. In 1978, the Handbook of Cultural Prizes (Handbuch der Kulturpreise) listed 776 prizes and scholarships; by 1985 the number had risen to 1,329; in 1994 the figure was just under 2,000 entries; in 2000 there were 2,400 prizes with 3,100 price units. In the current version (as of April 2019) 2,661 main prize entries with 4,403 price units were listed. Of these 2,661 main prize entries, 405 were in the field of literature, followed by interdisciplinary prizes (391), visual arts (364), music (301), media and journalism (301), film (181), design / photography / arts and crafts (140), architecture / heritage conservation (124), performing arts (120) and other prizes (334). Compared to the prize landscape in 2000, the number of prices increased most in percentage terms in the areas of “other cultural prices”, media and journalism, film, visual arts, architecture and the preservation of historical monuments, whereas the areas of music and performing arts recorded a decrease in prizes.
Some prizes at federal level are mentioned
here as examples: German Film Prize (since 1951, formerly: Federal Film Prize),
Cultural Education Prize (since 2009), German Computer Game Prize (since 2009),
German Music Author Prize (since 2009), Applause - Award for venues with
outstanding live music programmes (since 2013), Culture Opens Worlds (since
2015), Federal Theatre Prize (since 2015), German Bookstore Prize (since 2015),
German Publishing Prize (since 2019). There are also numerous prizes and
scholarships at state and local government level.
 Wiesand, Andreas (2019): Entwicklung der Kultur- und Literaturpreise seit 1978.
Last update: February, 2022
In addition to the support provided via artists associations, funds are made available to bodies such as the German Arts Council, the German Music Council and two Federal associations of visual artists. A portion of these funds are earmarked to assist these associations as well as to support individual projects.
Last update: February, 2022
Cultural institutions, events and projects are also financed by private households, the business community, foundations and other private non-profit organisations, in some areas to a considerable extent. Reliable statistics on private cultural funding are unfortunately not available in Germany. In its Kulturfinanzbericht 2020 the Federal Statistical Office provides an estimate for a small section of private cultural financing, namely private expenditure on publicly subsidised cultural institutions in 2017, which amounted to 1.2 billion EUR, or 15.05 EUR per capita. In 2016, the private sector contributed to a similar extent to the financing of public cultural institutions. At that time,direct revenues amounted to 1.3 euros and 15.15 euros per inhabitant. In addition, public and private cultural institutions generate income through patronage and sponsorship. They also benefit from voluntary civil society commitment, the value of which cannot be quantified. Furthermore, this estimate does not take into account cultural institutions that are financed entirely by private means (e.g. musical theatres, rock concerts, circuses and other cultural industry enterprises).
The study Unternehmerische Kulturförderung, published in autumn 2019 by the Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft in the BDI, offers an insight into corporate cultural promotion in Germany. The study, which is based on a survey of companies, nevertheless provides insights into the motivation for promoting culture, the cultural sectors supported, models and forms of cultural promotion and promotional instruments – although it also states that there is still no reliable database on the total amount of private expenditure on the promotion of art and culture in Germany.
Only a few of the funding actors report their data, such as the Ostdeutsche Sparkassenstiftung, a cultural foundation and a joint venture of all member savings banks of the East German Savings Banks Association (of the federal states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt). It promotes and initiates cultural projects in urban and especially rural areas. It supported approx. 2 370 projects with a total sum of around 106 million euros (https://ostdeutsche-sparkassenstiftung.de/profil/) from 1996 to December 2021.
 Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft im BDI (Hrsg.) / Siebenhaar, Klaus / Müller, Achim (2019): Unternehmerische Kulturförderung in Deutschland, Berlin: Self-published.