Does Germany have a world-class cultural scene? DW takes a look at 10 popular myths about culture in Germany and see how they stand up to the facts. It’s not an easy task in a place where culture is considered holy.
The country counts 2,117 publishers and 3,803 bookstores, 42 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and 1,654 cinemas with 4,739 screens. There are also 142 public theater companies with around 40,000 employees in 825 venues, 12,000 public libraries, 931 music schools with 1.4 million students, 29 art academies, 9,804 galleries and art dealers, and 6,372 museums. The list is neverending.
Culture is one of the driving engines for German soft power. The federal and state governments invest more than 10 billion euros annually in cultural endeavors like youth theaters, music schools, chamber orchestras, renovations of historical buildings or museum expansions. That adds up to 123 euros per citizen – the cost of a mid-sized Ikea bookshelf.
Here are some of the highlights of the findings from DW:
No shortage of Orchestras
With 131 public orchestras employing 10,000 musicians, Germany has the densest musical landscape in the world. The country’s orchestras range from a 12-member chamber ensemble in Prenzlau to the 185-member Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Germany’s oldest orchestra, in Kassel, has performed since 1503
No country does more theatre
Germany is home to 142 state-funded theaters. The smallest, in Naumburg, holds just 80 spectators and has 11 employees, while the largest theater in Hamburg has 1,200 seats. Stuttgart boasts the world’s largest performing arts center for drama, ballet and opera. That’s a 1,400-seat hall where 1,350 employees put on 900 shows for 450,000 people annually.
Every year, publishers release more than 90,000 books on the German market. If they were lined up side by side, they would fill a bookshelf that is 2.5 kilometers (1.4 miles) long.
For the love of Music
Some three million amateur musicians participate in a choir or orchestra in Germany, which has the fourth-largest music market in the world. Another 64,000 people work professionally as musicians – enough to fill a small city the size of Weimar