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Does Germany have a World-class Cultural Scene?

10 myths about culture in Germany

May 30th, 2018
Berlin Global, News from Berlin

We 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 big screen

On average, Germans go to the cinema just 1.5 times per year. During its heydey in the 1950s, the silver screen attracted over 800 million visitors per year. Today, it's just 121 million.

Berlin is a creative hot spot

For every 1,000 residents in Berlin, there are 11 artists. The German capital has the highest ratio of artists in the country and, with 370, the most exhibitions per year. Berlin also boasts more culture-related businesses than any other German city: 18.3 percent of all companies registered there work in the cultural arena.

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 theater

Germany is home to 142 state-funded theaters. Tthe 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 - a 1,400-seat hall where 1,350 employees put on 900 shows for 450,000 people annually.

Opera with a tradition

With 527 opera performances each year, Berlin is the number one in Germany, but not the world. The most annual opera performances are held in Moscow (582) and Vienna (535). But in terms of the largest number of seats for viewing opera, Bayreuth takes the world record, with 2,500 seats in two historical opera houses. Germany's largest opera house, the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden, has just as many.

Many art dealers, small art market

With 9,804 galleries and art dealers, Germany takes second place globally, behind the US. However, when it comes to art auction revenues, Germany only claims a miniscule 2 percent of the international market, which is led by the US, Great Britain and China.

Neverending books

Every year, more than 90,000 books are released 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.

Music for the masses

Bochum Total, which is free of charge, draws over 800,000 visitors every year, making it the largest music festival in Germany. In terms of commercial music festivals, however, Rock am Ring is the largest, attracting 87,000 visitors annually.

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.

Incredible architecture

The Cologne Cathedral is the most-visited tourist site in Germany and the country's most popular UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracting six million people to its Gothic spires each year. The first building in Germany to be placed on the World Heritage List was the Aachen Cathedral in 1978; the most recent is the Bauhaus Ensemble in Bernau near Berlin.


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