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9 min read
Art & Culture
Fri Sep 22 2023
Germany's capital Berlin is considered the scene or trend metropolis par excellence in the field of art and culture far beyond the country's borders. In this area, it continues to grow dynamically and diversely. Many visitors come to Berlin just to experience this scene live, and some stay on to help create art or culture here themselves. Especially after German reunification, Berlin grew rapidly in this respect with some legendary locations or events. However, this role as a pioneer in art and culture is not really new. More than 200 years ago, the former capital and residential city experienced its first great cultural flowering with the "Berlin Classical Music". To this day, the city continues to set new standards and is therefore considered by many to be the place to be.
Munich has a similarly long tradition as a centre for art and culture. Here, it is above all museums such as the Pinakotheken or the theatre and opera that have long been associated with the city's history. Munich's former suburb and today's district of Schwabing developed into an art and artists' quarter as early as 1900, which at times was even able to outstrip Berlin in its nationwide importance due to liberal censorship. Schwabing has remained a centre of cultural life to this day, but in the meantime the scene has spread more generously across the city. The Isarvorstadt with the Glockenbach and Schlachthofviertel districts, for example, are as hip today as the legendary Schwabing once was.
Hamburg is also one of the hotspots of the German cultural and creative scene. Here, by no means everything revolves around the harbour. However, art and culture have just been given a monument there: the Elbphilharmonie with its spectacular architecture. But Hamburg's cultural scene is far more diverse. For decades, the focus has been on the St. Pauli district with the Reeperbahn and the side street Große Freiheit. This is where the Beatles had their very first gig, because they couldn't play their music at home in Liverpool. This not only launched their own world career, but also gave impetus to Hamburg's club culture, which is still an important facet of the Hanseatic city's cultural scene today.
Frankfurt is as much a master of classical art and culture as it is of new trends. On the one hand, the banking metropolis is home to some 60 museums rich in tradition or 20 theatres and even more theatre groups. On the other hand, along with Berlin, Frankfurt was also formative in the development of the German techno scene. Later, important influences on German hip-hop or rap emanated from the city and the entire Rhine-Main region. With the Kulturcampus Bockenheim, the city has also gained a new centre for its colourful art and culture scene in recent years. On the campus, tradition and modernity are now united in art or culture between much historical architecture. The audience is often young, because with around 45,000 students at Frankfurt's Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, the metropolis on the Main is also Germany's fourth-largest university city.
Compared to the big metropolises, Heidelberg is much more tranquil in every respect. In the city on the Neckar, long history is evident at every turn. Heidelberg's university is the oldest in the country, and its student body continues to attract a large audience to Heidelberg's art and culture scene. Its centre is the old town. In its alleyways, popular pubs alternate with cultural offerings such as a film art theatre, a jazz house or a forum for art. Many festivals are also held regularly in the city - for example for film or photographic art and literature.
Art and culture: in Dresden this means, above all, great architecture. The Frauenkirche, Semper Opera House or Zwinger are among the most beautiful buildings of their kind in the whole of Germany. Other Renaissance architecture and the location on the Elbe have earned the city the nickname Elbflorenz (Florence on the Elbe). Dresden's museums, such as the Green Vault, enjoy an international reputation. New arts and crafts and other art or culture have recently settled in the Äußere Neustadt. It has become Dresden's trendy district, but is by no means so new. Many restored Wilhelminian style houses and older houses give the district its very special charm, which attracts the younger generation in particular.
In terms of art or culture, Potsdam is much more than just the small suburb of Berlin. The old royal seat of the Hohenzollern dynasty boasts a wealth of magnificent architecture in its squares, monuments, palaces and gardens. Influences from France, Italy and Holland create a very special ambience with a high quality of life away from the hustle and bustle of the capital. However, a fresh young art and culture scene has long since emerged in the city. Its heart beats particularly loudly in Schiffbauergasse, around which an entire adventure quarter has sprung up with a wide variety of cultural and theatre offerings. But many people also come here just to enjoy the unique location on the shores of the Potsdamer Tiefen See.
Like Hamburg, Cologne has been the launch pad for many an artist's world career. James Blunt and The White Stripes, for example, performed here as nobodies in "Gebäude 9". This club is one of the last remnants of an alternative cultural scene that has strongly shaped the city since the 1980s, before many locations had to make way for new residential areas. In addition, there are classical art and culture venues such as museums or the Cologne Philharmonic Hall. A special feature here are the theatres that cultivate Cologne or Rhenish culture and dialect in their programmes. English is also spoken a lot: for example, in the Musicaldome or the Gloria Theatre - a historic 1960s concert hall for rock and pop, where many a world star prefers to perform because of the club atmosphere even more than in the huge Cologne Lanxess Arena. Lastly, Cologne is one of Germany's street art metropolises with many works of art on buildings in some parts of the city. Every two years there is even a festival where artists paint rows and rows of new houses.
Some people already call Leipzig "hypezig" because the city has become a magnet for young creatives, artists and hipsters in recent years. Their new home is the trendy district of Plagwitz. Once a ramshackle industrial site, the district has been developing more and more into a colourful and green neighbourhood right on the waterfront since the 1990s. Today, an old cotton mill is the centre of the scene. It is home to many alternative art projects, artists and manufacturers. On the other side, historic Dresden awaits with its traditional architecture, art and culture, which have played an important role in German history on several occasions - first and foremost the Nikolaikirche, where Martin Luther held his first Reformation sermons, or the Monday prayers in 1989, which soon heralded the Monday demonstrations and the end of the GDR.
True Düsseldorfers, like the people of Cologne, often refer to the carnival and the entire fifth season or the old town with its traditional breweries and pubs when talking about art and above all culture. But Düsseldorf has even more art and culture to offer. A special feature in the city is the Japanese influence with its own quarter, cultural centre, garden and Buddhist temple. Architecturally, the MedienHafen with spectacular buildings by world-famous architects is another highlight. In between, a young, diverse cultural landscape has developed. With galleries, art halls and many exhibition opportunities for still unknown artists, ballet, opera or large concerts as well as film art or literature and poetry slams, it shows a lot of variety and always offers something for every taste.
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