As in 2012, 2014 and 2014, Stuttgart was named the best cultural metropolis among Germany’s 30 largest cities in a study by the Hamburg Institute of International Economics.
Second place went to Dresden (!) and Berlin is just behind.
Among other things, the number of spectator seats in theatres and the number of visitors were evaluated. Overall, however, the focus is on cultu-ral diversity, but also on the effects of a flourishing cultural and creative economy. Stuttgart, for example, has the largest share of employees in this sector and therefore also the highest share of turnover per inhabitant.
By collecting these figures, the study also reveals something of its actual purpose: to recognise and promote the cultural and creative industries as an economic factor. The Federal Government will be pleased about this, as it had announced a stronger recognition of this sector in 2009 with the Culture and Creative Industries Initiative, which was launched between the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Minister of State for Culture. This concept was a success. The 4th and 5th places show that smaller cities can also be realised as cultural cities: they are held by Karlsruhe and Bonn.
Where structural change has not yet succeeded, there are also the cities at the back of the list: Gelsenkirchen, Mönchengladbach and Duisburg.
Don’t worry – what is not, can still become.
However, the quota dispute must not deceive the eye too much. Three things should even be more important to the cultural citizen than statistics.
First of all: the guaranteed freedom and independence of art. Today this is no longer so self-evident when you look around Europe or read the party programme of the AfD, which is supposed to be the second strongest party in this country. Culture does not serve any quota and must be protected from censorship of any kind. Especially the often cited „technical“ or „security reasons“ should not be allowed to be used to „ban“ events.
Second: All figures, visitor records say nothing about the quality of the cultural scene. Here both statistician and researcher fail. Quality as such does not exist or always and everywhere. It lies in the eye of the visitor, in the ear of the listener, in the head of every person. However, this formation of opinion is strengthened by a broad public dis-course. And this discourse can only be conducted if (Third🙂 culture, art and the media are to a considerable extent publicly promoted. This guarantees independence from commerce, quotas, political influence, indoctrination and free public perception.
Note: Homo economicus is not automatically a cultural citizen. But the cultural citizen is more rarely a Wutbürger, who is neither of the two.