On behalf of the sixteen Länder (federal states) of Germany, the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States financially supports, develops, advises and supervises initiatives and projects in the artistic and cultural sectors that hold significance throughout Germany and are implemented through the joint efforts of multiple partners. The Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States emphasises the social relevance of culture, which it defines as the entirety of cultural forms of expression – material and immaterial – that human beings create in their engagement with their environments in order to express ideas and values and assert their place in the world.
The Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States is committed to the common good; its work is in service of Germany’s Länder. It strives for competency, reliability and transparency and carries out its duties with dedication, professionalism and a sense of responsibility. The Cultural Foundation considers itself an advocate, working especially on behalf of institutions in Germany that hold cultural property and their sponsors, and seeks to support them with executing their missions in ways that allow them to articulate their own contributions to society’s debates and to appeal to domestic and international audiences that are as broad-ranging and diverse as possible.
The Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States seeks to increase cultural participation for as many people as possible. Its core tasks thus include funding the acquisition, preservation, documentation, presentation and promulgation of cultural property that is highly valuable to the cultural self-understanding and social coexistence of people in Germany.
The Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States supports the Länder with their cultural policy concerns and activities and connects them around these issues. It briefs and advises the Länder on cultural matters that transcend the individual Land level and are of interest throughout Germany, carries out ground-breaking pilot projects on the collective behalf of the Länder and thus bolsters the effectiveness of Germany’s system of cultural federalism. The Cultural Foundation also collaborates with trusted partners on the federal level, both individuals and institutions, that hold responsibility for cultural policy.
The Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States defends cultural diversity as a hallmark of humanity and our shared human heritage. In the firm belief that cultural diversity can only flourish in the context of democracy, tolerance, social justice and mutual respect among societies and cultures, the Cultural Foundation recognises the equal value of all cultures and their cultural forms of expression, including cultures of individuals belonging to minorities. In accordance with the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States unconditionally affirms freedom of arts and sciences, research and teaching as well as the Länder’s authority over culture.
Funding programmes by the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States (Kulturstiftung der Länder)
The Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States supports publicly accessible museums, libraries and archives with purchasing art and culture of significance to all of Germany. Thanks to acquisition grants, institutions can add to their collections and re-acquire objects that they previously held. In addition to financial support, the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States provides extensive specialist consultations and assists with identifying additional experts and funding sources. The funding programme encompasses objects from all eras of painting, graphic art, sculpture, photography, applied arts, music and literature as well as objects from natural and technological history.
Since 2009, the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States has supported exhibitions of art and cultural history that are both regionally rooted and internationally significant and are curated by publicly accessible museums, libraries and archives for temporary display. The exhibitions funded by the Cultural Foundation should emerge from the institutions’ own holdings and be developed around phenomena, events, cultural landscapes, locations, or collections in Germany.
Furthermore, the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States financially supports the restoration of art and culture that holds significance to all of Germany. Restoration funding is directed to assisting publicly accessible museums, libraries and archives with
The Cultural Foundation’s initiatives and projects
As well as museums, libraries and archives, the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States – on behalf of Germany’s sixteen Länder – supports interest groups representing the visual arts, literature, theatre, translators, music and art studies as well as Stiftung TANZ (for dance) and the German Theatre Award known as “DER FAUST”. Via the Cultural Foundation, the Länder also contribute annually to funding the Coordination Office for the Preservation of Written Cultural Heritage (KEK), which was jointly established by the Federal Government and the Länder at the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation).
Together with numerous partners, the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States also implements a variety of other funding programmes and projects. Through the funding programme KULTUR.GEMEINSCHAFTEN (Cultural Communities), the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States assist smaller and volunteer-run cultural institutions and project executing organisations with digitalisation and developing digital offerings. Again with the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, the Cultural Foundation co-initiated “KULTURLICHTER – Deutscher Preis für kulturelle Bildung” (CULTURAL LIGHTS: German Award for Cultural Education). During a three-year pilot phase, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the Cultural Foundation implemented NEXUD, a competence network for protecting cultural property in Germany and reining in the trade in looted and illegally imported cultural objects.
In addition, the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States supervises the application and selection procedures for international artist travel fellowships by the Federal Republic of Germany comprising residencies at the German Academy of Rome at Villa Massimo, the German Academy of Rome at Casa Baldi in Olevano Romano, the German Centre for Venetian Studies in Venice and the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. The residencies are given to outstanding and exceptionally talented artists with German citizenship or those who have had their primary residence and creative centre in the Federal Republic of Germany for at least five years at the time of application.
On the basis of a decision by the Federal Government, the Länder and municipal umbrella organisations, the German Contact Point for Collections from Colonial Contexts has been organisationally attached to the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States. The Contact Point is aimed in particular at individuals and institutions from the countries and societies of origin and is intended to provide access to information on collections in Germany from colonial contexts.
Together with Federal Agency for Civic Education and the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States organises the YUNIK Conference for Cultural Education. YUNIK is a new iteration of the former conference series “Children to Olympus!” (Kinder zum Olymp!), first re-launched in 2022. Furthermore, together with Stiftung Mercator, the Cultural Foundation is planning to launch a digital platform for cultural education that will serve as a curated, interactive showcase for projects, facts and figures about cultural education; Germany-wide and local contact points; current discussions and scientific findings; and matters of cultural policy.
The year 2022 also marks the launch of “New Collection: An Initiative by the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States for Intercultural Diversification of Museum Collections in Germany” (Neues Sammeln). This initiative aims to develop strategies through which museums can expand their collections in light of the issues surrounding a society of migrants and their descendants. In addition, through the project “Sites of Co-Determination: Promoting Social Participation at Museums” (MitbeStimmungsorte), the German Länder – via the Cultural Foundation – are collectively supporting efforts to diversify museums’ visitor demographics sustainably. Selected museums from all sixteen Länder will receive consultations and other assistance with change processes.