German culture minister calls for $353 million increase in arts funding

German Culture Minister Monika Grütters announced on May 2 that the country plans to increase its funding for the arts by around $353 million, Monopoly reports. If approved by Parliament, the $2 billion budget for culture and media would be increased by 23% over the previous year.

The proposed budget is representative of Grütters’ commitment to strengthen federal support for the arts in the 2017 election year. Grütters also said the increase in funding is an example of the government’s belief in the value of the culture. She noted that by passing the budget, Germany will send “a strong signal that culture is the foundation of our open and democratic society.” Since she took office in 2013, Germany’s cultural budget has increased by around 38%, or $548 million.

Grütters also revealed that $4.4 million of the funds will be allocated to the Humboldt Forum Foundation, which falls under his purview. The foundation is responsible for the Humboldt Forum Cultural Center, a museum project that aims to present ethnological collections in such a way as to put them in dialogue with contemporary issues.

Scheduled to open in Berlin’s renovated palace in 2019, the Humboldt Forum has been criticized for its lack of transparency about the provenance of items in its collections. After Bénédicte Savoy resigned from her advisory board in protest last year, Grütters pledged to provide additional funding to museums for provenance research. Six new positions have also been created at the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which manages Berlin’s state museums. Positions will involve researching the history of objects from the colonial era.