Local Government Of Berlin Creates Fund To Save City’s Clubs

The million-euro fund will be used to seek out new locations and organise festivals and concerts to raise funds for clubs in danger

What would be unthinkable in Spain is happening in Berlin. A series of German politicians have joined forces to launch a campaign intended to save the city’s club scene, which in recent years has suffered from pressure from real estate investors who are hungry for increasingly high rents in line with the growing gentrification of much of the city. Aware of their capital importance to the city’s social fabric, and their value for attracting tourism, the local government and the German Senate have decided to respond to the request of the Berliner Musiknetzwerke with the creation of a stable supervisory body, a "Table of Music", and a fund containing one million euros. With these measures, they hope that the field that has been a fundamental pillar of the city’s economy since the wall came down, will be able to withstand the pressure placed on it by the real estate companies who own the concert halls and club sites (many of them foreigners). The issue is serious, to the point that the scene has coined the word “ clubsterben”, which could be translated as the death of the club.

The idea is that threatened clubs could use money from the fund to pay for rent hikes, or to move to other locations. The fund will also help pay for the organisation of festivals and concerts to raise capital for halls that are in danger. As the magazine Der Spiegel explains, there are a total of 15 clubs and halls in danger of closing, and in recent months, places like Maria, Knaack Club, Club Der Republik and Icon have had to close their doors. Another of the emblematic places that is seriously affected and which has been fighting for its survival in recent months is Schokoladen, located in Mitte. An employee - Anja Gerlich of Schokoladen - explains to The Guardian: "We're an oasis of fringe culture in Berlin, living with the faint hope that we will survive" continuing to assert "What is needed is a fundamental rethink of the ambitions for this city. We don't want to be an island in the middle of a town that has been thoroughly gentrified, where rents are rising, people are being squeezed out, clubs are dying."

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