Prof. Dr. Peter Frankenberg: Art and culture appealing beyond the state borders

No doubt – art and culture are among the fundamental factors of a business location. Art and culture are instrumen­tal in creating quality of life. In a way they act as “magnets” for creative people and qualified staff and form the best basis for innovations and progress.

There is also no doubt that there is an appealing climate for art and culture here in Baden-Württemberg. Historical­ly, the state of Baden-Württemberg excels with a diverse and concentrated cultur­al heritage. Wherever you look in this state between Rhine, Main and Lake Con­stance, you’ll find castles and gardens, historical sites, monuments, theatres and opera houses, festivals, orchestras, mu­­seums – in brief, a vivid variety on the highest level. The state of Baden-Würt­­temberg invests 350.6 million euros in this cultural environment every year. In 2007, for example, 117 million euros were spent on theatres, 53 million euros on art academies, 56.5 million euros on mu­­seums and exhibitions and 31.3 million euros were used for supporting cultural projects.


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So, the question what the Stutt­gart re­­gion in particular has to offer, is all that remains. On the one hand, there is a vi­­brant theatre life, starting with the flag­­ship “Württembergische Staats­the­­ater” (state theatres) in the heart of Stutt­­gart to numerous independent the­­atres, mu­­nicipal theatres as well as small theatres and puppet theatres. By offering opera, ballet and plays, the Staats­theater Stutt­­gart are the biggest threefold-stage in Europe. The building of the opera house, the former royal theatre, with its classi­cist columns, the foyer and the ceiling painting in the auditorium, is already an eye-catcher in the middle of Stuttgart. This “Große Haus” (“big house”) is the stage both for the world-famous ballet of Stuttgart and for the internation­­ally renowned Staatsoper (state opera) Stutt­­gart.

Due to its sophisticated programme and innovative productions, the Staatsoper has already been elected “opera of the year” six times.
The opera choir has also received prizes and so has the Stuttgarter Schauspiel (drama), which regularly enthuses audience and expert juries. The “Junge Oper” (young opera) also sets special accents with its extensive theatre pedagogy offer, whereas the ballet academy “John-Cran­­ko-Ballettschule” attracts young talent from all over the world.
Numerous other theatres – more than 20 in Stuttgart alone – in the fields of dra­­ma, puppet, children and youth the­­atre also add to the the­­­­atrical landscape.
They, the region’s mu­­­­ni­­cipal thea­­tres, as well as the two big sta­te the­­atres in Tübingen-Reut­­lingen and Ess­lingen pro­­vide some re­­mark­­able ar­­tis­­tic inspirations.

But where do you go dur­­ing the holidays when there are no stage per­­form­ances? The festival time comes with the holiday time and it un­­folds its very own appeal for in­­stance in Lud­wigs­­burg, Schwäbisch Hall and Jagsthausen. The “Ludwigs­bur­­ger Schloss­­festspiele” are located, among others, in the unique ambiance of the baroque palace of Lud­­wigsburg and they attract cultural en­­thusiasts from near and far with their varied and top-class programme. During the festival season, the big stairs in front of St. Michael’s in Schwäbisch Hall become the stage of the world, and the “Burgfestspiele” in Jagsthausen enable you to experien­ce literature and history with Goethe’s “Götz von Berlichingen”.

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There is also a wide variety of of­­fers for music-lovers. Orchestras and choirs play a major role in the state’s musical life. Many of them are known far be­­yond the state’s borders. The “Stutt­­gar­­ter Kam­mer­orchester” (chamber or­­chestra) is the oldest ensemble of its kind and it has held a prominent position in the international orchestra scene for almost 60 years now.
Due to nu­­mer­­ous guest performances at home and abroad, the “Württem­ber­gi­sches Kam­merorchester Heilbronn” counts among the most popular chamber orchestras in the world. The Stutt­gar­­ter Philhar­moniker, the cham­­ber or­­ches­­tra of Pforz­heim and the Phil­har­mo­nie Reutlingen, for example, also play on a high level, and so do a large number of renowned institutions and en­­sembles setting additional highlights in the vivid musical life of the region. In the area of music, too, special festivals like the “Fes­­tival Europäische Kirchen­musik” (Euro­pean church music) in Schwä­­bisch Gmünd or the “Jazz Open” in Stuttgart add to the extensive programme. Last but not least, it would be remiss not to mention the international Bachakademie Stutt­­gart, founded by Helmuth Rilling. Every year they organize an unparalleled series of concerts.
Best conditions on a high level also exist for creative up-and-coming stars. One of five conservatoires of the of state Ba­­den-Württemberg is based in Stuttgart. The “Staatliche Akademie der Bil­den­den Künste” is the home of fine arts.

From autumn 2008 on, the new “Akade­mie für Darstellende Kunst Baden-Würt­­tem­berg” (academy for performing arts) in Lud­­wigsburg offers interdisciplinary education across all courses, which com­­bines film and theatre in a unique way. The Stuttgart-based “Staatliche Akade­mie für Bildende Künste” and the movie and talent factory – the “Film­­akademie Baden-Württemberg” in Ludwigsburg – are also among the co-operation partners.


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One of the state’s major political objec­ti­ves is to further and to strengthen the cultural education of children and young people.
Almost all theatres in the re­­gion have in the meantime developed interesting children and youth programmes, which are avidly asked for. In addition, there are special children and youth theatres, like for example the “Junges Ensemble Stuttgart” or the “Radelrutsch” in Heil­bronn. The state’s museums, too, place an important emphasis on the educational work with children and young people in form of special guided tours, exhibitions or workshops.
Talking about museums: The state of Ba­­den-Württemberg also has a multifarious museum scene, starting with the big state-owned institutions of in­­ter­na­tional renown, via important mu­­nicipal and private collections to im­­portant spe­­cialized and open-air museums. In the middle of Stuttgart runs a cultural mile of European repute. To­­geth­­er Stuttgart’s State Gallery, the “Staat­­liche Hoch­schule für Musik und Dar­stellende Kunst” and the “Haus der Ge­­schichte” (“house of history”) form an architecturally im­­pressive complex, holding uncountable treasures.
Just opposite are the state theatres, near­­by is the municipal museum of fine arts, showing Stuttgart’s art collection in its glass cube illuminated by night. There is also another crowd puller in the im­­mediate neighbourhood: the “Landes­mu­seum Württemberg”. This museum counts among the most frequently visited museums in Baden-Württemberg and is located in the premises of the “Altes Schloss” (old palace). The “Staat­­liches Museum für Naturkunde Stutt­gart” (museum of natural history) is an attraction with almost 450,000 visitors per year. Just recently it celebrated great successes with a huge dinosaur exhi­bition. The collections of the Linden-Museum – one of Europe’s most important museums for ethnology – are also impressive. Also not to be missed in a city like Stuttgart are the automobile museums. The Mercedes-Benz-Museum – also an ar­­chi­­tectural gem – has al­­ready gained world renown, and the new Por­sche-Museum (opened in 2009) will surely be acclaimed in equal measure.
The aesthetic treats, however, range far beyond Stuttgart’s boundaries into the region. In addition to the state-owned institutions, a whole lot of municipal or private museums, art galleries and col­­lections provide the region with a comprehensive exhibition programme on an international level. Worth mentioning in this regard are places of pilgrimage for art lovers like the art galleries Kunst­hal­­le Tübingen and Kunsthalle Würth in Schwäbisch Hall, the Museum Ritter in Waldenbuch, the Museum Schwäbisch Gmünd, the municipal hall Balingen, the collection “Sammlung Zander” in Bön­nigheim or the art gallery Göppingen – to mention but a few.
All this shows: Stuttgart is more than a state capital. The metropolitan region Stuttgart is more than an important busi­­ness location. Baden-Württemberg is a state full of art and culture. A state where the cultural heritage is preserved. Lud­­wigsburg invites you to stroll through one of the biggest baroque castle grounds in Germany, the Maulbronn monastery is considered the best preserved medieval monastery complex north of the Alps and it is part of the UNESCO world her­­i­tage. In Marbach, Friedrich Schiller’s birth­­place, there is not only the Schiller-Na­­tionalmuseum but also the Literatur­ar­chiv Marbach. Holding about 1,200 orig­­inal works of literary legacy, it is the biggest literary archive in Germany. Among others, it keeps treasures of Friedrich Schiller, Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, Paul Celan, Kurt Tucholsky, Gottfried Benn, Martin Walser, Marie Luise Kaschnitz, Rainer Maria Rilke and Heinrich Mann. The ar­­chitecturally remarkable Liter­­a­­tur­­mu­se­um der Moderne, which has already been awarded the “Stirling-Prize”, is also lo­­cated in Marbach. Here, the literary ar­­chive displays some valuable and quaint unique works.

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It is an important task of the state to index, maintain and impart the cultural memory. The state archive of Baden-Würt­­temberg and the numerous libraries are instrumental in achieving this. The Würt­­tembergische Landesbibliothek (state library) in Stuttgart with its more than five million books and other items is the institution for the supply with re­­gion­­al and supraregional information and literature with the highest capacity in Baden-Württemberg. In addition, there are collections of international importance, more than 15,000 medieval and modern manuscripts, incunabula, old and valuable prints, the former court library, treasures of modern book art as well as one of the world’s biggest collections of bibles.
The Stuttgart region also has some sen­­sations in the area of film and media. By now, Baden-Württemberg has reached a top position in the film and media in­­dustry due to highlights like the animated cartoon festival, the “französische Filmtage Tü­­bingen” (French film festival), numerous film festivals and the Filmakademie in Ludwigsburg.
The state of Baden-Württemberg and the Stuttgart region harbour many more cul­­tural highlights than can be listed here. Exploring and looking around is really worth the while!

MINDer Autor ist Minister für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst in Baden-Würt­tem­berg. Der gelernte Geograf pro­mo­vier­te 1976 und habilitierte sich 1982 an der Universität Bonn. Bis zu seiner Beru­fung zum Wis­senschafts­minister war Prof. Fran­­ken­berg Rektor der Universität Mann­­heim sowie unter anderem Vize­prä­­si­dent der Hochschul­rektorenkon­ferenz.