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.
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”.
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.
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.
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!
Der 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.