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Berlin to officially declare nightclubs as cultural institutions

The change in legal status protects nightclubs from gentrification

Berlin is on track to officially declare its nightclubs as cultural institutions, RA reports.

Having been previously classified as "entertainment venues" alongside brothels, arcades and casinos, the change in legal status will protect certain nightclubs in the German capital from gentrification, and means they will be permitted to open in more parts of the city. They will also benefit from tax breaks.

According to the Live Musik Kommission, an almost unanimous vote on Wednesday, 5th May, declared in favour of the recommendation to change the status of nightclubs and live venues from entertainment sites to cultural sites. On Friday, 7th May, the recommendation will be presented at the Bundestag and, according to Die Linke politician Caren Lay, is expected to be signed off without debate.

The news comes after a collective of club owners and supporters, known as Clubcommission, appeared in parliament last year to argue that clubs were “the pulse of the city”, annually attracting around 3 million tourists and contributing €1.5bn to the local economy. The appearance was part of a year-long campaign by the multi-party Parliamentary Forum For Club Culture & Nightlife.

Speaking about the change in status, Pamela Schobeß of the Berlin Club Commission said: "We would like to thank the members of the Parliamentary Forum in particular for their commitment and perseverance in this matter. With today's decision, the Bundestag is sending a strong and long overdue signal to the republic.

"Music clubs are cultural institutions that shape the identity of city districts as an integral part of cultural and economic life," she added. "Now, an outdated law is to be adapted to reality. This helps to keep cities and neighborhoods alive and liveable and to protect cultural places from displacement."

Berghain was already recognised as a cultural instituion in 2016.

In March this year, the Berlin Club Commission unveiled a six-point plan to reopen the city’s venues.