The BMEL’s "LandKULTUR" programme supports 260 projects in rural regions
Interesting cultural activities and a wide range of possibilities for developing cultural life are important location factors for villages and communities. Like possibilities for buying supplies locally, medical care, educational facilities, care facilities and transport infrastructure, cultural activities are of vital importance for the attractiveness of rural areas as places to live and work in.
The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) therefore launched the “LandKULTUR” aid scheme in 2017. The aim was to strengthen cultural activities and participation in rural areas and to thus enhance the attractiveness of people’s living environments. “LandKULTUR” and the sponsored projects are one element in the Federal Rural Development Scheme, which is implemented by the Rural Development Competence Centre on behalf of the BMEL. The scheme looked for exemplary ideas involving new cultural formats and activities. This included, for example, both new designs for contemporary cultural infrastructure in rural areas and also cultural projects, initiatives, institutions and activities that were deemed exemplary.
Strong interest in the "LandKULTUR" programme: Funding for more than 260 projects
The feedback to the announcement turned out to be overwhelming. In total, the Rural Development Competence Centre received more than 900 project outlines by the submission deadline of July 2017. In autumn 2019, some 260 of these projects throughout Germany, which were due to run for 1 to 3 years, began being put into practice. The amounts of support ranged from 10,000 euros to a maximum of 100,000 euros.
A broad range of cultural topics
The projects deal with a broad range of topics: while 22 percent of the projects focus on the performing arts, 23 percent deal with various cultural topics. Another 15 percent of the projects focus on popular culture and cultural education. The other projects focus on the following fields: "museums, libraries and archives", "building culture, landmark protection and preservation", "music", "visual arts", "film and television, radio and media" and "literature and press".
By way of example, the following project examples highlight the commitment and the diversity of the ideas regarding cultural life and participation in rural areas.
- The “ZwischenSpielRaum” ("interlude venue") project fills vacant properties in the Northern Oberpfalz region with cultural activities. For three to six months, so-called “interlude venues” (ZwischenSpielRäume) host performances by the Oberpfalz Land theatre and thus also attract audiences from neighbouring communities and audiences from other regions to the venue and the project community. The "interlude venues" also become venues for village theatre projects, thereby encouraging local people to act and tell their own stories. In addition, the "interlude venues" are available to local cultural operators as public performance venues to support and display their commitment.
- The “BILDET LandKULTUREN!” programme is a further education and mentoring project for cultural operators and initiatives in rural Thuringia. The project aims to strengthen the potential of the rural population's own initiative, active participation in cultural activities and the diversity of rural cultural life. The aim is to further train and professionalise citizens who volunteer in rural communities. It is intended that the volunteer cultural workers trained by the project then disseminate the knowledge and skills they have acquired in their associations and regions. They are not only project participants, but also multipliers.
- By performing the play "Der Gerechte” ("The Just"), the Odenwald Theatre School focuses on civic spirit and open regional pride using the example of the List couple. The production is being realised by a cross-generational project group of 30 volunteer actors. Two open-air performances are planned. As a side event, the making of the theatre production - especially the research into the history of the List couple and the concept developed for the performance - will be presented in an exhibition at the District Commissioner's office of the Odenwald District in Erbach. In November 1941, the List couple protected a young Jewish man, Ferdinand Strauss, from Nazi persecution.
Analysis of the model projects
The findings and results from the projects are to be published and used for comparable projects in other regions so that rural areas as a whole will benefit. The BMEL will draw conclusions from the experiences of the model projects after their evaluation and make recommendations for further policy guidance. It is also planned to draw conclusions for setting future priorities for regular rural development support.