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German Culture Minister Pushes for $353 Million Increase in Arts Funding

German minister of culture Monika Grütters announced on May 2 that the country plans to increase its arts funding by approximately $353 million, Monopol reports. If approved by parliament, the $2 billion budget for culture and media would be increased by 23 percent from the previous year.

The proposed budget is representative of Grütters’s pledge to bolster federal support for the arts during the 2017 election year. Grütters also stated that the increased funding is an example of the government’s belief in the value of culture. She noted that by passing the budget Germany will send “a strong signal that culture is the foundation for our open and democratic society.” Since she assumed office in 2013, Germany’s cultural budget has grown by about 38 percent, or $548 million.

Grütters also revealed that $4.4 million of the monies will be allotted for the Humboldt Forum Foundation, which falls under her purview. The foundation is responsible for the Humboldt Forum Cultural Center, a museum project that aims to present ethnological collections in a way that will put them in dialogue with modern issues.

Slated to open in the renovated Berlin Palace in 2019, the Humboldt Forum has come under fire for its lack of transparency around the provenance of items in its holdings. After Bénédicte Savoy resigned from its advisory committee in protest last year, Grütters vowed to provide additional funding to museums for the purpose of provenance research. Six new positions were also created at the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which manages Berlin’s state museums. The posts will involve researching the history of colonial-era objects.