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Karlsruhe: City of Culture

Karlsruhe – a City of Culture

Research and art have entered into a diver­si­fied symbiotic relati­on­ship in Karlsruhe - a symbiosis that is both innovative and conscious of its traditions. Some examples are the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Centre of Art and Media Technology (ZKM), the Staatliche Kunsthalle, the Badisches Staats­thea­ter and the Badische Landes­bi­blio­thek. Thanks to its vibrant musical scene and its lively spectrum of theatres and cinemas, this city of the German consti­tu­tion is full of lively activities. Moving beyond issues of origin, Karls­ru­he's residents know how to celebrate their festivals.

Karlsruhe - a lively city in the region of Baden - is right next to the Black Forest, France and the Palatinate: Being highly dynamic, it provides a home for art and technology - two pillars on which Karlsruhe has rested since it was founded nearly 300 years ago. Its fan-shaped layout, designed in 1715, was considered a worldwide innovation at the time, just like today's Centre of Art and Media Technology (ZKM). This insti­tu­tion combines academic research, artistic creativity and presen­ta­tion under a single roof. Moreover, it is based on coope­ra­tion and dialogue as its founding principles.

City of research and the arts

Karlsruhe is a City of Culture that is marked by a world-class university. In 2009 the former Karlsruhe Research Centre and Karlsruhe Technical University merged into the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, or KIT for short. This new university succeeded in obtaining government funding under the Excellence Initiative as soon as this scheme for top univer­si­ties had been launched.

Fine arts and music play a major role in Karlsruhe. Museums and art galleries conti­nu­ally display their valuable stock in succes­si­ons of changing exhibi­ti­ons. Ranging from antiquity to the present day and from old masters to the avant-garde, a large number of high-quality exhibits can be discovered at the Staatliche Kunsthalle, the Badisches Staats­thea­ter and the Städtische Galerie. Karls­ru­he's art colleges have brought forth numerous renowned artists.

The Badisches Staats­thea­ter is a first-class establis­h­ment that sets standards beyond the region and which covers three aspects of the performing arts: ballet, opera and theatre, including children's and youth theatre. Numerous private theatres such as the Sandkorn­thea­ter and Kammer­thea­ter as well as quite a few amateur dramatic societies offer diver­si­fied programmes, ranging from classical drama to folk theatre and from sophi­sti­ca­ted thought-provoking plays to comedy and enter­tain­ment.

Karlsruhe has a full-scale spectrum for music enthu­siasts of all ages. Whether it's classical music, rock, pop, world music, chansons, jazz or the musical avant-garde, music enthu­siasts of all shades and colours are sure to find the right thing at the many different clubs and venues in this City of Culture, for instance at the Tempel in Mühlburg, at the Tollhaus, at the Substage, at the Jazz Club in the Alter Schlacht­hof Creativity Park and at the JUBEZ on Kronen­platz.

Media venue

When it comes to cinema attendance, Karlsruhe has the second place among German towns above 200,000. Whether it's a small cinema with a programme of ambitious auteur films or a panoramic cinema with about 3,000 seats in several rooms, everyone will find a film to suit their taste. Karlsruhe also has quite a few public and private broad­cas­ting stations. Filmboard Karlsruhe is based at the Alter Schlacht­hof Creativity Park, where it provides a network for regional film makers and functions as a point of contact for the regional and nationwide film industry.

The foundation for this vibrant develop­ment was laid by the Margraves of Baden and their successors when they relocated their residence from Durlach to the newly founded city of Karlsruhe in the Rhine valley. Karlsruhe was in fact designed in the style of Versailles, following the pattern of absolute monarchies. Like other princes, they collected ancient objects, paintings, books and natural history exhibits, often based on their own wide-ranging knowledge and on sound advice. To accom­mo­date these items, they built museums, galleries, libraries and archives which have lined the streets and squares of Karlsruhe to the present day.

Karls­ru­he's archi­tec­ture is charac­te­ri­sed by numerous classicist buildings designed by Friedrich Weinbren­ner. They dominate the general panorama of the north-south axis of Karls­ru­he's fan-shaped layout between the palace and Ettlingen Gate. The general atmosphere in Karlsruhe was substan­ti­ally influenced by the late 19th century with its love of histo­ri­ci­sed façades and by Art Nouveau in the Oststadt and Weststadt quarters of the city. Above all, however, Karlsruhe is Germany's city of human and civil rights - a quality which is prominently expressed by one of its major landmarks: the Platz der Grund­rechte (Square of Consti­tu­tio­nal Rights).

Culture unites

"Culture is funda­men­tal to our community and unites people from different backgrounds," says the Karlsruhe Policy on the Integra­tion of Immigrants. The City of Karlsruhe therefore greatly priori­ti­ses the mutual integra­tion of all ethnic groups as well as inter­cul­tu­ral and inter-faith activities.

And what could be more suitable for this purpose than the many festivals that are held in Karlsruhe - from the Lime Blossom Festival in Weststadt to the Festival of Historic Durlach. The event that comes right at the top of the list is DAS FEST at the Günther-Klotz-Anlage, the green belt of the city on its southwes­tern perimeter. It may not sound like it, but this is in fact quite a mega event. However, Karls­ru­he's citizens and visitors are equally enthu­sia­stic about small-scale events such as the Brahms­platz Festival in Mühlburg and the Südstadt Festival on Werder­platz with its India­ner­brun­nen (a fountain featuring a statue of an Native American).