Humboldt Jungle @ Der Tagesspiegel

The main Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, published an article on the Green party questions on the implementation of the Humboldt Jungle raised in the Bundestag, the German parliament.

Publication Humboldt costs, yes and no @ Der Tagesspiegel, Germany, 19 July 2019


The BKM responded to a small request from the Greens for the costs of the Humboldt Forum:

“And in order to honor their name, the Greens asked for the “state of the considerations (…), a greenery, a so-called Humboldt Jungle, to be installed”.
The brief reply: “Further measures on the facades are not provided.

This is how things always go in Berlin:

“Unfinished construction projects attract the most attention. If a building is actually finished, the masses are streaming – and are happy. To re-live these days at the James Simon Gallery on Museum Island, whose doubled construction costs are no longer an issue.

Since the Humboldt Forum has the preference, reasonably in the time and cost plan to lie. Displeasure came only last month when the postponement of the planned one-year opening on September 2020 was grudgingly acknowledged.

The parliamentary group of the Greens then addressed on July 2 a small request to the Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters and on 18 July received the response of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) on at least 35 individual questions. Some things in the 14-page paper are known, so the reasoning of the opening shift with technical problems. The finances are currently undisputed. The fact that there is still a gap of 17 million euros in the donations for the historic facades, which are planned with 80 million euros, does not worry: the “ongoing fundraising” is “still successful and not completed”. Moreover, “construction options with earmarked donations amounting to 22.5 million euros have been realized” – meant is the dome, which is not included in the resolution of the Bundestag.

Admission is free but not free

It becomes more interesting when asking for entrance fees. “The Federal Government has agreed for the first three years from the opening of the Humboldt Forum on a free admission to the permanent exhibition,” it says in the answer. Correctly, it must be called “gratuitous” – because “free” is the free admission just not, as the BKM itself admits with the reference to “additional needs due to freedom of entry”. In any case, regret the Federal Government “the announcement of the Land Berlin, for the surfaces of the Berlin permanent exhibition (…) to require entry.” Green MdB Erhard Grundl comments on the process with the words, “in the dispute over the freedom of entry, Minister of State Monika Grütters continues to put pressure on Berlin’s cultural Senator Klaus Lederer.” The Greens doubt, moreover, that free admission is “suitable for addressing more people and new social groups”.

It seems that the Greens are less concerned with free access than with “new media-savvy and culturally diverse social groups that reflect our diverse society”. The agency responds that “low-threshold, inclusive and needs-based services are provided for different interest groups (…)”. It should be added that it is not the job of the BKM, but only the directorship of the Humboldt-Forum to present a corresponding program for the opening.

No green facade for the forum

The Greens are particularly interested in “rehearsal rooms for musical groups or theater groups (…) in order to make the castle attractive to all citizens with different cultural interests through a diverse cultural offer”. As the BKM remains quite cool: “The continuous provision of premises” for such things would not see the concept of the Humboldt Forum. And again: “External letting will be possible within a limited range, but the Humboldt Forum’s own program has priority”. For this purpose, the House BKM refers to the three “focus topics” for profile sharpening: “Humboldt brothers as namesake, post-colonialism and the changing history of the place”
And in order to honor their name, the Greens also asked for the “state of the considerations (…), a greenery, a so-called Humboldt jungle, to install”. This does not mean anything: “Further measures on the facades,” the brief reply, “are not provided.”

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