Techno has been given the same cultural status as classical music, now Berlin club Berghain has won a legal case as a ‘high art’ institution for tax purposes.
According to German outlet Der Spiegel, the legendary club faced the threat of higher tax rates as a venue for ‘entertainment’ rather than ‘high culture’. Entertainment venues are taxed at a rate of 19 per cent, whereas the latter, like classical music venues, are taxed at seven per cent.
According to Electronic Beats, tax officials said that the venue was “ruled by entertainment, not by culture” because of its punters’ supposed penchant for alcohol and drugs. The finance ministry said the club didn’t compare to high culture venues because it didn’t have a stage for its musical performances, or an ending where people clapped (debatable, a Steffi set early Monday morning deserves a rapturous, roaring applause).
Now, the Berlin-Brandenburg fiscal court in Cottbus has ruled that Berghain’s nights are cultural events, and will be taxed as such.
The news arrives in the wake of Fabric’s closure, one of the UK’s most precious and important clubbing institutions. It’s interesting that, at a time when the British government consistently shuts down its cultural spaces under the ruse of drug harm reduction, Germany is intelligently boosting its own nighttime economy.