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Techno in Berlin officially added to UNESCO cultural heritage list

The move could bring social and economic advantages for clubs in Berlin

  • 15 March 2024
Techno in Berlin officially added to UNESCO cultural heritage list

Techno in Berlin has officially been recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage following a campaign to protect its status.

It comes after a collective of DJs, festival organisers and fans campaigned to secure the status for Berlin’s techno scene with fears that the culture wouldn't survive without it.

Berlin techno has now been added to the list of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) in Germany as of March 13, along with five other entries including mountaineering, fruit wine, and a Bavarian parade named Kirchseeoner Perchtenlauf.

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Rave The Planet began lobbying German authorities to apply for intangible cultural heritage status of Berlin techno in 2021, backed by Matthias Roeingh aka Dr Motte, the DJ who founded Love Parade.

The campaign to secure its status followed reports that an estimated 100 clubs in Berlin have closed in the last decade.

“We did it!” announced Rave The Planet yesterday. “Congratulations to all the cultural creators who have shaped and contributed to Berlin's techno culture.”

“A big thank you to everyone involved who has been with us on this journey since Hans Cousto's initial idea in 2011. Special thanks to the Expert Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage at the German UNESCO Commission!”

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Rave The Planet called it a “milestone” for dance music culture in Berlin. The Spiegel noted that Berlin techno may be the “youngest tradition” added to the list of cultural German traditions.

The move could bring social and economic advantages, The Spiegel reports, hoping to make it easier for those looking to open and maintain nightclubs in Berlin, providing access to government subsidies and funding.

“This is another milestone for Berlin techno producers, artists, club operators and event organizers," Berlin’s Clubcommission said on social media yesterday.

Following its addition to the list, Claudia Roth, the Minister of State for Culture, said that Berlin techno culture stands for "values such as diversity, respect and cosmopolitanism.”

Despite its pivotal role in the creation of the genre, Detroit techno has yet to be recognised by UNESCO — while the former home of The Warehouse nightclub in Chicago, the birthplace of house music, has been officially recognised as a cultural landmark in the US.

Read UNESCO’s full statement about Berlin techno here.

Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter

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