There is also a Goethe Institute in Togo – and a bust of the poet.
Image: Goethe-Institut / Michael Friedel Lomé
So far, cultural dialogue has been a reliable part of the Federal Republic’s self-image. The war also changed that, as the budget cuts at the Goethe-Institut show. Is there a mental isolation?
Dhe days when the so-called cultural dialogue could be considered a kind of state raison d’être of the Federal Republic seem to be numbered. The relevant rhetoric has not changed much in the case of Foreign Minister Baerbock and other government representatives. But the budget cuts planned by the Federal Cabinet for the Goethe-Institut (which, together with those of the previous year, add up to 26 million euros, ten percent of the total funding) and for the other cultural institutions under the auspices of the Federal Foreign Office, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Institute for Foreign Relations are sending a clear signal.
Especially if you see it in connection with the fundamental reorientation that politics has undergone in recent months. What the “turning point” proclaimed by Chancellor Scholz after the Russian attack on Ukraine means for the traditional understanding of “soft power” and for the attempt to exert influence through culture has so far been underestimated and hardly discussed.