Berlin Nightclubs Fight to be Recognized as Cultural Institutions


What do nightclubs, casinos, and brothels all have in common? Well, they’re all classified as entertainment venues. While theatres, concert halls, and operas are all classified as cultural institutions. This means that under the classification of a cultural institution, it protects those establishments from being taken over by real estate deals, shorter leases, and gentrification. According to The Guardian over 100 venues in Berlin alone have closed in the past ten years, with a further 25 under threat.

In the past year, both Griessmuehle and Farbfernseher have closed. The closing of Griessmuehle led to a mass gathering where a diverse mix of people came to protest it’s closing. Although the club remained open until February 1st for one last round. The club isn’t completely closing, but the space won’t be in use for a few months which led to the question, why not be used in the meantime?

The argument against nightclubs is that they violate noise ordinances as well as diminish the surrounding properties. A noise complaint could take down any establishment no matter its legacy. Even if the current buildings include noise prevention and insulation. Still, the clubs are to blame.

Berlin’s nightclubs brought in over €1.8 billion in revenue in 2018. Most venues brought in €2 million with the average patron spending €200 a day. Even with these profits, current real estate pricing in Berlin is on the rise. This means that other bids may overtake these landmarks of escapism.

Berghain Nightclub

The main argument for clubs being kicked off their locations is simply noise. Builders investing near club locations need to incorporate noise protection and insulation into their projects. The current system still allows for the noise complaints to take down an establishment no matter how long its reign. Adding nightclubs into the ranks of opera houses, concert halls, and theatres wouldn’t allow such complaints to take down an establishment.

Nightclubs are places where people not only can experience the truths of a city but the truths and warmth of a people. Clubs allow people to be themselves perhaps for the first time or many times if just for a few hours. You discover so much more than music at a club, just like you would at a theatre, a concert or opera. Why not give the same rights to clubs?