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Techno mecca Berghain is now an institution of culture equal to museums, galleries and theatres following a landmark court ruling
By Jon Chapple on 12 Sep 2016
As London mourns the death of Fabric and Chicago’s small venues fail to convince local authorities live music is fine art, some good news from Germany: A Brandenburg court has ruled that Berghain, the 1,600-capacity Berlin nightclub widely regarded as the world capital of techno, is a place of cultural significance and thus entitled to a tax break.
In the past Berghain (pictured) would pay tax of 7% on its earnings – the same rate as museums, theatre and concert venues. However, in 2009 German tax authorities decreed clubs should be taxed at 19% as regular ‘entertainment events’, reports Der Spiegel, arguing Berghain is a place where people dance, drink and take drugs – “ruled by entertainment, not by culture” – and could not be classed as a concert venue as it has no stage.
Taking their case to the financial court of Berlin-Brandenburg, club management hit back that the same logic could be applied to a classical concerto. Berghain’s line of argument evidently held water in the eyes of the court, which agreed the club hosts cultural events and should be taxed as such.
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