Tresor’s Dimitri Hegemann: “If you talk to some politicians about a club, they won’t know if you are taking about a book club or a football club…”


Germany’s decision to class nightclubs as cultural institutions could lead to a reappraisal of how local authorities view the night-time sector, Tresor founder Dimitri Hegemann has said in an interview with Groove magazine.

Following a Bundestag decision earlier this month, nightclubs in Germany are now to be regarded as ‘facilities for cultural purposes’, akin to theaters, operas, museums and concert halls, rather than their previous designation as ‘amusement venues‘, along with amusement arcades, betting shops and brothels.

“Music clubs are cultural institutions that shape the identity of city districts as an integral part of cultural and economic life,” Pamela Schobeß , board member and political spokeswoman for LiveKomm, the live music commission, said earlier this month. “Now, an outdated law is to be adapted to reality. This helps to keep cities and neighbourhoods alive and liveable and to protect cultural places from displacement.”

According to Hegemann, who also opened the Tresor.West venue in Dortmund shortly before COVID-19 struck, the new status for nightclubs in Germany means that such venues can be considered as part of urban development planning.

“A city receives funding applications to expand streets and so on or – as in Berlin-Tegel – to build apartments for 80,000 people,” he explained. “Now, clubs must also be taken into account when it comes to urban development funding. Politicians have to make people aware of this. Politicians, who always go to bed way too early, usually don’t even know what a club is, or what is happening there, as a place for ideas to be exchanged.

“Developing this sensitivity is important. If you talk to some politicians about a club, they won’t know whether you are talking about a book club or a football club. You have to define that first. And that’s a process. And then you have to take a look at rural areas, where there is no space for subculture, and where that now has to be taken into account.

“You have to see that there is simply this longing in young people who want to break out, who want change. People who approach something like this need to be supported.”


In addition, the new status being offered to nightclubs could lead to the fostering of new scenes, similar to that which Berlin experienced at the start of the 90s, which led to the city flourishing as a cultural capital.

“[It] will give rise to ideas that will motivate other people to do something,” Hegemann told Groove. “A small gallery, a hostel, a vegan restaurant – anything.

That’s how it was in the capital back then. […] And that’s how a scene developed. Adding all these small – let’s call them start-ups – and these different ideas, a real economic power has emerged in Berlin, the so-called ‘nighttime economy’.”

The full interview can be found here [in German]. Main photo by Marie Staggat, as featured in HUSH – Berlin Club Culture in a Time of Silence.

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