A central feature of the title European Capital of Culture is that culture is understood as a means of urban development. Do you also see it like that?
Everyone says so. So even the most classical city planner in the world says "Culture is the engine of urban development". The question is more like "how". Of course, cultural processes are very important for the definition of places and they totally enliven them. At Platzprojekt the cultural operation is so that there are events here, concerts, exhibitions, theatre. It is not always high culture in the classical sense, but rather homemade culture, and in many parts also unpaid culture, which is difficult for many of them. And they define this place as a narrative, even bigger than the normal craftsman-, container-, infrastructure-part of this place. And with the help of this narrative, we can develop this place, and with the help of other cultural narratives, you can also develop other places, and of course that is a goal for urban development.
So you would see yourself as part of the cultural scene in Hannover?
In parts, yes. In many parts we see ourselves as enablers of culture, which is somehow also culture. In many parts we are culture ourselves, so sometimes I also do art and can run it free here. Therefore, it is difficult to answer this question strikingly. I would say for me "yes". This does not apply to everyone and not always to the entire Platzprojekt. But of course it is also a cultural part of our city, one where you can do something yourself and where you can just try out yourself without having to knock on a thousand doors.
In dealing with all these young people who want to try things and the limited space, the city administration must be thinking further ahead in the future. And we are all happy to help.
What makes culture different in Hannover than in other cities?
This is such a typical European Capital of Culture question. Since you can always come with these typical, striking Hannoverian stuff: We are undetected and if you look closely, there is a lot of interesting culture everywhere. But in general, that does not distinguish Hanover from other cities. Interesting here, in my opionion, is that the city has a very good measure by their size. So you have a lot of cultural offers in relation to the inhabitants. And because it is so small and does not suffocate in the overabundance, like other big cities partly, one knows the culture simply at some point. Theoretically, we have the potential to work more collaboratively, so the administration can be a bit more on eye level with the cultural scene, because it does not face such oversupply and only has to manage it.
Is it a challenge for the cultural scene in Hannover that, for example, there is not so much empty space here?
That's one of many challenges. In dealing with all these young people who want to try things and the limited space, the city administration must be thinking further ahead in the future. And we are all happy to help. All the players know each other well in the city and know about the problems. At the same time, as with all administrations, there is a lack of dialogue between them and the actors. That's one of the topics of the European Capital of Culture application as well. There they said first: "We just talk to our actors. We want to know what is really going on, what is driving you, what is the topic?" My suggestion is that this should become a basic principle of administration. So that the administration could also address and use the civil society more as an expert.