Berlin Techno Culture is Now UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Rave The Planet Initiative Succeeds

(Official press release from March 14, 2024; Photo: Chris Bellevue)  

Yesterday, Wednesday, March 13, 2024, we, the non-profit organization rave the planet gGmbH, received an email from the German UNESCO Commission with the long-awaited response to our application to include “Techno Culture in Berlin” in the German National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The email stated:

“…we are pleased to inform you that ‘Techno Culture in Berlin’ has been included in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage.”

Our joy is hard to put into words. This recognition marks a significant milestone for the entire electronic music culture and has implications far beyond the borders of Berlin.

We congratulate all cultural creators who have shaped Berlin’s techno culture for almost 40 years and made it what it is today. A heartfelt thank you goes to everyone who has accompanied and supported us on this long journey, from Hans Cousto’s idea in 2011 to this moment.

Announcement by UNESCO

The official announcement of the inclusion of “Techno Culture in Berlin” in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage was made yesterday, March 13, 2024, through a joint press release by the Conference of Ministers of Culture, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media, and the German UNESCO Commission.

Timon Gremmels, Chairman of the 2024 Conference of Ministers of Culture and Minister of Culture in the German federal state of Hesse, emphasized:

“The recent entries underline the diversity and vitality of cultural practices. The list of our Intangible Heritage continues to grow, as does the commitment to preserving traditions for future generations.”

Member of the Bundestag and Minister of State for Culture and the Media Claudia Roth also commented in the press release:

“The new additions not only illustrate the regional diversity and thematic breadth of lived culture in Germany, they also stand for an expanded concept of culture that opposes the absurd separation of E and U culture*. This is exemplified by the inclusion of Berlin’s techno culture. For more than 30 years, techno has been an important sound of our capital, also for many people from Europe and around the world who come to Berlin. Berlin’s techno culture has stood for values such as diversity, respect, and openness for many years.”

*Editorial note: In Germany, “E-culture” refers to high culture or elite culture, while “U-culture” refers to popular culture or mass culture.

This appreciation and support by politicians symbolize a change in the perception of electronic music culture, bringing it one step closer to the goal of equality with other established forms of culture.

Long Journey, Big Vision:
The Initiative’s Story

The long journey to recognition began in 2011 at the Kunsthaus Tacheles in Berlin with the founding of a non-profit association by Dr. Motte, Ellen Dosch-Roeingh, and other Berlin cultural creators.

Hans Cousto

Hans Cousto

Swiss mathematician and musicologist Hans Cousto, also a founding member, proposed expanding the association’s statute to include the recognition of “Techno” as Intangible Cultural Heritage, which was unanimously accepted.

The association was dissolved around the same time as the closure of the Kunsthaus Tacheles. However, Hans Cousto’s idea remained present and was revived with the founding of the non-profit organization rave the planet gGmbH.

Preparations for the UNESCO application began in 2018. A working group of several experts and advisors was assembled by Rave The Planet and partner organizations. Special mention goes to Felicitas Settili and Yad Attar, who were instrumental in drafting the application.

For nearly two years, the working group intensively researched Berlin’s techno culture, conducted numerous interviews with cultural creators, and collaborated with the Berlin-based film production company 25films to produce the short documentary “Techno Culture in Berlin // Film on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Application”, available on Rave The Planet’s YouTube channel.


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Success Despite Initial Rejection

After the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe initially rejected the UNESCO application in April 2022, the surprise was all the greater when on March 15, 2023, the official feedback came from the UNESCO Commission and the Conference of Ministers of Culture, welcoming the initiative.

However, the first version of the application was returned for revision due to thematic ambiguities and insufficiently answered evaluation criteria.

Within a few weeks, the application was revised and finalized by Ellen Dosch-Roeingh, Matthias Roeingh (Dr. Motte), and other team members of Rave The Planet. This revised version was resubmitted to UNESCO at the end of May 2023.

The application was then accepted on March 13, 2024, and thus “Techno Culture in Berlin” is now officially included in the German National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Recognition Brings New Responsibilities

The entire process until recognition took approximately 13 years, but it once again demonstrates that a grand vision can become a reality through steadfast conviction, hard work, perseverance, and collaboration among many people.

With the recognition of “Techno Culture in Berlin”, new tasks await us to further support and protect this vibrant cultural form. This includes several tasks and the further participation of cultural practitioners, such as the organization of educational programs and events, cultural events, panel talks, exhibitions, continuing original Berlin techno traditions such as techno parades, and much more.

We, the non-profit organization rave the planet gGmbH, are committed to continuing our efforts to ensure that this significant cultural movement remains preserved for future generations.

(Editorial Note: This paragraph has been updated in some points.)

#RaveThePlanet  #KulturerbeTechno

Instagram Post der Deutschen UNESCO


Excerpt from the press release dated March 13, 2024, translated from German to English:

“Six New Additions To Germany’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List

Berlin’s Techno Culture And Mountain Climbing In Saxony Among The Newcomers

The Cultural Ministers Conference of the federal states and the Commissioner of the Federal Government for Culture and Media decided today to expand the Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage. In addition to Berlin’s techno culture and mountain climbing in Saxony, the Finsterwalder singing tradition, the Kirchseeon Perchtenlauf, the Schwälmer white embroidery, and the Viez were added. This brings the total to 150 entries in the Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage, showcasing the diversity of cultural life in Germany.”

You can find the full press release here.

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