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Franco-German cultural institute opens in Palermo
Kultur Ensemble

The “Kultur Ensemble” is the new Franco-German cultural institute in Palermo. The Künstlerhaus Atelier Panormos – la Bottega is an integral part of this.
The “Kultur Ensemble” is the new Franco-German cultural institute in Palermo. The Künstlerhaus Atelier Panormos – la Bottega is an integral part of this. | Photo (detail): © Goethe-Institut Palermo

The Franco-German cultural institute was opened in Palermo under the name “Kultur Ensemble”, the first bilateral cultural institute based on the Aachen Treaty.

Cultural cooperation represents an essential element of the Franco-German friendship. To deepen this commitment even further and address the challenges of the 21st century together, the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and the French President Emmanuel Macron signed the Aachen Treaty on 22 January 2019. In the field of culture, one of the ways in which Franco-German cooperation can be strengthened is through joint cultural institutes. Up until now, there has been a Franco-German cultural centre in Ramallah, run by the Goethe-Institut and the Institut français since 2004. The first Franco-German cultural institute has now been opened in Palermo under the name “Kultur Ensemble”. Present at the inauguration were the Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office Michelle Müntefering, the French Secretary of State Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, the Italian Secretary of State Benedetto della Vedova and Johannes Ebert, Secretary General of the Goethe-Institut.

Pioneer of cultural integration in Europe

At the opening, the Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office Michelle Müntefering said: “We are delighted about the opening of the Franco-German cultural institute in Palermo. It is an important step in the implementation of the Aachen Treaty of 22 January 2019. We are creating a joint cultural platform, stepping up our cooperation and taking responsibility for Europe. The past year has shown us how much we need contact with each other and that challenges are easier to overcome when we face them together. In partnership with our Italian partners, the Franco-German cultural institute will be a pioneer in promoting cultural integration in Europe, internally and externally.”

Speaking on behalf of the French, the Secretary of State Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said: “I am really pleased today to be able to open the world’s first Franco-German cultural institute: The Künstlerhaus Atelier Panormos – la Bottega represents the first step taken by the 'Kultur Ensemble' initiative.”

Europe reimagined

Johannes Ebert, Secretary General and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Goethe-Institut highlighted the special importance of the opening in Italy: “European cooperation is a top priority for the Goethe-Institut. It is a great opportunity to very specifically test out this innovative and intensive form of European cooperation in daily work. It is symbolic that our first cooperation – the 'Kultur Ensemble' – has started with a joint building in Palermo: Firstly in Italy, a founding EU member state, and secondly in Sicily, where Europe has always met with other cultures. Because these days, if Europe wants to be successful, there has to be internal cohesion and the willingness to cooperate with the world. 'Kultur Ensemble' embodies both of these aspects. I am particularly happy that our Franco-German-Italian residency programme, with its studio character, focuses so strongly on artistic cooperation – because Europe must continually be reimagined and reflected upon. The arts are essential for this.”

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