The definition of cultural cooperatives is relatively vague. Cultural cooperatives can work in many different fields and industries. They might operate in the property sector, planning urban spaces with a special cultural mixture or refurbishing an abandoned rail station to establish a new cultural centre. They might act as a production cooperative, publishing a newspaper or running a theatre. They might take on the role of a creditor, helping good ideas gain momentum in the cultural sector. Or they might function as an agency for a wide range of services. Cultural cooperatives have unlimited potential in terms of their goals and impact. Two factors unite them under a common term: their distinctly cultural concerns and the cooperative principles they pursue under the legal status of a cooperative.


This Directory to the world of cultural cooperatives is divided into sections that highlight both their diversity and the main field of activity. Individual cooperatives can be subsumed under multiple categories.



Preservation of Cultural Heritage

www.schloss-tonndorf.de, 99438 Tonndorf
The cooperative project on Schloss Tonndorf was started in 2005. It aims at redeveloping and preserving the castle and its 15 hectare property. The castle shall be used to create a symbiotic community, a working group and a shared house usable for 60 people.



www.wirtshaus-asten.de, 84529 Tittmoning
The tavern of Asten, formerly known as guest house Remmelberger, has poured Steiner beer since 1968. To prevent the village inn from being closed down, the inhabitants of Asten founded a cooperative in 2012. Thus, the traditional guest house could be redeveloped and carried on.



Producers' and traders' cooperatives in the cultural field

www.kulturgenossenschaft-lich.de, 35423 Lich
Since its founding in 1983, the cinematic art theatre “Traumstern” has been planned as sociocultural centre of the region. In 2014 the cooperative “Lich” was established to support the theatre, the culture club “künstLich” and the gastronomy with its beer garden. The co-op has bought the complex as building lease.



www.buechergilde.de, 60329 Frankfurt
Since its founding in 1924, the unionized book club “Büchergilde” has written German literary history. It has provided access to books for the labour movement, taken part in influencing the cultural identity of the German trade unions and given the culture of book a home. “Büchergilde” has been a registered co-op since 2015.



Networks and support associations

www.zentralwerk.de, 01127 Dresden
The Zentralwerk (“central plant”) has combined living, working, Arts and Culture on one site. Based on a growing community around the culture club “friedrichstadtZentral” and with the help of the non-profit foundation “trias” they have been creating affordable space for self-determined living and working. The project has been realized by the cooperative “Zentralwerk”, which was found in 2014.



www.jugendagentur-heidelberg.de, 69115 Heidelberg
The “Jugendagentur Heidelberg“ (“youth agency Heidelberg“) supports adolescents and young adults to successfully start their professional careers. Since 2009 the youth agency has been organized as co-op, which is dedicated to reduce youth unemployment and to increase youth’s employability.




Prof. Dr. Thomas Knubben

Telephone: +49 (0)7141/140-411
E-Mail: knubben@ph-ludwigsburg.de