Saudi Arabian Alwaleed Philanthropies donates €9 million to Berlin Museum of Islamic Art

BY Katrina Kufer / Jul 15 2018 / 14:51 PM

In addition to the recent increase of the German culture budget to €1.8 billion, the German museum received a cash influx from Saudi Arabia to promote cultural education

Saudi Arabian Alwaleed Philanthropies donates €9 million to Berlin Museum of Islamic Art
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / David von Becker
Installation view from TAPE OVER. Tape Art Aktion at the Museum for Islamic Art, Berlin. 2018.

Cultural outlets in Germany are set to benefit from the recent approval of a 9 per cent increase in federal spending on culture. The development will see €5 million dedicated specifically to fine arts, literature, music and translation, €7.5 million allocated to purchasing artworks, €1.5 million for institutions to increase digital presence, and €1.5 million for archival preservation. German culture minister Monika Grütters asserts the efforts are to prioritise artistic offerings and education, specifically in non-city zones.

Installation view of interactive exhibition TAPE OVER. Tape Art Aktion in Berlin-Wedding, 3 June 2018 © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Martina Kopp

An additional monetary infusion into the German institutional framework has come from Saudi Arabian foundation Alwaleed Philanthropies, a Riyadh-based entity that collaborates with educational institutions and the government on initiatives to empower women and youths, build cultural understandings, and combat poverty. Its donation of €9 million to Berlin’s Museum of Islamic Art will serve to support education, exhibitions and fund the permanent display of Islamic art. It will also back the Multaka project, which aims to train Syrian and Iraqi refugees as museum guides in order to foster open-mindedness and acceptance, particularly in light of Germany’s populist and extremist political groups which have alarmingly grown in popularity following the refugee crisis.

The Berlin Museum of Islamic Art, part of the Pergamon Museum, is currently undergoing renovation and is due to reopen in 2026.

Pergamon Museum exterior. Panorama rendering 2018. © spreeformat architekten GmbH