Berlin techno DJs call for protected Unesco status to save club scene from gentrification

The inside of Berlin’s world-famous Berghain nightclub  (Handout)
The inside of Berlin’s world-famous Berghain nightclub (Handout)

Berlin techno DJs are lobbying for a protected Unesco heritage status amid fears of gentrification.

The city is well-known for being one of the world’s great nightclub destinations, but DJs fear that both Covid and gentrification could spell an end to the scene.

Now a campaign led by the DJ Dr Motte aims to have Berlin’s techno handed “intangible cultural heritage” status from Unesco.

Dr Motte, known as the man behind Berlin’s first acid-house parties in the 1980s, told DJ Mag: “It would mean that the government and authorities have to help the culture continue.

“It would mean easier access to money from the state for support... if we have that status, we could support clubs with lower taxes, and it could affect building and trading laws.”

Among the conditions needed to obtain the status are a ‘safeguarding roadmap’ showing what actions will be taken to support the cultural heritage.

Among those supportive of the move is Alan Oldham, a DJ originally from Detroit but who now lives in Berlin.

“Unesco protection would go a long way towards maintaining that old spirit,” he told the Observer newspaper.

“Legacy venues like Tresor and Berghain for example would be protected as cultural landmarks.”

The DJs hope that the designation would help protect nightclubs by promoting greater consideration about their cultural impact among the authorities.

Other activities which have previously been designated as having intangible cultural heritage include Jamaican reggae and shrimp fishing on horseback in Belgium.

Berlin’s nightclub scene was dealt a fresh blow last week after the city’s Senate confirmed that dancing would be banned at clubs because of high Covid rates.

While clubs remain open due to ongoing legal challenges, dancing will be forbidden from Wednesday.

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