Panel recommends dissolution of 'dysfunctional' Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation

With 2,000 employees, the foundation is the biggest arts employer in Germany

The foundation oversees the museums on Berlin's Museum Island © Fionn Grosse

A panel of academic advisors to the government has proposed dissolving the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, the organisation that oversees 15 Berlin museum collections as well as archives, libraries and research institutes, the weekly newspaper Die Zeit reported.

The panel’s report on the future of the foundation, commissioned in 2018 by Culture Minister Monika Grütters, is to be presented to the public on 13 July. Die Zeit, which had obtained advance information on the 300-page report, said the panel describes the foundation as “dysfunctional” and “structurally overwhelmed.”

A spokeswoman for the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation declined to comment on the report before its official release.

Die Zeit reported that the panel found that the foundation stifles progress in the institutions it oversees, which include the museums on Museum Island, the Hamburger Bahnhof, the Neue Nationalgalerie and the Gemäldegalerie. It proposes creating four separate foundations with separate management: one to oversee the Berlin state museums, one for the Staatsbibliothek (State Library), another for the Geheime Staatsarchiv (Secret State Archive) and a fourth for the Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut (Iberian-American Institute), Die Zeit reported. It also proposed reorganising the foundation’s finances.

The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation is the largest cultural employer in Germany with around 2,000 employees and a 2020 budget of €336m. Its museums combined registered more than four million visitors in 2019.