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A Guide to Germany's Top Ten Cultural Events in Autumn 2013
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A Guide to Germany's Top Ten Cultural Events in Autumn 2013

Picture of Bethan Morgan
Updated: 9 February 2017
Renowned for its nightlife and contemporary arts scene, Berlin’s dynamic art and music events seduce visitors to the capital. However, it is not simply Berlin that has a packed calendar of events this autumn and winter; with Cologne’s Urban Art Festival transforming the cityscape, and Oktoberfest celebrating its Bavarian roots, Germany boasts a wealth of art and culture events taking place in autumn and winter 2013.

Art | New National Gallery: ‘Kapoor In Berlin’

Berlin: 18 May – 24 November 2013

A colossal 3000-square meters of the Martin-Gropius-Bau has been taken over by renowned contemporary artist Anish Kapoor for his exhibition titled ‘Kapoor In Berlin’. The British Turner Prize winner is exhibiting around 70 works in his first major exhibition in the German capital, curated by Norman Rosenthal. The exhibition moves through Kapoor’s sculptures as he explores stone, glass and wax. His focus on materiality, experimentations with paint and cross-overs between painting, sculpture and architecture are included in addition to site specific works devised especially for the spaces within Martin-Gropius-Bau; most notable is the work created for the atrium of the gallery Symphony for a Beloved Son.

Art | Cologne CityLeaks Urban Art Festival

Cologne: 2 – 22 September 2013

This young biennial will be celebrating its second season in September with 30 international and national artists transforming pockets of urban space within Cologne. CityLeaks Urban Art Festival has grown since its first year to include sculpture, performance, dance and video mapping and aims to encourage public engagement with urban art in order to create an understanding around the benefits of this democratic art form. The programme listings will see outdoor art as well as artist talks, film screenings and workshops within various venues.

Literature | International Literature Festival Berlin

Berlin: 4 – 15 September 2013

Promoting the globalisation of literature and cross-cultural exchange of ideas, the International Literature Festival Berlin is a celebration of contemporary prose and poetry. The festival captivates audiences every year with readings, talks, symposiums and discussions with authors. It aims to expand and develop different areas of literature such as the transition of literature into film, and promotes a broad focus on various literary genres including children’s literature. The festival will open with a talk from Ghana Must Go author Taiye Selasi, and will close with Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie.

Music | Berlin Music Festival

Berlin: 6 -7 September 2013

Occurring annually, this two day music festival takes place in the unique setting of a disused airport outside of Berlin. The biggest names in the music industry gather here yearly, and 2013 is no different with Britpop royalty Blur performing, as well as the eccentric Icelandic singer Björk. The line up includes emerging musicians and singers, bringing to the Berlin Music Festival a dynamic and eclectic mix of underground and mainstream, international and national flavours. The festival has adopted a sideline focus on the arts and poetry, and its growing Arts Village features the installations and art mosaics of Church of Phonk alongside a poetry saloon.

Art | New National Gallery: ‘BubeDameKönigAss’

Berlin: 6 September – 24 November 2013

Mies van der Rohe’s New National Gallery is a renowned architectural presence within Berlin, significant for housing some of the most important 20th century contemporary artworks. The current exhibition sees attention turned to four artists Martin Eder, Michael Kunze, Anselm Reyle, Thomas Scheibitz, bringing together 40 of their works from the past 15 years. ‘BubeDameKönigAss’ exemplifies contemporary German art through visual and thematic contrasts and poignant dialogues.

Culture | Oktoberfest

Munich: 21 September – 6 October 2013

For just over two weeks Oktoberfest hosts one of the world’s largest free fairs, attracting thousands of tourists and locals every year. 2013 will be bigger than ever with the festival celebrating its 180th year. Unique to Oktoberfest are Oktoberfestbiers, traditional beers which have been an important feature of the festival since 1818, brewed in six German breweries, accompanied by traditional German meals for a feast fit for kings. Aside from the eating and drinking, Oktoberfest is a celebration of Bavarian culture featuring parades of locals adorned in traditional costume as well as a customary gun salute. Oktoberfest is an annual attraction suitable for families and a perfect insight into traditional Bavarian culture.

Film | Filmfest Hamburg

Hamburg: 26 September – 5 October 2013

The theme of this years Filmfest Hamburg is exile, a subject interwoven throughout the event’s various screenings and talks. The festival is one of Germany’s largest and most established film events, screening over 40,000 films across ten days. Filmfest Hamburg embraces the diversity of cinema by straddling different filmic genres such as art house, mainstream and documentary, and by introducing themed sections titled WORD!, DANCE!, MUSIC! and ART! to explore the relationship between literature, language and film. The 2013 programme includes François Ozon’s award winning Jeune & Jolie (Young & Beautiful), Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, a film which won Bruce Dern the Award for Best Actor at Cannes, and the presentation of the Douglas Sirk Award to revered actress Tilda Swinton.

Music | Jazzfest Berlin

Berlin: 31 October – 3 November 2013

Originally the Berlin Jazztage, Jazzfest Berlin has achieved a legendary status since its inception in 1964. The festival runs on a global scale and is well loved for its performances from distinguished international jazz musicians to emerging jazz talent. The festival incorporates all styles which fall under the umbrella of jazz throughout its outstanding lineup. This means that year after year, Jazzfest Berlin is contributing not only to the development of jazz, but to increasing the exposure of underground jazz. A diverse, dynamic and creative event, Jazzfest Berlin is a must for jazz enthusiasts.

Art | dokumentART European Film Festival for Documentaries

Neubrandenburg: 18 – 22 October 2013

dokumentART focuses on both the experimental nature and traditional tropes of documentary film. Held annually in Neubrandenburg, the festival promotes innovative and progressive independent films made by young, emerging film talent from Europe, Germany and Poland. dokumentART is also held in Poland, and this partnership has strengthened the relationship between Poland and Germany, breaking cultural barriers and encouraging cross-cultural exchange. This international interchange brings a freshness and dynamism to independent films and plays an important role in forming foreign partnerships.

Culture | Dresden Striezelmarkt

Dresden: 28 November – 24 December 2013

There is no better way to indulge in the Christmas spirit than at Dresden Striezelmarkt, considered to be one of the world’s oldest Christmas markets. The market square, dating back to 1434, features the world’s largest Erzgebirge step pyramid attracting visitors from far and wide. The romantic setting is the perfect backdrop to sample Dresden’s famed stollen, but only after the giant stollen has been paraded through the Old Town. Along with the traditional culinary offerings and historic setting, the market sells traditional handmade crafts making Striezelmarkt an authentic experience unique to the history and character of Dresden.

By Bethan Morgan