Culture and the arts enjoy high place value in the district. Civic engagement in these fields is energetic, with no less than 1,400 cultural associations, groups, initiatives, and artists currently active in Marburg-Biedenkopf. This is an area with great potential for contributing to a sense of well-being and belonging. Volunteer work, whether in the cultural field or otherwise, also encourages residents to feel more strongly identified with their community and region.
The choir presence is especially large. For the 190 villages that make up the region there are over 380 choirs and singing clubs, including church choirs and children’s and youth choirs. Similarly, the theatre is represented by 60 performing groups, amateur as well as independent and professional, an unusually high number for a region with a total population of 250,000 people. Although many groups stage performances only once a year, these events count among the cultural highpoints in village life and are often complemented by performances from the local choir or brass band. Entire villages seem to meet here, perhaps for the pleasure of seeing a friend or family member transform before their eyes: from postal worker to CEO, from shy bank employee to knight in shining armour. The spectacle draws not only local residents, but also audiences from neighbouring villages.
Marburg-Biedenkopf stands out in the region for its large number of dance groups and traditional folk dress and heritage groups. 6,000 people are active in 58 member organizations of the Society for Folk Dance and Costume of Hesse (HVT), an impressive showing even on a national scale. The district is also home to the largest and most active and subgroup of the “Landesverband”. A deep interest in local history is evidenced by the over 40 museums, regional museums and collections as well as around 100 groups and initiatives working in this field. New museums and historical groups are currently in development. The wealth of activities offered in the areas of music, literature, the fine and “minor” arts, social/cultural events and much more, including special folk festivals such as the “Grenzgänge” complete this portrait of a vital and culturally diverse region. A listing of regional cultural offerings may be accessed in the “Kultur-Adressverzeichnis” database.
The role of the district administration as a custodian and champion of culture and the arts is highlighted in the presentation of cultural awards. An award named for the artist Otto Ubbelohde (1867–1922) has been given annually since 1987 for the conservation of local art, history, and the care of memorials and regional customs. The Otto-Ubbelohde Prize honours volunteer engagement in particular and is the highest honour awarded by the district in the field of culture. Other responsibilities of the district administration include maintaining the district’s own “Hinterland Museum im Schloss in Biedenkopf” and other historic buildings (Roth Synagogue, Wommelshausen Church), collaborating with research institutions (Documentation/Archive Center Stadtallendorf, various funds), providing expert consultation in various areas and facilitating events and exhibitions. Matters of cultural advancement are overseen by the the Division for Press and Culture Work. Within the framework of “Promoting Cultural Associations and Projects” the district administration seeks to support a wide range of cultural initiatives.
Translation: Mine Serizawa