The Aims and Activities of Siemens Kulturprogramm


A Tradition of Supporting the Arts

The arts have played an important role in the work of Siemens from the outset, on the one hand as part of the company's internal employee education policy and, on the other, as part of its external presence in the public arena. The tradition of Siemens support for research and for the arts has produced a number of foundations. Since its establishment in 1958 the Carl Friedrich von Siemens Foundation in Nymphenburg Palace, Munich, has become especially well known for the series of lectures that it presents. The Ernst von Siemens Cultural Trust has provided museums with funds for the acquisition and exhibition of works of art and for catalogues since 1983. And the Ernst von Siemens Foundation, a private institution set up in 1972 in Zug, Switzerland, awards one of the most highly endowed of all prizes for musicians and musicologists, particularly those involved in contemporary music.


Support for the Arts as Part of Company Policy

In 1987 Siemens extended its involvement in cultural affairs beyond the existing institutions by developing a program of support for projects in the arts - the Kulturprogramm.

For Siemens today, cultural activity represents an opportunity to have a greater say in shaping the reciprocal relationship between the company and its surroundings and to secure a presence, as partner, in many areas of society. For a major company like Siemens the communication channels opened up by long term planning of its involvement in the arts, and the resulting exchange of information, are of fundamental significance and not simply "decorative" accessories to be indulged in if and when the state of the economy permits. The company's management therefore entrusted Siemens Kulturprogramm with the pursuit of such long-term activities.

Siemens employs its own researchers in order to be able to put innovative products on the market. It is therefore only logical that the company should concern itself with innovations in the arts, permitting it to transcend purely economic considerations and think and act in accordance with the very latest developments in other fields. Thus the Kulturprogramm functions within the company as the indispensable interface between its business and cultural activities. In this sense, Siemens' cultural involvement is a means of both internal and external communication.


Active Rather than Reactive Involvement

The Kulturprogramm does not merely make funds available on application. Rather, its chief concern is to develop concepts of its own, to take the initiative in planning and carrying out projects. In doing so, it pays particular attention to compelling artistic quality' and to the need for support as dictated by cultural policy in general.


Main Areas of Activity

The choice of projects focuses on current experiments and new approaches in the arts and on the artistic use of electronic and digital media, with the following aims:

To encourage appreciation of contemporary art among Siemens employees by means of wide-ranging cultural events at various company sites, for example in the series Kulturzeiten  and Werk-Hall.

To promote contemporary artistic activity and improve  its public standing in the fields of the Visual Arts, by installations involving the fine arts, architecture, and landscape at various company sites, projects concerning art in public places, encouraging contemporary means of expression, and artistic photography; Mimic, by promoting exceptional experiments in contemporary music, organizing and presenting series of concerts with young professional musicians, and commissioning new compositions; Theater and Dance, by supporting productions of experimental theater and dance pieces (including their networking) and organizing related series of events; and Contemporary and CulturaI History, by exhibitions, conferences, and publications on the history and future of our civilization, sometimes in cooperation with other company areas of activity.


External and Internal Cooperation

Siemens Kulturprogramm naturally works in close consultation with public cultural institutions when choosing and developing projects worthy of support. On an internal company level, the Kulturprogramm may incorporate regional sites in large scale projects or, conversely, organize events for specific branches and factories. In this way, for example, Siemens' economic involvement in the areas of eastern Germany formerly in the GDR has been accompanied by activity in the cultural sector, helping to forge the necessary social links between the company and its surroundings. Cultural events that take place on company premises combine the two aims of promoting contemporary art and artists and of acquainting employees and clients with them.


The Innovative Potential of the Arts

Artistic treatment of the world of industry and labor, and recognition of the innovative potential inherent in artistic activity, can both open up new perspectives. Hence it is part of Siemens Kulturprogramm's aims to encourage interaction between the world of trade and industry on the one hand and that of the arts on the other, helping to break down the boundaries between the two and combat prejudices entertained on both sides.



"Dialog in Banners": an artistic project for the 1997 anniversary year


wpeA.jpg (43958 octets) 1      wpe3.jpg (10836 octets) 2       art&siemenshethruebanner_small.jpg (1772 octets) 3Hans Einar Thrue

Please click on the images to view them in bigger size.

Copyright  İ 1: the artists, Siemens, 2-3: Siemens, the Danish artist Hans Einar Thrue.


From its inception, I have enjoyed following the "Dialog in Banners" project at the Siemens Kultur Programm. Contributions from over forty countries confirm the major - and weIl deserved - resonance we hoped to spark In our international companies. The banners will grace the site of our 150th anniversary celebration, the International Congress Center in Berlin, and be an artistic expression of our presence on all continents and In all cultures around the globe.

I would like to thank all those who have participated in the project and congratulate them on their creations. My special compliments go to the prize-winning contributions from Brazil, Indonesia, and the United States

Dr. Heinrich v. Pierer



For the occasion of the company's anniversary Siemens Kulturprogramm, Munchen, has Invited all of the national subsidiaries to participate In an international joint project. Each of the participating locations was asked to commission an artist - preferably an innovative, contemporary one - to create a banner. Siemens Kulturprogramm was in charge of the project and cooperated closely with our different locations.

Siemens 150"' anniversary - that is enough of a reason for us to send out a visible and colorful si9nal, to our employees and to our customers, within our organization, and externally for the world to see. For ages, banners have served as a symbol of celebration as well as a medium for expressing group cohesion.

Our international joint project encouraged each of our locations to create Its own unmistakable eye-catching symbol. At the same time, it emphasizes the sense of belonging to the greater whole of an international company. Together these two aspects of the project promote a balance between an awareness of the company's strength beyond the horizon of the individual locations and an expression of decentralized self-sufficiency.

During the Siemens Conference in October 1997 all banners will be presented jointly to document the global diversity of our locations.

Apart from the presentation of the flags in the joint exhibition in Berlin the project is documented in this publication, a catalog-kit containing a color booklet with photographs of the banners at their respective locations. Special attention is being paid to the three best banner contributions which were chosen by a qualified panel. Included additionally is a color depiction of each banner with biographical information on the artist.

The global feedback to our invitation -44 beautifully and elaborately designed artists' banners - has made possible this colorful and significant contribution to Siemens' anniversary year.

Michael Rossnagl





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