On December 8, 2021, the newly elected German Chancellor Olaf Scholz swore in Green Party politician Claudia Roth as the new Minister of State for Culture and Media. Roth replaces Monika Grütters, who held the post from 2013 to 2021.
Image above: Claudia Roth, Photo: Kristian Schuller
Longtime parliamentarian Claudia Roth was most recently Vice President of the German Bundestag. Effective immediately, she will assume responsibility for culture and media in the federal government. This makes her head of a top federal agency with around 400 employees.
Culture is relevant to the system because it is relevant to democracy. It is the putty that holds us and our society together.Claudia Roth
On her website, Claudia Roth, who worked as a dramaturge at the theater in the 1970s and has managed the political rock band Ton Steine Scherben around Rio Reiser since 1982, describes her attitude toward the new task:
“I have two great, eternal loves: my passion for art and culture and our democracy. These two loves, they belong inseparably together. Without art, the irrepressible is missing; without culture, democracy fails to have a voice.
Culture is relevant to the system because it is relevant to democracy. It is the cement that holds us and our society together. Its value and significance for our cohesion extend beyond all borders. And wherever democracy comes under pressure, wherever despots curtail what can be said and done, the first thing they do is undermine the freedom of the media, of art and culture, of artists, cultural workers and journalists. Then the music falls silent, the screens remain dark and the stages empty. Strengthening culture in its diversity and our cultural workers means strengthening, protecting and defending our democracy.
I have been committed to this with passion, heart and attitude ever since my time in the theater, since the rides in the Scherben tour bus and also in our heart chamber of democracy, the parliament. The staple of our democracy is art and culture in its diversity and freedom. It would be a huge honor for me to be at the forefront of shaping cultural policy in the coming years. Because the last government left it out in the cold for far too long. That’s why the coalition agreement is also a strong signal for art and culture, the colorful, the diverse and the unruly, the loud and the quiet, for the heartbeat of our democracy.”
Claudia Roth has been a member of the German Bundestag since 1998 and was its vice president from 2013 to 2021. The Green Party member of parliament was and is active in numerous bodies and committees. She has been involved in cultural policy, among other things, as a full member and chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy, as a member of the Committee on Culture and Media, and as cultural policy spokeswoman for the Green Party.
Claudia Roth became known to a broad public as the federal chairwoman of the Green Party (from 2001 to 2002 and from 2004 to 2013). From 2003 to 2004, Roth was also the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office.