There are many places for classical and alternative culture in town. A ramble through the scene.
“There is no place more vibrant,” proclaimed Horst Janssen, honorary citizen of Oldenburg and one of Germany’s most famous illustrators and graphic artists. The artistic enfant terrible, who died in 1995, was right, of course. And a stroll through Oldenburg’s cultural scene is all the proof you need.
The largest cultural institution in the city is the Staatstheater Oldenburg. With its mixture of drama, opera, ballet, concerts and pop-cultural events, it is one of Oldenburg’s favourite venues. The Sparte 7 and Theatre Club programmes also offer plenty of opportunities for local residents to take part in productions. The city also boasts many must-visit museums; from local and regional history and art and cultural history to contemporary painting, graphics and media art, there are plenty of exciting things to discover.
From puppetry to indie film scene
The city’s various other art and cultural venues and events have also helped Oldenburg to establish a reputation far beyond its borders. The Theater Laboratorium, for example, is an artistic gem and an absolute must for all residents of Oldenburg. Equipped with hand puppets of all sizes and with a passion for detail, the actors perform humorous, serious and satirical plays for both young and old. In 2017, the Laboratorium also opened the Limonaden Fabrik. Until 1965, the building was used for bottling fizzy drinks; today, it is a rehearsal stage and second venue for young actors.
Speaking of actors... In autumn, Oldenburg is the place to be for stars and starlets of the international indie film scene, when the curtain rises on the International Film Festival – which, according to MovieMaker magazine, is one of the 25 coolest in the world.
The Kulturetage puts on a diverse programme of events throughout the year, including a variety of productions at Theater K, readings, cabaret shows and concerts. Kulturetage is also home to Cine K, the city’s arthouse cinema, which shows independent films.
And one thing that almost all Oldenburgers look forward to is the annual Kultursommer – a festival with activities throughout the city: Guests are treated to a free 12-day outdoor programme of concerts, theatre performances, open-air cinemas and a varied family programme – (usually) under wonderful blue skies. This event is also organised by the Kulturetage team.
Plenty of space for creative minds
The Polyester club has been home to alternative culture for almost 15 years. In 2014, the cooperative Polygenos Kulturräume, which was founded specifically for this purpose, took over the entire Poly-Haus. The members are not only committed to the sustainable renovation and management of the building, but also to filling it with life: Creatives and initiatives can rent rooms, and there is also space to hold seminars, workshops and exhibitions. In addition to regular concerts and parties, short film screenings, readings, slam poetry sessions and clothing swap parties are organised here.
For the musicians among us there is the Cadillac Centre for Youth Culture, which was founded at the beginning of the 1990s. Here, young musicians and bands can practise in the affordable rehearsal rooms. Concerts by local and international bands regularly fill the concert hall, and music lovers can also take part in the “Sing das Ding” sing-along party and jam sessions.
Take your bike - at day or night
Still not enough culture for you? Many other clubs, bars and cafés also regularly host smaller concerts, open mic nights, lectures and workshops on a variety of creative, social and sustainable topics.
Real culture vultures can work off their energy at an intense table football session at the 3Raumwohnung pub or at the Bike&Inliner nights which take place every first Wednesday of the month (only in summer). And this final tip is for all Oldenburgers at any time of the year, day or night: don’t forget your bike! Because your two-wheeler can take you anywhere you want to go.