Germany ‘should shell out for Swiss study’

The Swiss government has called on Germany to pay for the 10,000 German students who study there and are costing its universities up to €40,000 per degree.

Germany 'should shell out for Swiss study'
Photo: DPA

Swiss colleges receive government funding for domestic students, but not for foreigners, leaving them with budget problems when Germans attend — possibly to escape chronic overcrowding at home and to get a degree from high-ranking universities.

Now, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported on Tuesday, the Swiss government is calling on the Germans to match the funding of between €8,000 and €40,000 it pays per student, depending on their degrees.

“Exploratory talks” have already been held between the two countries to discuss the possibility of Germany paying for students who embark on a degree in Switzerland, said Swiss Education Secretary Mauro Dell’Ambrogio.

Swiss nationals studying at German universities would theoretically be paid for by their government in return, he added. As there are far fewer Swiss coming to Germany to study, this set-up would leave the German government as a net contributor.

The country had, Dell’Ambrogio said, put measures in place to deter foreign students. Zurich University charges Germans just over €400 more than Swiss students per semester, and others only accept students with top grades.

Dell’Ambrogio told the paper that “a Europe-wide solution was not realistic,” and suggested Germany might resist a bilateral agreement as it might trigger its other neighbouring countries to ask for a similar set-up.

In Austria, universities introduced a quota for how many foreign students could study medicine in 2007. And in Belgium, similar thoughts are percolating through higher education establishments as they educate increasing numbers of French students.

The Local/jcw

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Dual German, Swiss exhibitions lift veil on Nazi-era art hoard

Portions of the spectacular art collection hoarded by the son of a Nazi-era dealer will be shown for the first time since the Second World War in parallel exhibitions in Switzerland and Germany starting on Thursday.

Dual German, Swiss exhibitions lift veil on Nazi-era art hoard
A painting by Ernst Ludwig unveiled in Bern in July. Photo: DPA.

“Gurlitt: Status Report”, which displays around 450 works by masters including Monet, Cezanne, Renoir and Picasso, aims to shed a light on the systematic looting of Jewish collections under Adolf Hitler.

The works in the two exhibitions, which run in Bern and the German city of Bonn until March, are just a small fraction of the more than 1,500 pieces discovered in 2012 in the possession of Cornelius Gurlitt.

His father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, worked as an art dealer for the Nazis starting in 1938.

The discovery of the stash made headlines around the world and revived an emotional debate about how thoroughly postwar Germany had dealt with art plundered by the Nazi regime.

“At last it is out of hiding,” the German weekly Die Zeit said about the collection, noting that “for the first time it will be possible to view what many have spoken and written about in the past few years, without being able to see it so far.”

The show, split between the two museums, is the result of years of disputed research into Gurlitt's collection, which was discovered in the course of a tax probe.

Inspectors found the works in Gurlitt's Salzburg home and his cluttered Munich apartment, many in poor condition, unframed and mouldy.

“With these two exhibitions, we wish to pay homage to the people who became victims of the National Socialist art theft, as well as the artists who were defamed and persecuted by the regime as 'degenerate',” Rein Wolfs and Nina Zimmer, directors of the Kunsthalle Bonn and the Kunstmuseum Bern, respectively, said in a statement.

Legal tangles

Gurlitt, who died in 2014 at the age of 81, was described in the press as a recluse who lived off of the sale of his collection, valued in the millions of euros.

The exhibition in Bern will focus on modern works which were classified by the Nazis as “Degenerate Art” in 1937 and confiscated for sale abroad.

In Bonn, the show will present art that was looted from victims of the Nazi regime and works whose provenance has not yet been established.

The exhibits themselves have prompted difficult legal tangles.

When Gurlitt died he left more than 1,500 artworks to the Bern museum.

It accepted the collection, though it left about 500 works in Germany so that a government task force could research their often murky origins.

But determining their provenance has been slow, and it is not yet clear how many of these works were stolen.

Researchers have definitively identified just six works of art as looted from Jewish owners.

Cezanne behind a cupboard 

Four, including Max Liebermann's “Riders on the Beach” and Henri Matisse's “Seated Woman”, have now been returned to their heirs.

And last week, the German Lost Art Foundation said it had identified a painting by Thomas Couture as belonging to French Jewish politician and resistance leader Georges Mandel.

Other families have also tried to lay claims to works.

Relatives of Paul Cezanne have asked for the return of “La Montagne Sainte Victoire,” a painting found in Gurlitt's Salzburg house behind a cupboard.

“It is not yet clear how the work came into Hildebrand Gurlitt's possession,” Marcel Bruelhart, vice president of the Kunstmuseum Bern foundation, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

One of Gurlitt's cousins also contested the donation of works to the Bern Museum, claiming that Gurlitt had not been of sound mind when he wrote his will.

Her appeal was thrown out by a German court last December, clearing the way for the current exhibitions.