The show must go on: How cultural life has moved online in Germany

The audience being housebound does not necessarily mean the end of live performances. We take a look at creative cultural events across Germany which have migrated online.

The show must go on: How cultural life has moved online in Germany
The empty amphitheatre of the Bavarian Staatsoper in 2017. Source: DPA
In the time of coronavirus lockdown, many of us will be adjusting to life indoors, sealed off from the world and binge watching our favourite Netflix series.
But alternative forms of entertainment are becoming increasingly available to a nation under house arrest, as, despite being one of the hardest hit sectors economically, creative institutions across Germany are finding innovative ways to bring art to audiences at home. 
Their aim is to keep people entertained and to continue using art to keep people feeling connected with others.
Here are some of the cultural events which are now available online. We anticipate that as the situation continues, the list is bound to become longer.
A night in at the opera

Never been to the opera? Well, now is your chance to check out some high culture from the comfort of your couch – for free. 

The Bavarian State Opera is offering both a live stream and a video on demand service of opera and ballet performances. The next live stream will be the opera “The 7 Deaths of Maria Callas” on Saturday, April 11th and the full schedule can be found here.

The Berlin State Opera is also keeping  “visitors” entertained from afar with its video-on-demand service, updated daily with a new performance and available to view around the clock. 

The Berlin State Opera  is also streaming the occasional show – last week’s stream of Bizet’s beloved “Carmen” drew 160,000 viewers from around the globe. 


Star pianist Igor Levit. Photo: DPA

Many say there’s nothing quite like live music. So what happens when all the concerts are cancelled?  Musicians are also turning to live streams to keep the live music experience alive for housebound audiences.

The Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall is offering a free month of streaming for over 600 concerts that stretch back more than ten years. Included are the upcoming live streams – you can find the schedule here.

Since last Thursday, Russian-German star pianist Igor Levit has been giving daily concerts from his living room and streaming them via his Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Some pop stars are also switching to an internet audience – British singer James Blunt gave a live stream of his concert to an empty Elbphilarmonie in Hamburg last Wednesday for free. 


Museums across the country may have had to close their doors to visitors, but many are offering online tours to make sure people don’t miss out on these valuable cultural experiences.

Amongst others, the Deutsche Museum in Munich – a museum of “masterpieces of science and technology” is now open for a virtual visit and the famous antiquities museum of Berlin – the Pergamon – is also open for an online tour.

Other events

The Leipzig Book Fair was cancelled as a result of the Coronavirus spread, but some readings and conversations with the authors are now available online.

The Marionette Theatre in Munich has been around since 1858. Photo: DPA

The unique Munich Marionette Theatre is offering a free online stream of its next performance –  Mozart’s the Magic Flute, on Saturday at 8pm.

Do you know of any other online events or activities which you would like us to include? You can email us at [email protected]


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Five German drinks to try this summer

There’s nothing quite like a cold drink on a hot summer’s day and the Germans know it well. That’s why they’ve got a variety of tasty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to cool them down in the hottest months. Here are five you should try.

Five German drinks to try this summer

Summertime in Germany can get pretty hot, but thankfully there are plenty of popular drinks which can help you cool down, as well as tickle the tastebuds.

In Germany, fizzy water is wildly popular, so it’s not surprising that Sprudel is a key ingredient in most of the drinks on this list.


A Hugo cocktail. Photo: Greta Farnedi/Unsplash

The Hugo is a cocktail made of Prosecco, elderflower syrup, mint leaves, a shot of mineral water and a slice of lime.

This refreshing alcoholic drink was invented by Roland Gruber, a bartender in South Tyrol, the mainly German-speaking region of northern Italy in 2005.

Though the drink wasn’t invented in Germany, it quickly spread across the borders of northern Italy and gained popularity here. Nowadays, you’ll be able to order a Hugo in pretty much any bar in the country.


A woman holds a pint of Radler. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Nicolas Armer

One of the best-known and most popular mixed beer drinks is the Radler: a concoction of beer and lemonade, a bit like a British shandy. In some areas of Germany – particularly in the south – the mixture is called Alster.

Usually, the ratio is 60 percent beer and 40 percent lemonade, but there are also some interesting variants. In some regions of Germany, a distinction is made between sweet (with lemonade) and sour (with water) Radler. Some foolhardy drinkers even mix their beer with cola (called a diesel).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The German regions producing the most important beer ingredient


A woman pours apple spritz into plastic cups. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Soeren Stache

Apfelschorle is an absolute German classic.

The traditional mix of apple juice and fizzy water is a 1:1 ratio, but if you’re making the drink at home you can adjust the measurements to your liking. 

The concept of Saftschorle (fruit spritzer) has moved way beyond the plain old apple in Germany though. On Supermarket shelves, you’ll find major drinks chains offering a wide variety of fizzy fruit beverages, including  Rhabarbe-Schorle (Rhubarb spritz), Schwarze Johannisbeer-Schorle (Black currant spritz) and Holunderschorle (elderberry spritz).

Berliner Weiße mit Schuss

A woman drinks a Berliner Weiße in Berlin.

A woman drinks a Berliner Weiße in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Britta Pedersen

The Berliner Weiße (or Weisse) is an old, German beer, brewed with barley and wheat malt.

As the name suggests, it originates from the German capital, where it was extremely popular in the 19th century and was celebrated as the “Champagne of the North”.

But by the end of the 19th century, sour beer styles, including this one, became increasingly unpopular and they almost died out completely. 

READ ALSO: Five German foods that aren’t what you think they are

So people started mixing the drink with sweet syrup. This gave rise to the trend of drinking Berliner Weissbier with a shot (Schuss) of raspberry or woodruff syrup, which is still widely enjoyed today. Some breweries even ferment fruits such as raspberries or strawberries.

The drink is so well-known in Germany, that there was even a TV series named after it which ran for 10 years 1984 to 1995.


Water and wine in equal parts and both well chilled – a light summer drink. Photo: picture alliance / dpa-tmn | DWI

Another fizzy-water-based German classic is the white wine spritz. 

A wine spritzer is a refreshing drink on warm summer days which has the advantage of not going to your head as quickly as a regular glass of wine. With equal parts fizzy water and wine, the drink has only about 5-6 percent alcohol, compared to glass of pure white wine, which has about 9-14 percent. 

For optimum German-ness when making this drink at home, choose a German white wine such as Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner or Riesling.

Enjoy and drink responsibly!