Alfons Spielhoff

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Alfons Spielhoff (born July 3, 1912 in Essen ; † December 9, 1987 ) was Dortmund's head of culture.

He became known nationwide as one of the initiators of a new cultural policy in the Federal Republic of the 1970s. With his slogan “cultural policy is social policy”, he advocated decentralized cultural work in suburbs and socio-cultural scenes. His initiative to give up the Philharmonic Orchestra and to reorganize the new, representative opera house led to violent arguments and demonstrations in Dortmund.


Alfons Spielhoff grew up in the Bundestag youth, after 1933 he was in the Hitler Youth . He studied foreign studies in Berlin; after graduating, he was refused a doctorate because of two Gestapo detention. As a soldier he was convicted in 1944 for degrading military strength and imprisoned in Toulon , but was able to desert. Until the summer of 1945 he was a prisoner of war in France.

In 1950 Spielhoff received his doctorate on the subject of his dissertation "Technology as a problem in cultural studies". Since 1951 Spielhoff has been involved in the SPD , the GEW , the German Peace Society (DFG) and, since the 1960s, in the Humanist Union . From 1958 to 1959 he was chairman of the Working Group of German Peace Associations and from 1962 to 1974 head of culture for the city of Dortmund.

New cultural policy

As a member of the culture committee of the German Association of Cities and the collective bargaining committee of the German Stage Association , Spielhoff campaigned against the concentration of the city's cultural budget on a few representative areas, above all the theater. Due to the constant increase in personnel costs in this area, he feared that all other cultural activities would be blocked. As Dortmund's head of cultural affairs, he therefore advocated abandoning the Philharmonic Orchestra and reorganizing the remaining areas of the Dortmund city theater in 1973 . Many of his ideas developed in this context were only implemented much later and elsewhere, such as his proposal to run the theater as a GmbH according to business principles, or his proposal to found a commercial division in the field of light music and musicals . Spielhoff's closure plans were rejected by the Dortmund City Council in 1974.

Spielhoff also continued his commitment to socioculture across the region, including in the cultural and political society . In Dortmund, the systematic promotion of the independent cultural scene and district cultural work did not begin until the 1980s.


In Dortmund, the "Alfons-Spielhoff-Platz" is named after him, where the Fletch Bizzel independent theater is located.


  • Rudolf Müller-Dostali, Alfons Spielhoff (arr.), Essen proposal for the orientation of social democratic policy towards clear socialist-democratic objectives, Essen 1954
  • Alfons Spielhoff, Why do we play Brecht? in: Theater-Kurier-Dortmund, issue 9/63, Dortmund 1963
  • Alfons Spielhoff, Own houses of adult education from the point of view of the communities, in: Neue Volksbildung, issue 2/64, 1964
  • Alfons Spielhoff, reflections on urban theater planning In: Loccumer Protocols, Evangelical Academy Loccum (ed.), Vol. 5/1970
  • Alfons Spielhoff, The music theater is too expensive, on the study by the Dortmund cultural administration, in: Die Deutsche Bühne, issue 10, October 1971, 42nd year p. 4
  • Alfons Spielhoff, Exposé I as a basis for discussion for the SPD parliamentary group of the City Council of Dortmund on the question of the financing of cultural orchestras, music theater and drama, Dortmund 1972
  • Alfons Spielhoff, City of Dortmund, Cultural Administration, Exposé II on the question of the financing of cultural orchestras, music theater and drama, basis for discussion for the SPD parliamentary group of the City of Dortmund, Dortmund 1973
  • Alfons Spielhoff, Cultural Policy at the Turning Point Dortmund Lectures, Issue 111/1973
  • Alfons Spielhoff, The Librarian in the Gutenberg Galaxis or the cultural-political edition of a library director in: Dienst an Bücher, Festschrift für Fritz Hüser 1973
  • Alfons Spielhoff, Why Costing, in: Die Deutsche Bühne, Issue 2, February 1974, year 45, pp. 8-10
  • Olaf Schwencke, Klaus Heinrich Revermann, Alfons Spielhoff, Pleading for a New Cultural Policy, Munich (Hanser) 1974, ISBN 3-446-11769-5
  • Alfons Spielhoff, Gründgens was already of my opinion! Answer to Sabais, in: Die Deutsche Bühne, issue 3, March 1974, volume 45, p. 7f
  • Alfons Spielhoff, Possibilities and Limits of Cultural Political Alternatives Rethinking Cultural Policy, Dortmund Lectures Heft 116, Dortmund 1974
  • Alfons Spielhoff, interstate cultural work - a new task for cities, in: foreign courier, issue 10/1974
  • Alfons Spielhoff, Zur Reform der Dortmunder Theater (1974), excerpts in: Kulturpolitische Mitteilungen No. 61/62 II-III / 93, pp. 69–70
  • Alfons Spielhoff, Priorities Urban Cultural Policy, in: Schwencke, O .; Revermann, KH, Spielhoff, A. (eds.), Plea for a new cultural policy, Munich 1974
  • Alfons Spielhoff, plea for a business cost accounting of theaters, in: Die Deutsche Bühne, issue 3/1974
  • Alfons Spielhoff, cultural policy in industrial society, in: Bieber, Hedwig; Coachman, Siegfried; Wehefritz, Valentin (ed.), City Library and Regional Bibliography, Festschrift for Hans Moritz Meyer, Publications Department d. German Library Association 1975
  • Alfons Spielhoff, strategies of alternative cultural policy, in: Culture through communication ?, Loccumer Protocols 1/1976, Rehburg-Loccum 1976, pp. 90-102
  • Alfons Spielhoff, cultural policy is social policy, in: processes, issue 24, year 6/1976
  • Alfons Spielhoff, Balance of Alternative Culture In: Kulturpolitische Mitteilungen , supplement 1, 1980, p. 12ff.
  • Alfons Spielhoff, culture for everyone - by everyone? Interim balance of the alternative culture, Loccumer Protocols 6/1980, Rehburg-Loccum 1980, pp. 35–37
  • Alfons Spielhoff, In the totally administered world, the future belongs to the theater, in: TheaterZeitSchrift, issue 5, autumn 1983, 2nd year, pp. 53–54
  • Alfons Spielhoff, Subsidies in the cultural sector, in: Kulturpolitische Mitteilungen, Heft 27, IV / 1984, p. 10, 1984
  • Alfons Spielhoff, Savings in the city's theater budget, in: Kulturpolitische Mitteilungen, Heft 32, I / 1986, pp. 22–24
  • Alfons Spielhoff, is the opera house closing? A reply, in: Kulturpolitische Mitteilungen, Heft 34, III / 1986, pp. 11-13
  • Alfons Spielhoff, culture as an element of urban development, in: biblio, issue 1/1973 Excerpts in: Kulturpolitische Mitteilungen No. 61/62, I + II / 1993, pp. 7–9

Secondary literature

  • Mathias Bigge, cultural policy in the Ruhr area . in: Rainer Bovermann, Stefan Goch, Heinz-Jürgen Priamus (eds.), The Ruhr area, A strong piece of North Rhine-Westphalia, Politics in the region 1946–1996, Essen 1996, ISBN 3-88474-524-7
  • Eckart Pankoke, The industrial area as a cultural landscape, On the cultural dynamics of the Ruhr area after 1945 , in: Heinz Jürgen Priamus, Ralf Himmelmann (eds.), City and Region - Region and City, Essen 1993, pp. 105–143
  • Olaf Schwencke (ed.), Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft (ed.), Cultural policy is social policy, Festschrift for Alfons Spielhoff , Hagen 1982
  • Günter Strüder, New Cultural Policy in the Ruhr Area , in: Mathias Bigge, Günter Strüder (ed.), New Cultural Policy in the Ruhr Area, Essen 1994, ISBN 3-89206-636-1

Web links

Sources and individual references

  1. Günter Strüder, New Cultural Policy in the Ruhr Area, p. 45
  2. Alfons Spielhoff, City of Dortmund, Cultural Administration, Exposé II on the question of the financing of cultural orchestras, music theater and drama, basis for discussion for the SPD parliamentary group of the City of Dortmund, Dortmund 1973
  3. cf. Mathias Bigge, Cultural Policy in the Ruhr Area, p. 521
  4. Günter Strüder, New Cultural Policy in the Ruhr Area, p. 46ff.