Bern steam center

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Steam center with Bundeshaus and Münster in the background

The Dampfzentrale in Marziliquartier in Bern is a former industrial building and today's cultural center for contemporary dance and music .


The steam power plant was built in 1904 to complement the hydropower plant in the Matte district . The architect Eduard Joos , who had previously built the main building of the University of Bern , was responsible. In 1924, in addition to the coal-fired boilers, diesel generators were also installed, and in 1939, coal operation was discontinued. The 50 meter high chimney was demolished.

The power plant was shut down in 1973, the diesel aggregates dismantled and the steam center was used as a storage room. The city of Bern discussed the future use of the halls as swimming pools and sports halls, but in 1981 finally decided to demolish the building. The Bern preservation authorities intervened to save the buildings, which were interesting from an industrial history point of view.

During the youth riots in Bern , the cultural scene was looking for event spaces and the city was not very cooperative in this regard. The riding school , which was occupied in 1981, was cleared, barricaded and guarded by the police in 1982. That is why the Dampfzentrale association was founded in 1986 by various cultural groups with the aim of using the free-standing area culturally. Since the city did not address the various proposals submitted, it came in May 1987 occupation of Dampfzentrale that of Züri West was sung in her song "jack". On October 19, after the indoor riding arena was occupied, the municipal council finally recognized the need for action and granted the steam center provisional approval as a cultural center. At the same time he commissioned the architectural office Haltmeyer + Flückiger to work out a project for the renovation and new use of the protected industrial building. In the long-term temporary arrangement that was soon established, contemporary culture occupies the power plant halls.


Since then, the cultural business has grown in all dimensions. In September 1997, the Dampfzentrale restaurant was opened, and it turned into a trendy bar and dining restaurant. In the same year, the Bern city council approved a loan of 4.1 million francs for the overall renovation of the building and the area. The renovation lasted from September 1998 to August 1999, the cultural activities were meanwhile maintained with restrictions.

With the renovation, the steam center became a professionally managed cultural establishment with a good infrastructure. The theater stage holds 400 spectators. Over 500 events take place every year. In addition to the main stages in the turbine hall and boiler house and the foyer, there are practice rooms for local artists. In 2002 the Dampfzentrale was awarded the civic community's culture prize, which is endowed with CHF 100,000.

In September 2005 Roger Merguin and Christian Pauli took over the management of the Dampfzentrale culture halls. The cultural center was to be redesigned as a contemporary cultural center for dance and music for the 2008–12 subsidy period. After intensive negotiations between Dampfzentrale and the city of Bern, the city council voted in spring 2007 for a significant increase in subsidies for the years 2008–12. The Dampfzentrale becomes a contemporary cultural center for dance and music, which explores current forms of music and dance and the vague terrain in between. After two years of planning and preparation, the cultural center on the Aare was restarted in January 2008 with the Festival Blueprint . A new name (Dampfzentrale Bern instead of the Dampfzentrale culture halls), a new logo, the new website and the MUT program guide , as well as individual structural measures mark this new beginning.

Merguin and Pauli shared the directorship and management. On January 1st, 2012, Merguin took over the management of the Gessnerallee theater in Zurich.

On October 15, 2012, Georg Weinand started work as the new artistic director and managing director; on March 30th, 2016 it became public that Georg Weinand will cease his work for the steam center with immediate effect and "by mutual agreement". A five-person committee, consisting of the divisional heads, takes on its tasks.

The Ensemble Proton Bern has been the Ensemble in Residence of the Dampfzentrale since 2011 .

See also


Web links

Commons : Dampfzentrale Bern  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Berner Zeitung : Head of Dampfzentrale resigns , March 30, 2016

Coordinates: 46 ° 56 '26.6 "  N , 7 ° 26' 39.2"  E ; CH1903:  600 426  /  198849