Wuppertal has a rich cultural tradition. In the 19th century, the city's wealthy bourgeoisie planted the seeds for a cultural scene that now spans many different artistic fields.
The historic civic center, the “Historische Stadthalle am Johannisberg,” which opened in 1900 and was built in the Gründerzeit style, is a tangible example of this tradition. The concert hall – one of the most beautiful and acoustically perfect concert halls in Europe – is also home to one of the greatest symphony orchestras in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Symphony Orchestra Wuppertal.
The Wuppertaler Bühnen is a theatre company that performs opera, theatre, and dance along with the world famous “Pina Bausch” dance theater. The dance theatre is undoubtedly world class and has also gained Wuppertal international recognition as a city of culture.
Furthermore, the city has numerous larger and smaller genre-specific choirs. On the one hand, there are large concert choirs like the “Chor der Konzertgesellschaft,” which regularly performs with the symphony orchestra. Yet, there are also smaller choirs who have their roots in church music such as the group “Kantorei Barmen Gemarke,” which regularly gives talented performances of religious music.
Wuppertal also has a jazz tradition dating back to the 1960s that is still vibrant today and that can be seen and heard first-hand at numerous events and concert series.
For those who enjoy contemporary music there is the Bergischen Gesellschaft für Neue Musik (BeGNM). In addition to organizing regular concerts, the association hosts the biannual contemporary music festival “Bergische Biennale für Neue Musik.”
With its renowned permanent collection and rotating exhibits, the Von der Heydt Museum in Wuppertal is one of the most respected art museums in Europe.
Did you know that the annual Tangofestival in Wuppertal has transformed the city into a center for tango dancing in Germany? The city’s “independent scene” can be found at numerous private theaters such as Müllers Marionettentheater and on comedy and cabaret stages.
In addition, Wuppertal boasts a modern university with innovative fields of study, the Bergische Universität. Presently, the longstanding collaboration between the University and the Wuppertal campus is being intensified and expanded. The city’s Bergische Musikschule forms the perfect foundation for amateur music education. The music school is a forward-thinking educational institution for young people and offers a vast array of instructional courses and events increasingly geared toward cultural diversity.
The various partnerships between the Wuppertal campus and the aforementioned organizers and institutions have transformed the campus into an important cultural entity within the city and the entire region in recent decades.
The central location of Wuppertal in the metropolitan area between the Ruhr region and the Rhineland means that numerous other large cities with diverse cultural attractions lie within approximately 50 kilometers of the city.