Die Pumpe Kiel

Of alternatives and crises

In 1922 the pump was developed as a wastewater concept for the disposal of Kiel wastewater in the Kiel fjord and in 1929, was built in the heart of Kiel’s old town. Although the old pump suffered some damaged in the war, its operation was never completely stopped until its function was replaced in 1973 by the creation and commissioning of a new pumping station on the corner of Hassstraße-Jensendamm. The building was not used for a full six years, until it was revived in 1979 and handed over to a club of the same name as a cultural and communication center. In the 2,000-square-meter, heritage-protected halls, work, event, cinema, gastronomy, disco, bar and office-space has been built, among other things. Even an old impeller has been left for decorative reasons. 

The cultural duties and assignments of the association, as well as the financial support from the city of Kiel, are the most important framework conditions for the use of the premises and have always been laid down in a comprehensive license agreement. It is important to mention that within this contract, the “Pumpe” can operate completely independent of all political and administrative levels, as it is not an urban facility and its employees are not employees of the municipality. This independence provides an ideal basis for the work of the association, as its events are not created primarily for their commercial benefit, but rather because of their content. If you take a closer look at the program, you will see one thing very clearly: the “Pumpe” stands for an alternative. An alternative to industrial products and mass-made standards, as well as an alternative for all people who want to inform themselves and seek an exchange with others who are like-minded people.

Perhaps you have heard the rumor that the “Pumpe” is a meeting place for left-wing slobs or even a contact exchange place for politically interested people. Actually, these and similar prejudices, are quite different from the truth and are rejected by the “Pumpe” itself. 

Such prejudice-directed perceptions are sometimes widening into a crisis and make one thing clear: The “Pumpe” is distracting, it is stinging thorn in the side of one or another politician, who thinks the “Pumpe” is just a load for the municipals budget. In 2002, for example, one of the city leaders tried to close the “Pumpe”, which ultimately ended in a painstakingly negotiated settlement which led to drastic cuts in finances. Such austerity measures run like a thread through the history of the Pumpe and can be seen, for example, in the number of permanent employees, which was 15 in 1979 and now is only eight.

Trotz aller Miseren und Kürzungen der vergangenen Jahre kann die Pumpe sich mit über 750 Kino- und über 200 Konzertveranstaltungen als das aktivste, produktivste und reichhaltigste Veranstaltungszentrum Kiels behaupten. Dazu kommen jährlich noch über 850 Treffen von Arbeitsgruppen wie zum Beispiel Schauspielgruppen, Tanzgruppen oder Gesprächskreisen, welche sich über gemeinsame Interessen austauschen, sich für bestimmte Inhalte engagieren oder sich sportlich beziehungsweise künstlerisch betätigen. Der künstlerische und kreative Nachwuchs kommt in der Pumpe voll auf seine Kosten, da sie als der einzige Ort in ganz Kiel gilt, in dem  zum Beispiel Nachwuchsmusiker unter professionellen Bedingungen und vor Publikum performen können. In gleicher Weise bietet das kommunale Kino, welches sich in der Pumpe befindet, jungen Produzenten_in die Chance, ihre Werke auf zahlreichen Kurzfilmabenden und Filmfestivals zu präsentieren. Dies und vieles mehr macht die Pumpe zu einem der wichtigsten Anlaufstellen für nationale wie internationale Künstler und bietet vielen Nachwuchskünstler_in ein Sprungbrett in die Professionalität.

Alles in allem kann man sagen, dass die Pumpe mit ihren jährlich über 100.000 Besucher_innen immer wieder ihren wichtigsten Auftrag von allen erfüllt: ein offenes Haus für alle Bürger_innen zu sein.