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Goethe Centre upgrades to Institut

Dr. Norbert Spitz of the Goethe Institut.e.V. in Germany, Willem Goeiemann, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Eberhard Hofmann of the Namibian German Foundation, Christian Schlaga, the German Ambassador, Ben Booysen, the acting Deputy Permanent Secretary of Works and Transport, and Ruth Suermann, the Director of the Goethe Centre. The Goethe Centre signed a new lease agreement with the government last week in preparation of becoming the Goethe Institut.

Increased funding by the German Federal government for its cultural activities overseas, has set in motion a series of steps to take the Goethe Centre in Windhoek to a fully-fledged branch of the Goethe Institut.

One of the steps is to sign a new lease agreement with the Namibian government for the Von Estorff Haus, the old colonial building that housed the Goethe Centre since Independence.
Last week Willem Goeiemann, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport, signed an addendum of the notarial lease agreement for the Von Estorff Haus. The lease agreement was co-signed by Eberhard Hofmann, a trustee of the Namibian German Foundation for Cultural Co-operation, the current lessee, and Dr. Norbert Spitz representing the Goethe-Institut e.V. as the new lessee. German Ambassadro H.E. Christian Matthias Schlaga, Ben Booysen, the acting Deputy Permanent Secretary of Works and Ruth Suermann, Director of the Goethe-Centre, signed as witnesses.
In an arrangement with the Namibian government dated 5 June 1991 already, the German government committed itself to opening a branch of the Goethe Institut in Windhoek as soon as possible. Since 1999, the Namibian German Foundation for Cultural Co-operation has operated the Goethe Centre in Windhoek as an interim step toward that goal.
The Namibian government has made the historic Estorff building in the centre of Windhoek available to the Goethe Centre virtually free of charge, based on the understanding that a Goethe-Institut will be established. Project funding through the regional Goethe Institut in Johannesburg has gradually increased and has reached Euro129,000 per year. The future Goethe Institut’s budget is expected to be around half a million euros per year and its director is to be dispatched from Germany.
The Goethe Institut is Germany’s cultural institute, active worldwide, promoting the study of German and encouraging international cultural exchange.

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