Since 2000, the Stiftung Brandenburger Tor has its headquarters in the Max Liebermann Haus in central Berlin. Founded by the bank Berliner Sparkasse, its declared ambition is to influence the development of society through culture.1 Although this seems at first glance a noble mission as well as a good branding strategy, it also raises the question as to how exactly the Stiftung Brandenburger Tor seeks to influence society.
A critical approach is advisable given that Sparkasse’s investment fund (Deka Investment), like those of other financial institutions (e.g. DZ-Bank’s Union Investment), is indirectly involved in the armaments industry.2 Banks sell their customers general bonds in in-house investment funds, which may then re-invest the money in armaments companies. For example, Union Investment is invested in Airbus, Honeywell, and Northrop Grumman. Even those investment groups which brand themselves as sustainable or exclude armament investments from their portfolio are not automatically “unarmed,” according to the NGOs: sustainable funds, too, may invest in conglomerates that generate five or ten percent of their sales with defense equipment.3 Not only does Sparkasse indirectly fund this industry through investment funds, but also its Düsseldorf branch helps finance the armament group Rheinmetall.4
Address: Pariser Platz 7, 10117 Berlin
2 Sparkasse is neither the only nor the biggest investor in this industry among the financial institutions: the bank making the biggest investments is Deutsche Bank: https://urgewald.org (last access: 02.05.2019)
3 https://www.tagesspiegel.de (last access: 02.05.2019)
4 https://urgewald.org (last access: 02.05.2019)