Berlin - A Mitte club will temporarily open its doors this month as part of a broader trial that may indicate how the country’s cultural institutions can reopen in the midst of the pandemic.

Holzmarkt, together with the Club Commission lobbying organisation, will hold a concert 27 March in its Säälchen event space where visitors can get a quick-test and ticket for €20.

“Of course the Säälchen isn’t really a club, it’s more a hybrid of a theatre and an event space,” Holzmarkt twittered Thursday. “But it is of course a step toward how events can soon also be possible inside clubs.”

The concert is part of a pilot program launched by Berlin’s government Thursday with the cooperation of some of Berlin’s biggest names in culture. Visitors must buy a ticket and then be tested at a local testing centre. At the door, they will then show proof of their identity and negative test.

Concerts, operas, football too

Surgical or FFP2 masks must be worn during the event and the hygiene rules everyone now knows by heart still apply.

"This kind of pilot is unique in Germany – and will hopefully contribute to being able to visit cultural events without fear," Berlin culture minister Klaus Lederer (Die Linke) said. "As soon as possible."

The results of the trial will be reviewed in April.

The philharmonic, Volksbühne and both operas are also participating in the programme.

But the government and cultural institutions aren’t the only ones looking for new ways of opening during the pandemic.

FC Union, the Berlin first-league team, Saturday will also allow 379 people to watch their match against 1. FC Köln. The attendees must first be tested using antibody quick-tests and can only enter if the test is negative - players and coaches are all tested using the more thorough PCR tests.

“We want to be as ready as possible to start a pilot project with fans as soon as the necessary approval is granted,” Union spokesperson Christian Arbeit said. The club has consistently looked for a way to reopen its stands since the start of the pandemic last year.

Pilot programme participants

  • Berliner Ensemble - 19/20 March, Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre's "Panikherz"
  • Berlin Philharmonic - 20 March, conductor Kirill Petrenko
  • Konzerthaus Berlin - 25 March, chamber orchestra with Christian Tetzlaff, Elisabeth Kufferath, Tanja Tetzlaff, Kiveli Dörken
  • Holzmarkt - 27 March, concert
  • Volksbühne - 1 April, "come as you are" by Fritz Kater
  • Staatsoper Unter den Linden - 2 April, Mozart's "Le nozze di Figaro" conducted by Daniel Barenboim and directed by Vincent Huguet
  • Deutsche Oper - 4 April, Riccardo Zandonais' "Francesca da Rimini"
  • visitBerlin - 25 March, MICE conference at Estrel Hotel