UNESCO lists Berlin's techno scene as intangible cultural heritage

UNESCO lists Berlin's techno scene as intangible cultural heritage

To celebrate how the genre has shaped Belin’s cultural identity, UNESCO has named the city’s techno scene as an intangible cultural heritage.

Berlin techno listed as UNESCO heritage

Among “the practice of opera singing in Italy”, the “grass mowing competition custom in Kupres, Bosnia and Herzegovina” and “Artisanal know-how and culture of baguette bread in France”, Berlin’s techno scene has been listed by UNESCO as an “intangible cultural heritage”. 

Celebrating techno’s contribution to the city’s identity, Berlin’s Clubcomission - an official body which “protect[s] and develop[s] a diverse and sustainable club scene” - said on X that the announcement marked “another milestone for Berlin techno producers, artists, club operators and event organisers”.

UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list was first established in 2003 and recognises practices in art, music, cuisine, crafts and dance across the world. While additions to the list are often linked to older traditions - other German listings include the 400-year-old Hessian embroidery craft Schwälmer Weißstickerei and Apfelwein - UNESCO’s recent decision to add Jamaican reggae prompted stalwarts of the techno scene to campaign for its inclusion.

For the Clubcommission, Berlin’s techno scene being added to the list isn’t just symbolic. According to SPIEGEL, members of the organisation hope that it will bring some more practical advantages, such as further government funding and the possibility of opening new clubs in the capital.

How did Berlin come to love techno so much?

Today, Berlin is known across the world for its never-ending techno parties, but as any true techno fan knows, Detroit is the oft-forgotten home of techno where the first tracks were laid in the early 1980s.

With the fall of the wall in 1989, the then-wasteland of Berlin-Mitte became a playground for artists and musicians, with new squats, clubs and venues in disused buildings popping up everywhere. 

Tresor was at the heart of this scene; the nightclub in a former department store began flying over Techno DJs from Detroit who would capture the hearts of Berliners just as they suddenly had the energy to dance all night long. 

Thumb image credit: Filmbildfabrik /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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