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At the beginning of November we gave a brief overview of the trials which at the present time are having a deep affect on the spiritual and human essence of the Goetheanum.We outlined the most important budget figures and indicated the possibility of significant changes. Now we would like to take the opportunity to report in more detail about the present situation, the underlying reasons and the decisions made so far.
Figures and Process
Over the past ten years, the overall budget has been on average around 25 Million CHF. It is covered by income from conferences, performances and services, by membership contributions (2010: 4.67 Million CHF), institutional contributions, free and earmarked donations, as well as legacies. However, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain this way of financing without drawing on reserves. In the annual report 2009/2010 and at this year’s Annual General Meeting, Cornelius Pietzner pointed out that the 2010 budget, in comparison to the year before, had to be reduced by 7.9 % (2009: 22,9 Million CHF; 2010: 21,1 Million CHF) and that in 2011 a further 8 to 10 % (ca. 1.7 Million CHF) in reductions have to be found in order to further avoid falling back on reserves. At that time we were already in the middle of a consultation process on necessary changes which included discussions with the Goetheanum co-workers in working groups and meetings. On this basis it became clear over the summer, that the reductions would be larger than expected in order to achieve a balance between income and expenditure, and at the end of September we reached the following decision: We do not want to continue including legacies in the operating budget, we have to count on reduced income (ca. 1,4 Million CHF) and finally we have to allow for the difficult to calculate, but in any case high, exchange rate losses (ca. 800.000 CHF). With this we are faced with total reductions of 3,9 Million CHF for 2011. As we do not presume that there will be an increase in income in the short term, this means a total reduction of expenditures by about one fifth.
Development over the past two decades
How did this situation arise? Not only our times but also our living conditions have changed radically over the past two decades. The situation at the Goetheanum, too, can hardly be compared to what it was 20 years ago. On the one hand, the increasing activity of the Sections since the end of the 80’s has led to a renewed life of meetings, professional conferences and coordinating activity. The School of Spiritual Science became visible, albeit to this day quite modestly. The Goetheanum became multi faceted andmore profession-orientated. Before, members and friends mainly came to a few large conferences, to ‹Faust› and the Mystery Dramas. The large conferences with nearly 1000 participants declined, the smaller conferences increased and a multi-faceted programme became a dominating element of life at the Goetheanum. At the same time local and regional anthroposophical centres in the periphery gained importance; funding had to be found for these centres and co-workers and the Goetheanum ceased to be the main, shared concern of all members. Then, towards the end of the 20th century, the first chapter of an unusually long pioneering phase drew to a close, when, for example, a working career at the Goetheanum and establishing a family were hardly compatible, when wages or salaries of Goetheanumworkers were no issue. Retirement savings, plans for the future and social security of the many coworkers, who had often given everything for the Goetheanum over decades, without planning for their own future, now became part of a structured ‹Human Resources Administration›; regulated, transparent conditions for the increasing activities and departments became necessary. The consequences of this and other developments were that costs increased without an increase in income at the same level.
When Cornelius Pietzner took on the task of Treasurer in 2002, he was able to increase the cost consciousness at the Goetheanum, establish budget accountability and tried to develop contacts to non-anthroposophical trusts and foundations. However, the gap between income and expenditure continued to widen. This situation forced measures which appear under ‹extraordinary income› in the budget. Over the past ten years an annual structural deficit of over 2 Million CHF had to be balanced. We offset this fundamental underfunding of the Goetheanum with reductions and cuts and the decision to separate single activities, such as, for example, the new production of the Mystery Dramas, from the running operations and to budget them as projects with separate funding and significant communication efforts. This structured the problem but did not solve it. The sale of Weleda shares in 2007 closed an income gap of 3 Million CHF. We have discussed this structural deficit over the past two years at the Annual General Meeting and in the relevant annual reports.
Savings and Reduced Income in the 2011 Budget
 1,710 CHF: No further budgeting of “extraordinary income” (Project Donations, income from investments and structural deficit)
 1,350 CHF: Reduced Income500.000 Legacies500.000 Free donations and institutional donations100.000 Membership Fees200.000 Reduced Income from properties/real estate50.000 Increased expenditure of technical upkeep of stage
 0,800 CHF: Estimated currency exchange shortfall
 3,860 CHF: Total
The present necessary reductions of nearly 4 Million CHF are of an extent that calls for marked changes in all areas of the Goetheanum with its 200 co-workers, not only in administration and services, but also for the Sections and the Stage. Together with the General Secretaries and a number of Council Members of the Anthroposophical Societies, we were able to discuss the situation over the past months (see report from the General Secretaries’ Conference in this issue and Hartwig Schiller’s report in ‹Mitteilungen aus der anthroposophischen Arbeit in Deutschland›, December 2010). The General Secretaries Ron Dunselman (Netherlands), Esther Gerster (Switzerland), Hartwig Schiller (Germany) and Troels Ussing (Denmark) have become more involved with the consultations outside the regular conference. Final decisions have not been made in all areas, but the following picture arises so far: The Sections of the School of Spiritual Science will reduce their budget so that the work can continue, albeit in a smaller format. The budgets of the Medical Section and the Pedagogical Section are mostly funded by organisations related to their work.
Three of the altogether eleven Sections face deeper changes. The Section for Mathematics and Astronomy headed by Oliver Conradt, will no longer include a research assistant in its budget; Paul Mackay plans to transform the Section for Social Sciences into a platform which will largely be fashioned from the periphery. Seija Zimmermann and Christof Wiechert will in future be the contact persons for the Arts Section; separate administration of the Section will be put on hold for the time being.
The Goetheanum-Stage is no longer able to retain a permanent actor’s company, despite positive work and collaboration on the Mystery Dramas. We hope to be able to continue with their performances until 2013. Stage production will be reduced over the coming years. Carina Schmid’s Eurythmy Ensemble will discontinue in April 2011, independently of the budgetary situation. Margrethe Solstad will then work on the formation of a new Eurythmy Ensemble.
In the Executive Council, Cornelius Pietzner and Paul Mackay are working on the 2011 budget in close collaboration. Following Cornelius Pietzner’s departure at the 2011 Annual General Meeting, Paul Mackay will take on responsibility for finances for the time being. The Finance Administration at the Goetheanum will also be reduced.
The documentation area, which includes the library, the Society’s archive and the art collection, will see a complete renewal, when Uwe Werner hands over responsibility to Johannes Nilo in spring 2011. We will discontinue some of the services. A closer collaboration with Publications should also achieve considerable savings. What were until now independent publishing and communications areas, like the stage events calendar, the bi-annual events preview, the annual report of the General Anthroposophical Society, the studies leaflets, the numerous announcements and advertisements of events, and possibly also the Sections’ annual reports, are all to be included into the weekly publication ‹Das Goetheanum›. This will mean a completely new format for the periodical in 2011.
Finally, staff reductions will bemade in the area Reception and Events Coordination: Services will be reduced in the Stage and Buildings Administration, and synergies between these two areas will lead to further savings. Energy inefficient buildings, such as, for example, the Wood House and the Carpentry Building, will no longer be used during the wintermonths.
We are of course considering the question whether the reduction of activities and the savings on the scale outlined, are the only ways to respond to the present situation, or whether we should not rather concentrate more intensely on perspectives for new initiatives and projects. However, everything has its time. For now, we would like to take the real developments of the past decades seriously, as they are linked to profound developments in our whole global life and working situation, and also to changes in the anthroposophical life. This demands a healthy balance of strength, not least in the relationship between income and expenditure. Even though we now take the overdue consequences from the developments, this does not mean that we have doubts in the future of our Society, the School of Spiritual Science and the Goetheanum.
On this basis, we are taking into account the increasingly difficult spiritual, human and economic demands. We are focussing on three facts in this process. The anthroposophical movement is a spiritual movement and thus individual and mutual experiences, abilities and decisions in this field can not be replaced. The development of an inner culture which reaches into daily life, and the willingness to engage with spiritual issues, will be determined by the freedom of an ethical individualism. Thereby, and this is the second decisive factor, the cooperation between people, indeed between very different people, will play an ever increasing role. Initiatives have been and will be instigated by individuals; however, they increasingly develop through groups, through the chemistry of cooperation in committed teamwork. The Goetheanum of the future will exist out of and for this alchemy of concrete human relationships.
And finally, we recognise how the need for exchange is growing between engagement throughout the world and a focus point that lies outside the periphery of daily work and research activity.
Innovations and spiritual development within Anthroposophy generally, or within vocational and personal spheres, develop or only come to fruition, if they find a larger context. We are working on making the Goetheanum a central place of discovery and research, discourse, development and enquiry for the worldwide, increasingly diverse, anthroposophical movement.
With this in mind, we are grateful to experience the loyal support of many friends who show their concern or become active, often full of ideas and suggestions, in committees like the General Secretaries’ Conference or within the national councils and local groups and in the many informal encounters and discussions which have taken place over the past months. Also the fact that recently two Sections, the Section for Agriculture and the Pedagogical Section, have chosen more than one person responsible thus enabling spiritual cooperation in a special way within the leadership of these Sections, is a signal. Yet, we do not view these changes as an exemplary ideal for all Sections, because they have not arisen out of programmatic conclusions but out of a specific reality. From this way of working the real directions and core areas of the changes at the Goetheanum can become clearer in the coming years.
On Friday 31st December 2010 at 11.15 am, during this year’s Christmas Conference at the Goetheanum, we will present the outlines of the current situation to the members. We will be happy to respond to questions and considerations. And we will also continue to report about further developments in these pages. With grateful appreciation of your support and trust in these times which are difficult not only for our Society, the School of Spiritual Science and the Goetheanum.
Virginia Sease, Paul Mackay, Bodo von Plato, Sergei Prokofieff, Cornelius Pietzner and Seija Zimmermann’