Stanislava Balueva in portrait outside Der Hof on Ratinger Strasse.

Three questions for Stanislava Balueva about her revamp of ‘Der Hof’ on Ratinger Strasse


“Der Hof is a medium through which I can channel my love for this city.”

In July 2023, Stanislava Balueva took over ‘Der Hof’ – a venue on Düsseldorf’s  Ratinger Strasse that was once a German punk institution. A bold move, given that many before her have tried and failed to breathe new life into this local treasure – most recently the Kulturbanausen cooperative, who were forced to file for insolvency in spring 2023. But the more time you spend with Stanislava, the more you begin to feel that anything is possible. Her energy and passion are truly infectious. With a university background in business management, labour studies, sociology and media & communication, she can draw on a broad knowledge base. And with elbow grease and fresh ideas, she is working to turn her vision of Der Hof into a reality. This involves bringing people from a wide range of communities on board. For example, Der Hof has partnered with Micro Pop Week, an initiative of Düsseldorf’s music and creative scene. The programme that Stanislava puts on at Der Hof is very diverse, ranging from dub and punk to drag events. In an interview, we put three questions to her about her motivation, her concept and her collaborations.

A concert at which a female singer holds up a sign reading “Gabba, Gabba, Hey” in big letters.
The Ramonas from the UK were among the first bands to perform at Der Hof when it reopened.

When the Kulturbanausen cooperative filed for insolvency, few would have expected that Der Hof on Ratinger Strasse would open its doors again any time soon. What’s motivates you?
There are practically no live music venues left in Düsseldorf’s Old Town, at least none that host punk, metal or other guitar-based acts. Subcultures need spaces where they can flourish, where people can experience live music – that is my firm belief. Music is my passion and I want Der Hof to be that space that has been missing in the Old Town. Along with live music, I also want to offer other cultural events and activities.

In the minds of most people, Der Hof is inextricably linked with the legendary Ratinger Hof venue of the 70s and 80s. But the current programme sends a clear signal that this place is not necessarily all about punk. What can we expect from this incarnation of Der Hof on Ratinger Strasse?
We want to be a space that welcomes those who are not given a stage anywhere else. Ideally, we want to adopt and foster a socio-cultural concept. But in order to achieve that, we first need to become established. We want to unleash the creative spirit that has always been a hallmark of this place, but we are not reviving Der Hof as it used to be. That is why we put on events such as public screenings of RuPaul’s Drag Race. With Loreley Rivers, there is a drag queen from Düsseldorf participating in the competition and Der Hof is always packed when the show is on. I also strongly believe that the queer community is part of this venue. After all, at the heart of it, punk has always been associated with a more liberal worldview. Of course, we will have punk bands playing along with many other live acts. But a matter very close to my heart is hosting FLINTA (female, lesbian, intersex, trans and agender) artists, for example through a collaboration with the WUT event series. I think networking and collaborating with people in the cultural scene is key to gaining creative momentum.

Stani, the woman now in charge of Der Hof, straddles a chair.
Stanislava Balueva at Der Hof. Some of the furniture was salvaged from the streets and upcycled by Kalle Wahle, the organiser of Düsseldorf’s Christopher Street Day.

Since you mentioned collaborations, what’s in the pipeline?
So, for example, I am working with Alex Brassel who used to run The Tube, a club that sadly had to close its doors this summer. We have also partnered with André Janssen from Goldmucke. This collaboration will bring Bernd Begemann to our stage in November and enables us to feature Captain Disko as part of the Micro Pop Week initiative. The arts scene in Düsseldorf isn’t huge, so being able to put on a good programme is all about keeping in touch and working together. Yesterday, we hosted our first public reading by Fondermann & Gebhardt, a tour show organised by the Ox punk fanzine. Individual subcultures have become more open and permeable in the same way that music styles have. We can’t force things, but of course, we hope that people will connect with the unique spirit of Der Hof and will come here to express their creativity and have fun.

Interview: Cynthia Blasberg
Photos: With kind permission of Stanislava Balueva

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