The dedication Dem deutschen Volke, meaning To the German people, can be seen on the frieze.
|Town or city||Berlin|
|Construction started||9 June 1884|
|Height||47 m (154 ft)|
|Design and construction|
The Reichstag (German : Reichstagsgebäudepronounced [ˈʁaɪçstaːksgəˈbɔʏdə] ; officially: Deutscher Bundestag – Plenarbereich Reichstagsgebäudepronounced [ ˈdɔʏtʃɐ ˈbʊndəsˌtaːk ˈpleːnaːrbəraɪç ˈʁaɪçstaːksgəˈbɔʏdə] ) is a historic edifice in Berlin, Germany, constructed to house the Imperial Diet (German: Reichstag ) of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Diet until 1933, when it was severely damaged after being set on fire. After World War II, the building fell into disuse; the parliament of the German Democratic Republic (the Volkskammer) met in the Palast der Republik in East Berlin, while the parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany (the Bundestag) met in the Bundeshaus in Bonn.
German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.
Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.
Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.
The ruined building was made safe against the elements and partially refurbished in the 1960s, but no attempt at full restoration was made until after German reunification on 3 October 1990, when it underwent a reconstruction led by architect Norman Foster. After its completion in 1999, it once again became the meeting place of the German parliament: the modern Bundestag.
The German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic became part of the Federal Republic of Germany to form the reunited nation of Germany, and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz (constitution) Article 23. The end of the unification process is officially referred to as German unity, celebrated on 3 October. Following German reunification, Berlin was once again designated as the capital of united Germany.
Norman Robert Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank,, is an English architect whose company, Foster + Partners, maintains an international design practice famous for high-tech architecture.
The Bundestag is the German federal parliament. It can be compared to the chamber of deputies along the lines of the United States House of Representatives or the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. Through the Bundesrat, a separate institution, the individual states of Germany participate in legislation similar to a second house in a bicameral parliament.
The term Reichstag, when used to connote a diet, dates back to the Holy Roman Empire. The building was built for the Diet of the German Empire, which was succeeded by the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic. The latter would become the Reichstag of Nazi Germany, which left the building (and ceased to act as a parliament) after the 1933 fire and never returned, using the Kroll Opera House instead; the term Reichstag has not been used by German parliaments since World War II. In today's usage, the word Reichstag (Imperial Diet Building) refers mainly to the building, while Bundestag (Federal Diet) refers to the institution.
In politics, a diet is a formal deliberative assembly. The term is mainly used historically for the Imperial Diet, the general assembly of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire, and for the legislative bodies of certain countries. Modern usage mainly relates to the National Diet of Japan, or the German Bundestag, the Federal Diet.
The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.
The German Empire, also known as Imperial Germany, was the German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918.
Construction of the building began well after the unification of Germany in 1871. Previously, the parliament had assembled in several other buildings in Leipziger Straße in Berlin but these were generally considered too small, so in 1872 an architectural contest with 103 participating architects was carried out to erect a new building. After a short survey of possible sites, a parliamentary committee recommended the east side of the Königsplatz (today, Platz der Republik), which however was occupied by the palace of a Polish-Prussian aristocrat, Athanasius Raczyński.
The unification of Germany into a politically and administratively integrated nation state officially occurred on 18 January 1871, in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles in France. Princes of the German states, excluding Austria, gathered there to proclaim William I of Prussia as German Emperor after the French capitulation in the Franco-Prussian War. Unofficially, the de facto transition of most of the German-speaking populations into a federated organization of states had been developing for some time through alliances formal and informal between princely rulers, but in fits and starts. The self-interests of the various parties hampered the process over nearly a century of autocratic experimentation, beginning in the era of the Napoleonic Wars, which prompted the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, and the subsequent rise of German nationalism.
Platz der Republik is a square in Berlin, Germany. It is located in the Tiergarten, directly in front (west) of the Reichstag building. The square has an area of about 36,900 square meters and is almost completely covered by grass but is decorated with some hedges and a few trees.
Work did not start until ten years later though, owing to various problems with purchasing the property and arguments between Wilhelm I, Otto von Bismarck, and the members of the Reichstag about how the construction should be performed. After lengthy negotiations, the Raczyński Palace was purchased and demolished, making way for the new building.
In 1882, another architectural contest was held, with 200 architects participating. This time the winner, the Frankfurt architect Paul Wallot, would actually see his Neo-Baroque project executed. The direct model for Wallot's design was Philadelphia's Memorial Hall, the main building of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition.Some of the Reichstag's decorative sculptures, reliefs, and inscriptions were by sculptor Otto Lessing. On 29 June 1884, the foundation stone was finally laid by Wilhelm I, at the east side of the Königsplatz. Before construction was completed by Philipp Holzmann A.G. in 1894, Wilhelm I died (in 1888, the Year of Three Emperors). His eventual successor, Wilhelm II, took a more jaundiced view of parliamentary democracy than his grandfather. The original building was acclaimed for the construction of an original cupola of steel and glass, considered an engineering feat at the time. But its mixture of architectural styles drew widespread criticism.
In 1916 the iconic words Dem Deutschen Volke ("[To] the German people") were placed above the main façade of the building, much to the displeasure of Wilhelm II, who had tried to block the adding of the inscription for its democratic significance. After World War I had ended and Wilhelm had abdicated, during the revolutionary days of 1918, Philipp Scheidemann proclaimed the institution of a republic from one of the balconies of the Reichstag building on 9 November. The building continued to be the seat of the parliament of the Weimar Republic (1919–1933), which was still called the Reichstag.
The building caught fire on 27 February 1933, under circumstances still not entirely known. This gave a pretext for the Nazis to suspend most rights provided for by the 1919 Weimar Constitution in the Reichstag Fire Decree, allowing them to arrest Communists and increase police action throughout Germany. The burning of Reichstag had also created fear in the capitalists (US and west European states) of rise of communism in Germany.[ citation needed ] This furthered their policy of appeasement towards Hitler (who had portrayed himself as anti-Communist).[ citation needed ]
During the 12 years of Nazi rule, the Reichstag building was not used for parliamentary sessions. Instead, the few times that the Reichstag convened at all, it did so in the Kroll Opera House, opposite the Reichstag building. This applied particularly to the session of 23 March 1933, in which the Reichstag surrendered its powers to Adolf Hitler in the Enabling Act, another step in the so-called Gleichschaltung ("coordination"). The main meeting hall of the building (which was unusable after the fire) was instead used for propaganda presentations and, during World War II, for military purposes. It was also considered for conversion to a flak tower but was found to be structurally unsuitable.
The building, never fully repaired after the fire, was further damaged by air raids. During the Battle of Berlin in 1945, it became one of the central targets for the Red Army to capture, due to its perceived symbolic significance. Today, visitors to the building can still see Soviet graffiti on smoky walls inside as well as on part of the roof, which was preserved during the reconstructions after reunification.
On 2 May 1945, Yevgeny Khaldei took the photo Raising a flag over the Reichstag , which symbolized the victory of the USSR over Germany.
When the Cold War emerged, the building was physically within West Berlin lying in the British zone, but only a few metres from the border of East Berlin, which ran around the back of the building and in 1961 was closed by the Berlin Wall. During the Berlin blockade, an enormous number of West Berliners assembled before the building on 9 September 1948, and Mayor Ernst Reuter held a famous speech that ended with "Ihr Völker der Welt, schaut auf diese Stadt!" ("You peoples of the world, look upon this city!")
After the war, the building was essentially a ruin. In addition, there was no real use for it, since the seat of government of West Germany had been established in Bonn in 1949. Still, in 1956, after some debate, the West German government decided that the Reichstag should not be torn down, but be restored instead. However, the cupola of the original building, which had also been heavily damaged in the war, was demolished. Another architectural contest was held, and the winner, Paul Baumgarten, reconstructed the building from 1961 to 1964. He removed all sumptuous heraldic statues, monuments, decorations, and the like that harked back to the mythology of the German past from the inside, and also the largest ones on the outside of the building. In effect, he created a plain building inside the historic Reichstag, retaining only the outer walls stripped of most of their statues and decoration.
The artistic and practical value of his work was the subject of much debate after German reunification. Under the 1971 Four Power Agreement on Berlin, Berlin was formally outside the bounds of either East or West Germany, and so the West German parliament, the Bundestag , was not allowed to assemble formally in West Berlin. This prohibition was obeyed even though East Germany had declared East Berlin its capital, violating this provision. Until 1990, the building was thus used only for occasional representative meetings, and one-off events. It was also used for a widely lauded permanent exhibition about German history called Fragen an die deutsche Geschichte ("Questions to the German history").
The official German reunification ceremony on 3 October 1990, was held at the Reichstag building, including Chancellor Helmut Kohl, President Richard von Weizsäcker, former Chancellor Willy Brandt and many others. The event included huge firework displays [ citation needed ]. One day later, the parliament of the united Germany would assemble in an act of symbolism in the Reichstag building.
However, at that time, the role of Berlin had not yet been decided upon. Only after a fierce debate, considered by many as one of the most memorable sessions of parliament, did the Bundestag conclude, on 20 June 1991, with quite a slim majority in favour of both government and parliament returning to Berlin from Bonn. In 1992, Norman Foster won yet another architectural contest for the reconstruction of the building. His winning concept looked very different from what was later executed. Notably, the original design did not include a cupola.
Before reconstruction began, the Reichstag was wrapped by the Bulgarian-American artist Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude in 1995, attracting millions of visitors.The project was financed by the artists through the sale of preparatory drawings and collages, as well as early works of the 1950s and 1960s.
During the reconstruction, the building was first almost completely gutted, taking out everything except the outer walls, including all changes made by Baumgarten in the 1960s. Respect for the historic aspects of the building was one of the conditions stipulated to the architects, so traces of historical events were to be retained in a visible state. Among them were graffiti left by Soviet soldiers after the final battle for Berlin in April–May 1945. Written in Cyrillic script, they include such slogans as "Hitler kaputt" and names of individual soldiers. However, graffiti with racist or sexist themes were removed, in agreement with Russian diplomats at the time.
The reconstruction was completed in 1999, with the Bundestag convening there officially for the first time on 19 April of that year.The Reichstag is now the second most visited attraction in Germany, not least because of the huge glass dome that was erected on the roof as a gesture to the original 1894 cupola, giving an impressive view over the city, especially at night.
The large glass dome at the very top of the Reichstag has a 360-degree view of the surrounding Berlin cityscape. The main hall (debating chamber) of the parliament below can also be seen from inside the dome, and natural light from above radiates down to the parliament floor. A large sun shield tracks the movement of the sun electronically and blocks direct sunlight which would not only cause large solar gain, but dazzle those below. Construction work was finished in 1999 and the seat of parliament was transferred to the Bundestag in April of that year. The dome is open to visitors by prior registration.
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Reichstag is a German word generally meaning parliament, more directly translated as Diet of the Realm or National diet, or more loosely as Imperial Diet. It may refer to:
The Reichstag fire was an arson attack on the Reichstag building, home of the German parliament in Berlin, on Monday 27 February 1933, precisely four weeks after Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany. Hitler's government stated that Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch council communist, was found near the building, and they attributed the fire to communist agitators in general—though a German court decided later that year that Van der Lubbe had acted alone, as he claimed. After the fire, the Reichstag Fire Decree was passed. The Nazi Party used the fire as a pretext that communists were plotting against the German government, and the event is considered pivotal in the establishment of Nazi Germany. The term "Reichstag fire" has come to refer to false flag actions facilitated by an authority to promote their own interests through popular approval of retribution or retraction of civil rights.
The German Bundesrat is a legislative body that represents the sixteen Länder of Germany at the national level. The Bundesrat meets at the former Prussian House of Lords in Berlin. Its second seat is located in the former West German capital of Bonn.
The Palace of the Republic was a building in the former East Berlin that hosted the Volkskammer, the parliament of the German Democratic Republic, from 1976 to 1990.
Tiergarten is a locality within the borough of Mitte, in central Berlin (Germany). Notable for the great and homonymous urban park, before German reunification, it was a part of West Berlin. Until Berlin's 2001 administrative reform, Tiergarten was also the name of a borough (Bezirk), consisting of the current locality (Ortsteil) of Tiergarten plus Hansaviertel and Moabit. A new system of road and rail tunnels runs under the park towards Berlin's main station in nearby Moabit.
The Berlin Palace, also known as the Berlin City Palace, is a building currently under construction in the centre of Berlin, located on the Museum Island at Schlossplatz, opposite the Lustgarten park. From the 15th century to the early 20th century, the Berliner Schloss was a royal and imperial palace and served mostly as the main residence of the Electors of Brandenburg, the Kings of Prussia, and the German Emperors. Demolished by the East German government in the 1950s, the palace is currently being rebuilt, with completion expected in 2019. The reconstructed palace will be the seat of the Humboldt Forum, a museum for world culture which is a successor museum of the Ancient Prussian Art Chamber, which was also located in the 19th century Berlin Palace. The Humboldt Forum has been described as the German equivalent of the British Museum.
The Federal Convention, also known as the Federal Assembly, is a special constitutional body in the political and federal institutional system of Germany, convened solely for the purpose of electing the President of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundespräsident), either every five years or within 30 days of the premature termination of a presidential term. The Federal Convention mirrors the aggregated majority situation of the Bundestag and the parliaments of the 16 German federal states.
The Kroll Opera House was an opera building in Berlin, Germany, located in the central Tiergarten district on the western edge of the Königsplatz square, facing the Reichstag building. It was built in 1844 as an entertainment venue for the restaurant owner Joseph Kroll. During its eventful history it was redeveloped as an opera house in 1851 and was used by various owners and directors for opera, operetta and drama. It was later operated by the Prussian state opera and drama companies and served as the assembly hall of the German Reichstag parliament from 1933 until 1942. On 19 July 1940, the opera house was used to host the 1940 Field Marshal Ceremony. Severely damaged by bombing and the Battle of Berlin in World War II, it was finally demolished in 1951.
Johann Paul Wallot was a German architect of Huguenot descent, best known for designing the Reichstag building in Berlin, erected between 1884 and 1894. He also built the adjacent Palace of the President of the Reichstag, finished in 1904, and the former Saxon Ständehaus state diet building of 1906 at Brühl's Terrace in Dresden.
The Reichstag dome is a glass dome, constructed on top of the rebuilt Reichstag building in Berlin. It was designed by architect Norman Foster and built to symbolize the reunification of Germany. The distinctive appearance of the dome has made it a prominent landmark in Berlin.
White Crosses is a memorial for those who died during the Cold War at the Berlin Wall. It is located at the shore of the river Spree in Berlin next to the Reichstag building, which houses the German parliament. Established by the private group Berliner Bürger-Verein on the 10th anniversary of the Berlin Wall in 1971 it was first located east of the Reichstag on a fence directly in front of the wall. After the German reunification in 1990 it kept its location until construction of the new government buildings next to the Reichstag was started at the end of that century – Berlin was chosen to be the new capital of Germany.
The Tiergarten is Berlin’s most popular inner-city park, located completely in the district of the same name. The park is 210 hectares in size and is among the largest urban gardens of Germany. Only the Tempelhofer Park and Munich's Englischer Garten are larger.
The Reichstag was the Parliament of Germany from 1871 to 1918. Legislation was shared between the Reichstag and the Bundesrat, which was the Imperial Council of the reigning princes of the German States.
The Reichstag was the Lower house of the Weimar Republic's Legislature. It originated in the creation of the Weimar Constitution in 1919. After the end of the Weimar Republic in 1933, the Reichstag continued to operate, albeit sporadically, as a purely nominal legislature of Nazi Germany.
The Reichstag, officially the Großdeutscher Reichstag after 1938, was the pseudo-Parliament of the Third Reich from 1933 to 1945. Following the Nazi seizure of power and the passing of the Enabling Act of 1933, it met only as a rubber stamp for the actions of Adolf Hitler's dictatorship — always by unanimous consent — and to listen to Hitler's speeches. In this purely ceremonial role, the Reichstag convened only 20 times, the last on 26 April 1942. The President of the Reichstag throughout this period was Hermann Göring.
Berlin's history has left the city with an eclectic assortment of architecture. The city's appearance in the 21st century has been shaped by the key role the city played in Germany's 20th-century history. Each of the governments based in Berlin—the Kingdom of Prussia, the 1871 German Empire, the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany, East Germany and the reunified Federal Republic of Germany—initiated ambitious construction programs, with each adding its distinct flavour to the city's architecture.
The Saxon Landtag is a building at the Bernhard von Lindenau Platz in Dresden, which serves as the seat of the landtag of Saxony, the Landtag of the Free State of Saxony.