The Reichstag is home to the German parliament, and a symbol of democracy and German reunification. It is the centre of Germany's political activity ever since the German government was moved from its old capital Bonn to Berlin. The Neo-Renaissance building with its modern glass dome attracts numerous visitors every day. A visit of the dome and roof terrace is possible free of charge. Visitors have to register in advance.
In the course of German history, the Reichstag building was in the centre of many historical events of the country. The politician Philipp Scheidemann, a member of the German Social-democrat Party, proclaimed the Weimar Republic from the balcony of the Reichstag on 9 Nov 1918. Both the plenary assembly hall including the dome were entirely destroyed during the fire in the Reichstag on the 27 Feb 1933. On 30 Apr 1945, two Soviet soldiers ran up the flag of the Soviet Union celebrating the victory over Nazi Germany.
The architectural plans for the Reichstag were made by Paul Wallot. It was built between 1884 and 1894. With the newly founded German Empire in 1871, the Reichstag became the seat of the government. Wallot added pompous elements of the renaissance, baroque and classicism to it. In 1916, the label “Dem Deutschen Volke” ('To the German people') was placed on the stonework of the Reichstag.
During Second World War, the building was bombed to an extent that it was destroyed entirely, and could no longer be used. For statical reasons, the dome was knocked down in 1957. When Paul Baumgarten began with the renovation work, he glazed the entire assembly hall and omitted historical elements. The second phase began in 1994, when the British architect Norman Foster was awarded the contract to build a new and functional parliament. The main thing to be renewed was the dome of the Reichstag, which weighs 800 tons and consists of steel and glass with a diameter of 40 m and a height of 23.5 m. Inside, there are two ways leading to the viewing platform.
In 1995, the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude veiled the Reichstag with a silver cover. This art project made the Reichstag world famous.
How to get there
The easiest way to get here is on public transport. Take tram lines S1 and S2 or alternatively the bus line 100. Get off at Unter den Linden.