Germany

Visiting the Reichstag in Berlin, Germany

The Bundestag building in Berlin is the second most visited attraction in Berlin.  It is often called the Reichstag, but that is the name of the German parliament.  Most people go in order to tour dome,  which offers a 360 view of Berlin.  While you are there, we suggest taking a tour of the building which you can sign up to do on its  website: http://www.bundestag.de/htdocs_e/visits/besgrupp/fuehr/fuehr/245682.  The tours last about 90 minutes and are held when Parliament is not in session and offers a good overview of the history of the building.

The Reichstag went through several incarnations before becoming the building it is today.  It was originally built in 1871, but the area was considered to be too small for its purpose.  It was rebuilt, in its current location, in 1884.  After WWII , it was restored twice: 1964 and in 1992.  It was almost completely gutted in 1992 when British architect, Norman Foster was picked to restore the building for the final time; deciding only to keep the original outside walls.

Original outside walls w/Russian Graffiti
Original outside walls w/Russian Graffiti

The glass dome, at the top of the Reichstag, was built in 1999. It serves as a symbol of rebirth and is vital to the building’s natural ventilation and lighting system.  The walkway to the top of the observation deck is symbolic of allowing the public to walk above their parliamentary representatives head which was not the case during Nazi rule.

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View from the rooftop of the Reichstag.

 

 

Inside of Dome
View from the inside of the Dome looking up.

Through the guided tour of the building, we were shown several key things that speak to the history of the building, its commitment to democracy and openness. The gifts from the allied nations and the fact that all the offices in the building are uniform demonstrate commitment to democracy.  This symbolism of openness is reflected by the public and parliamentary members walking in through the same doors.

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Gift to Reichstag from the US was created by American Jenny Holzer. It is a glass room with a LED stick that runs continuously displaying notable parliamentary speeches.

 

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There is a room lined with archive boxes. These are the gift from France that was created by artist, Christian Boltanski. The archive boxes have the names of democratically elected members of Parliament. The black archive box, shown here, has been painted black to represent the years Germany was ruled by the Nazi’s. There is even a box for Adolf Hilter in this collection that is destroyed frequently.

We ended the tour by walking up the walk way of the dome.  On a nice day, it offers one of the best views of Berlin.  Have you been?  If so, what did you think of it?

 

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Tara on Left, Erica on Right holding camera

 

 

7 thoughts on “Visiting the Reichstag in Berlin, Germany

    1. Yes, so much history. The tour guide said many Russian soldiers wrote things such as “My name is and I’m from this city”. She mentioned she even had a person on the tour that recognized her grandfather’s name among the graffiti and brought her grandfather to see it.

  1. Btw, how much does it cost? I just looke dup the website and have emailed them for booking. Not sure if they take such last minute requests. Are we allowed to go to the terrace even without a guided tour?

    1. They have a last minute sign up place across the street from it. Go there & talk to them if you don’t get a reply from the website. They usually do let people In the dome without prior registration. Get there early to avoid the long lines!

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