The original Reichstag building was built between 1884 and 1994 to house the Parliament of the (relatively) newly united Germany, with the costs largely covered by reparations France had to pay as a result of the Franco-Prussian War that help secure Gemran unification. However its iconic inscription, "Dem Deutschen Volk" ("to the German people") wasn’t added until 1916, in the heat of the German Empire’s final military campaign, the First World War. It remained the seat of the German Parliament under the Weimar Republic, until the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, which resulted from the "Reichstag Fire Decree" which suspended civil liberties and was declared after a Dutch Communist attempted to burn the building down (quite possibly with Nazi participation). Fittingly, the famous image of a Red Army soldier raising the Soviet flag over Berlin, symbolizing Nazi Germany’s defeat was taken at the Reichstag in 1945. Although the Reichstag was in West Berlin (but literally next to the Berlin Wall), it was unused prior to unification as West Germany’s capital was located in Bonn.
After German reunification, it was decided that the Federal Parliament (now known as the Bundestag rather than the Reichstag) would be moved back to Berlin and in 1995 a refurbishment program began, including the construction of a then-controversial (but now iconic) glass dome by the British architect Lord Norman Foster. Prior to this, the environmental artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude wrapped the building in fabric.
It’s easy to visit the Reichstag, as it’s open daily from 8 am to midnight, with the last admission at 10 pm. You should bring identification and be prepared to pass through metal detectors and it’s worth noting that waits can be quite long (in my case two hours on a weekday evening in August). A visit involves taking an elevator to the roof and then having the opportunity, should you so choose, to walk down through the dome. The roof offers outstanding views over Central Berlin by day or night, while if take the walk down during the week, you may very well see the Bundestag in session. (You have to book in advance to visit the Bundestag Chamber itself). There are an expensive restaurant and a cheap coffee bar on the roof, but no public toilets (something to keep in mind given the long lines.)
Results 1-10of 13 Reviews
London, England, United Kingdom
October 28, 2012
From journal Berlin part 2
by Owen Lipsett
New York, New York
December 9, 2009
From journal Berlin - Monuments
by Shady Ady
Hinckley, England, United Kingdom
May 31, 2006
From journal A Week in Berlin
August 15, 2005
From journal Europe in May
March 15, 2005
From journal Four Days in Berlin
March 13, 2005
A tour of the other parts of the building are by appointment only. Those with an appointment or a dining reservation (make a reservation with Käfer Dachgarten by calling 22 62 99 33) go through a different entrance and bypass the long wait.Daily 8am to 12am, last entrance 10pm; freeTel: 30/227 32 152, Fax: 30/227 35 908Email: email@example.comUnter den Linden: S-Bahn S1, S2; Bus 100
From journal BER
October 3, 2004
Regular visitors are only allowed to see a very small portion of the Reichstag - essentially just the glass dome and terrace, which are outside of where the Bundestag assembles.
If you would like to see the Bundestag at work, I believe you can schedule a visit at http://www.bundestag.de.
The queue outside is ALWAYS incredibly long. If you don't mind standing in a line for an hour and a half or more, then great... but if you don't enjoy waiting, be sure to arrive VERY early, before the tour buses arrive.
The Reichstag is open from 8am to midnight, but the last group is allowed inside at about 11:30pm.
Admission is FREE.
From journal A short excursion to Berlin
September 28, 2004
The foundation stone for architect Paul Wallot’s Reichstag Building was laid on the June 9, 1884, as construction began on the new home of the Parliament of the German Empire. Construction work took a decade to complete, and the magnificent façade with its giant inscription, "Dem Deutscher Volke" ("For the German People"), has become a symbol of German nationhood. So much so that it was from the balcony here on June 9, 1918, following the collapse of the empire at the end of WWI, that Philipp Scheidermann of the SPD proclaimed the Republic. Fire ravaged the building on February 27, 1933, supposedly the work of a Dutch communist; Hitler used this as an excuse to seize totalitarian powers. The building was in ruins at the end of the war and the construction of the Berlin Wall alongside it on August 13, 1961 sealed its fate for the next 30 years. Following reunification, the decision was made to move the parliament, and on June 23, 1995, the building was wrapped by French artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude to drum up public support. After which Foster set to work on reconstruction, ceremonially handing over the key to Wolfgang Thierse, President of the Bundestag, on April 19, 1999.
The heart of the building is the Plenary Chamber where the Parliament sits; the room is transparent on all sides, giving unparalleled views of the inner workings of government to all visitors. An enormous engraved eagle seemingly floats in space, flanked by the flags of Germany and the EU, below which on a raised platform sits the President of the Bundestag, who runs the proceedings. To his right sits the Federal Government, headed by the Chancellor, and to his left the Bundesrat (upper house). In front of him is the speaker’s podium and stenographers, around which are spread elliptically the elected members of the Bundestag (lower house). The whole thing is capped by Foster’s magnificent dome, which replaces the cupola torn down at the end of WWII. This extraordinary feat of modern engineering in glass and steel, provides light and ventilation to the chamber below and magnificent views across Berlin to the visitors above. Other works of art to look out for include German artist Gerhard Richter’s curious elongated glass flag and American artist Jenny Holzer’s speech quoting column.
The dome is open to visitors daily from 8am to midnight and admission is free, but security is, unsurprisingly, tight, and Germans, it must be remembered, have no sense of humour, as my rather glib response to the guard’s question "What have you got in your water bottle?" quickly proved.
From journal Berlin: Gateway To Eastern Europe
August 4, 2003
The Reichstag has closely escaped destruction many times during its 100 year history, and has undergone some major transformations over the years.
You can visit the Reichstag and walk all the way to the top of the dome.
The newly constructed metal glass dome over the parliamentary chamber offers good rooftop views over the city, but an early start is highly recommended for those who don´t like queuing.
From journal Berlin the german Capital
Northern Va Suburbs of DC, Virginia
February 15, 2003
In April 1999, the seat of German government was transferred back from Bonn to Berlin. Now that Germany is unified, the Parliament will be here in Berlin.
From journal "Achtung Baby" Berlin in October