Berlin's House of Representatives (Abgeordnetenhaus von Berlin), is the seat of the State Parliament of Berlin – as opposed to the Bundestag - which sits in the Reichstag as the Federal Parliament of Germany. Situated near Potsdamer Platz and the Martin Gropius building it resonates with Berlin's political history.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 the elected deputies of reunited Berlin first sat in Chamber here in 1993, sixty years after the Nazi takeover which had robbed it of its democratic function. The building's thorough restoration and modernisation by architects Rave & Partner includes a glass-domed plenary hall.
The neo-Renaissance style building, formerly the Preußische Landtag (Prussian State Assembly) housed the central assembly for the first time in 1899. A bi-cameral parliament with an upper chamber and a house of representatives, it dates back to the vision of the Prussian national constitution, born out of the 1848 Revolution for a constitutionally elected government. In the 1932 State elections, the Nazi NSDAP became the strongest party in parliament and after Hitler's appointment as Reich Chancellor, the last sitting of the house took place in 1933. The Nazis found other uses for the building which became an infamous courthouse called "Preußenhaus" (House of Prussia) and a Luftwaffe officers' club under Hermann Göring until 1945. Last but not least the Stasi (East German state security service) also established its headquarters here in 1960.
Although free elections were held in Berlin in 1947, the division of the city into a western and eastern part meant that the city's government sat separately - in Rathaus Schöneberg for West Berlin and at the Stadthaus for East Berlin.
Visitors are welcome in a 150-seat tribune accessible via a separate entrance. An honorary citizens gallery can also be visited with over one hundred Berlin personages. Amongst the portraits on show is that of Marlene Dietrich who became honorary citizen No. 112 in 1992, painted by her great grandson John Matthew Riva.
Berlin House of Representatives
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