The Reichstag building with the famous glass dome is one of the most frequently visited sights in Berlin. It is seat of the German parliament, the Bundestag.
Experience up close where politics is made by visiting the Reichstag building with its spectacular glass dome and roof terrace. The Reichstag building is one of the most visited sights in the city. No wonder - after all, decisions are made here that affect everyone's life. The location on the Spree in the middle of the city center and the building itself do the rest. In the summer months, Berliners and tourists flock to the large lawn in front of the seat of government.
History of the Reichstag building
The Reichstag building was built from 1884 to 1894 based on plans by Paul Wallot. With the proclamation of the German Empire in 1871, Berlin became the imperial capital and the newly formed parliament needed a seat of government. Wallot wanted to create a representative, monumental building, so he combined elements of Renaissance, Baroque and Classicism. The inscription "Dem Deutschen Volke" (To the German People) in the gable, which still exists today, was not added until 1916. During the war, the building was severely damaged and consequently not used for a while. The dome had to be blown up for structural reasons. A first reconstruction began in 1957, when the plenary hall was lazed and almost all historical features of the building were pushed back.
Seat of the German Parliament
The Reichstag building has been the seat of the German parliament - the Bundestag - since 1990. The first session in the plenary hall took place on October 4, 1990. Less than three months later, the first constituent session of the all-German Bundestag took place in the Reichstag building. On June 20, 1991, Berlin won the vote for the seat of the German government.
Glass Dome by Sir Norman Foster
During a second reconstruction phase that started in 1994, the British architect Sir Norman Foster implemented, among other things, his designs for the glass dome. The 800-ton steel and glass structure measures 40 meters in diameter and 23.5 meters in height. On the inside, two spiral paths wind up to the observation deck and back down to the roof terrace. The renovations ended with the first session of the Bundestag in the new Reichstag building on April 19, 1999.
History of the Reichstag Building
The Reichstag building is inextricably linked to many significant turning points and events in German history. On November 9, 1918, SPD politician Philipp Scheidemann proclaimed the Republic from the balcony at the west portal. On the evening of February 27, 1933, the Reichstag fire occurred and the plenary chamber and the dome were completely destroyed. On April 30, 1945, two Red Army soldiers hoisted the red flag of the Soviet Union on top of the Reichstag, symbolizing the victory over Hitler and the Third Reich.
Christo Transforms Reichstag into Art Object
In the summer of 1995, the Reichstag building became world-famous - thanks to something completely apolitical for a change. For two weeks, the artist couple Christo and Jeanne-Claude covered the entire building with a silver-colored tarpaulin measuring around 100,000 square meters. The wrapped Reichstag attracted millions of visitors, whose countless pictures and photos gave the Reichstag building international popularity.
Visiting the Reichstag
Today, the Reichstag is a must-see for all Berlin visitors. Highlights include an elevator ride to the large rooftop terrace, which offers breathtaking views of the Tiergarten, as well as a stroll throughthe dome and the mirror cylinder at the center.
Platz der Republik 1
- Opening Hours
- daily from 8 AM till midnight; last admission at 10 PM
- Barrier-free access via ramps and the West C etrance for people with disabilities on Platz der Republik. Accessible restrooms on each floor. Induction loops for hearing-impaired visitors during plenary debates and information lectures. Tactile model of the Reichstag building and deep relief of the plenary chamber and dome for visually-impaired and blind visitors. Braille and tape announcements in the elevators. Audio guide with tactile case to wear around the neck for blind visitors to the dome. Sign language video guide for deaf visitors to the dome.
- Admission Fee
- Please Note
- Visits to the dome and roof terrace are only possible with prior registration. Registrations can be made online at www.bundestag.de. Information about closures of the dome can be found on the Bundestag website.
Source: Berlin.de | All texts, photographs and graphics on this site are protected by copyright. They may not be copied, reproduced, translated or used otherwise.
Last edited: 18 March 2022