Learning about the Reichstag, a symbol of democracy

The Reichstag, the current home of the German parliament, is an internationally recognised symbol of democracy. Every year, thousands of visitors flock to the Reichstag for one reason: to admire the breathtaking views while witnessing future political decisions being taken right before their eyes. With its historical significance and remarkable architecture designed by Paul Wallot, inspired by Philadelphia's Memorial Hall, the Reichstag plays an essential role in Berlin. No one can miss the imposing glass dome that provides a 360° view of the surrounding Berlin cityscape. Don’t wait, come learn about this powerful symbol of democracy!

The Reichstag

- © multitel / Shutterstock

The Reichstag’s history

Completed in 1894, the building originally lacked its emblematic dedication to the "German people", which was added in 1916 with the inscription "Dem Deutschen Volke" on its facade.

The Reichstag served as the seat of the German parliament until 1933, when a devastating fire severely damaged the building, marking the end of the Weimar Republic and paving the way for Hitler's crackdown on political dissent. During the Nazi regime and the Second World War, the building was once again neglected and damaged. In 1945, it became a favourite target of the Red Army because of its propaganda value.

After the war, the West German parliament moved to Bonn, leaving the Reichstag in ruins until 1961, at which point a partial restoration took place in the midst of the construction of the Berlin Wall. Although controversial, this restoration preserved traces of its recent history, such as the bullet-riddled facade and the graffiti of Soviet soldiers.

Throughout the Cold War and until German reunification in 1989, the Reichstag hosted a permanent exhibition entitled "Questions on German History", but was only used on a limited scale for ceremonies. In 1990, it became the site of the official reunification ceremony. After extensive debate, in 1995, it was decided that the Reichstag would once again become the seat of the German national parliament. A meticulous restoration and refurbishment by Norman Foster was completed in 1999, and on 19 April of that year, the new German government gathered in the Reichstag.

The Reichstag

- © frank_peters / Shutterstock

Interesting Facts about the Reichstag

Cyrillic graffiti left by Soviet soldiers

The Cyrillic graffiti, left behind by Soviet soldiers following their siege of the Reichstag in 1945, has been meticulously preserved and remains visible to visitors even to this day.

Soviet graffities in the Reichstag

- © 360b / Shutterstock

An example of eco-architecture

Showcasing eco-architecture at its finest, the Reichstag is remarkably self-sufficient in its energy production. Its dome's design maximises the utilisation of natural lighting and ventilation, setting it apart as a distinct symbol of sustainability.

The Glass Dome

- © Perekotypole / Shutterstock

A spot for picnics

In addition to its eventful history, Berlin is renowned for its laid-back and enjoyable atmosphere. Experience it firsthand on the grass in front of the Reichstag, which serves as a perfect spot for picnics, sunbathing, and general relaxation.

The Front of the Reichstag

- © VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock

Practical information about your visit

Boutique Hotel Château Royal Berlin

Boutique Hotel Château Royal

A few blocks away from the Reichstag stands the Boutique Hotel Château Royal. This hotel offers air-conditioned rooms, a restaurant, free Wi-Fi and a bar. All rooms include a seating area, flat-screen TV and safe.
From
£215 /night
Book!

Price:

Admission is free; advance registration is required. To make a reservation: click here.

Opening hours:

The dome: 

You can visit the roof terrace and dome of the Reichstag Building, which offer spectacular views of the parliamentary and government district and Berlin’s sights daily from 8.00 am to 9:45 pm. The admission is every quarter of an hour. 

Guided tour:

Various time slots of 90-minute tours are available when Parliament is not sitting

Lectures overlooking the plenary chamber: 

You can attend a lecture held in the visitors’ gallery overlooking the plenary chamber. These 45-minute lectures will teach you  important facts about the functions, working methods and composition of Parliament, as well as the history and architecture of the Reichstag Building. Following the lecture, you will have an opportunity to visit the dome.

Lectures are only held when Parliament is not sitting.

How to get to the Reichstag?

By car: 

  • If you prefer driving, you can rent a car or use a taxi service to get to the Reichstag. But, keep in mind that traffic and parking might be challenging. 

By bus: 

  • Berlin has an extensive public transportation network, including buses! You can take a bus to go directly from your accommodation to the Reichstag. The number 100 bus is stopping at the Reichstag station.

By subway: 

  • The subway (U-Bahn) in Berlin can take you to the Reichstag. Stop at the Bundestag subway station. 

Some things to keep in mind for your visit:

  • Prior to your visit, make a reservation and come in time!
  • Make sure to have your official ID when going into the Reichstag.

Useful Links

German Bundestag’ website: 

https://www.bundestag.de/en/?utm_source=easyvoyage 

Berlin's official travel website:

https://www.visitberlin.de/en/reichstag-in-berlin/?utm_source=easyvoyage      

by Faustine PEREZ
Need a hand? take a look at our guide
Berlin
Berlin
Latest news
Marrakech
The Majorelle Garden, an infinitely blue Eden
Milan
Milan Cathedral: the urban jewel of the city of Lombardy
Lyon
Get a bird's eye view of Lyon's Notre-Dame de Fourvière basilica
Read more articles
Best cities