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Stadtschloss: Berlin’s controversial palace

The Stadtschloss was built by Kurfurst (prince-elector) Frederic II. He was quite a showoff when he gave orders to build it in 1443. The building was big and blatant. But the Berliners didn’t like it at all. They hated the Stadtschloss. Many Berliners were hungry and poor. They felt that Frederic didn’t care about them at all. The building of the palace made him even less popular, because he showed off how much money he had, while people were starving to death.

lustgarten berlijn

The remaining Lustgarten of the Stadtschloss

Frederic II used the Lustgarten, the green park in front of the Berlin Dom, as a vegetable and herb patch. The Prussian kings that lived at the Stadtschloss after he died, liked the Lustgarten as well. So did the German emperor Wilhelm II. Although he didn’t enjoy the Stadtschloss for a very long time. After the November revolution in 1918 Wilhelm II was abdicated. He went to Doorn in the Netherlands and the Stadtschloss became a museum.
The people of Berlin didn’t enjoy their new museum for a very long time.


Stadtschloss hit by bombs

During the Second World War the Stadtschloss was severely hit by bombs. In the ruin that the Stadtschloss had become a few exhibitions were held after the war. Walter Ulbricht, the GDR leader, hated the Stadtschloss. He believed it represented what had been wrong with Germany: rich people taking advantage of the poor. As a communist he believed all people were equal and he detested royalty. The remains of the Stadtschloss had to go. Ulbricht gave orders to blow up the building. The Palast der Republik (people’s palace) should replace it, Ulbricht stressed. It would be a Stadtschloss for every Berliner according to the communists.


laatste resten Palast der Republik weggehaald

Controversial palace

After the the Berlin Wall collapsed Palast der Republik a lot of Berliners felt very uncomfortable with the building. Mainly because it played such an important role in GDR politics. For example the many bombastic parades started at Palast der Republik.

In 2008 the Palast der Republik ceased to exist. All the bricks, copper colored glass and many lamps were gone. Berliners discussed what to do with the place. After all it was and still is one of Berlins most prominent spots in the city center. After a very long and heated discussion a controversial decision was made: the Stadtschloss should be rebuild.

The new Stadtschloss isn’t a exact replica of the old palace. The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin will exhibit their non-European collection here. The Humboldt University and City library will also use it for their book collections. The new Stadtschloss will also have an agora, a semi-open space for public performances. Take a look at the building progress. The new Stadtschloss will probably open in 2016.

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