The Reichstag Building on the Platz der Republik is the seat of the German Parliament and one of the most important landmarks of Germany.
A visit to the Reichstag is a must for every visitor to Berlin!
In our complete guide to the Reichstag Building, we provide you with everything you need to know and tips for your visit to the landmark. This includes admission, tickets & guided tours, things to do, the history of the building and much more.
Things to do at the Reichstag Building
The Reichstag Building on the Platz der Republik is one of the most important sights in Berlin.
Several historical events and turning points in German history are connected with the Reichstag, which is why it is also considered a mirror of German history.
See below which highlights you should not miss:
1. Admire the Exterior of the Reichstag
Designed by Paul Wallot in the Italian Renaissance style, the Reichstag Building impresses with its imposing architecture, which is a synthesis of Paul Wallot's historicism and the modern redesign of British architect Sir Norman Foster.
Along with the glass dome, the sandstone relief in the pediment with the imperial coat of arms and the imperial crown, as well as the dedicatory inscription "Dem Deutschen Volke" (To the German People) below it, immediately catches the eye.
Yet there are even more ornaments waiting to be discovered. If you look closely, you can see magnificent sandstone figures, ornaments and numerous motifs. Of particular note are the so-called "coat of arms trees", two stone relief panels located on either side of the entrance, depicting the coats of arms of the German Empire, newly founded in 1871.
It is also interesting to note that the four corner towers, framed by 16 sculptures made of sandstone, represent the four kingdoms of Prussia, Saxony, Bavaria and Württemberg.
2. Visit the Roof Terrace & Reichstag Dome
The subsequently designed glass dome above the plenary hall of the German Parliament has a diameter of 38 meters and a height of 23.5 meters. Today, it has a lasting impact on the cityscape and has become a much-visited attraction and, beyond that, a Berlin landmark.
The accessible glass dome is located on the 24-meter-high roof terrace of the Reichstag Building. On its inner side, two spiral ramps wind up to an observation deck 40 meters above the ground. Here you can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of Berlin.
In addition, the parliamentary history exhibition "From the Reichstag to the Bundestag" awaits you on the roof terrace, displayed in 12 showcases.
- Tip: We highly recommend using one of the free audio guides that are available to visitors on the entrance to the rooftop terrace. They are available in eleven languages (German, English, French, Spanish, Turkish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, Polish and Russian) and offer 20 minutes of background knowledge about the Reichstag building, the German Bundestag and the attractions of Berlin that are visible from up here. An audio guide for children is also available.
3. Join a Guided Tour of the Reichstag Building
If you want to delve deeper into the moving history of this impressive monument, you can take part in a guided tour of the Reichstag Building. During this tour, you will learn details about the workings and tasks of the German parliament, as well as information about the history and architecture of the Reichstag.
In addition to the classic house tours, guided tours with various thematic focuses are also offered, including art and architecture tours as well as family tours.
- Important: In order to participate in a guided tour, prior registration is necessary.
4. Witness a Sitting in the Plenary Chamber
The historic building has not only been the seat of the German Bundestag since 1999, but is now also the most visited parliament in the world. Visitors from all over the world can visit a plenary sitting after prior registration.
The plenary hall is the heart of the German Bundestag. From the public gallery, you can get up close to members of the German Bundestag and closely follow all the debates taking place.
5. Dine in the Restaurant and Enjoy the View
The dome is not the only jewel of the roof terrace. The level is also home to Käfer's rooftop restaurant, which invites you to feast and linger on modern German cuisine.
Of course, you can also enjoy a fantastic view of the German capital from the restaurant.
- Please note: Due to tightened security measures at the German Bundestag the restaurant also requires the surnames, first names and dates of birth from all guests at least 48 hours in advance. These will be forwarded to the police and security services. Reservations for the restaurant can be made by phone from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 030/227-9220 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration for Your Reichstag Visit
Individuals and groups can register for a visit to the parliament. An
Short-term visitors, who would like to visit the dome spontaneously, can register in person for a dome visit at the service branch of the visitor center near the Reichstag building, next to the Berlin Pavilion on the southern side of Scheidemannstrasse. If space is available, personal access authorizations can be issued up to two hours before the visit time. It is also possible to obtain a visit appointment for the following two days.
- Important: A valid identification document with photo is required for admission.
- More details about the visit and guided tours are available here.
Entrance, Tickets & Tours for the Reichstag Building
- Entrance: The dome of the Reichstag Building is open daily from 8:00 to 24:00. Last admission is at 22:00. It is closed on 12/24 (all day) and 12/31 from 4pm.
- Tickets: Admission to the Reichstag building is free, but prior registration is mandatory. Details can be found under the "Registration" section above, as well as on the official website,
- Tours: Various free guided tours of the Reichstag Building are offered. Prior registration is required. You can find out more information
- Travelers' Tips: If you would like to discover these and other highlights of the German capital flexibly and on your own, we recommend the audio guide app
Best of Berlin Tour by YourMobileGuide.
How to get to the Reichstag?
Thanks to its central location, the Reichstag in the heart of Berlin can be easily reached via various routes.
The best way to get to the historic building is to take bus line 100, which stops directly at the Reichstag.
- From the Central Station: Alternatively, you can easily take the U-Bahn U55 to the "Bundestag" stop.
FAQ about the Reichstag Berlin
The Reichstag Building has been the seat of the German Parliament (Bundestag) since 1999.
The Reichstag is located at the Platz der Republik, in the heart of Berlin in the district Mitte. The address is: Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin
Emperor Wilhelm II had the Reichstag Building built to provide a dignified seat of government for the newly founded parliament of the German Reich in 1871.
The architect Paul Wallot was commissioned. The architect for the first reconstruction was Paul Baumgarten. Sir Norman Foster was responsible for the second reconstruction and the glass dome.
Construction work on the Reichstag Building began in 1884. After a ten-year construction phase, the structure was completed in 1894.
The Reichstag fire occurred on February 27, 1933, barely a month after dolf Hitler and the NSDAP came to power. The plenary chamber and several surrounding rooms burned out completely.
In 1995, the Reichstag was covered with a huge silver tarpaulin for two weeks as part of the art project "Covered Reichstag" by the artist couple Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The art project received worldwide attention and attracted five million visitors over the course of the two weeks.
History and Facts about the Reichstag
In order to provide a dignified seat of government for the newly formed parliament of the German Empire, founded in 1871, Emperor Wilhelm II had the Reichstag building constructed. After a ten-year construction phase, the building was completed in 1894. The building made history in 1918, when the Weimar Republic was proclaimed from the balcony of the Reichstag. From then on, until Hitler came to power, it served as the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic.
The Reichstag in the Third Reich & in the Second World War
A month after Adolf Hitler's appointment as Reich Chancellor on January 30, 1933, the Reichstag experienced one of its darkest hours: the Reichstag fire. The plenary chamber and several surrounding rooms completely burned out. The left-wing Dutchman Marinus van der Lubbe was accused of the fire, but it is still not clear who the real arsonist was.
However, it is a fact that the NSDAP was the beneficiary, as the Reichstag fire marked the beginning of the Nazi dictatorship. Until the end of the Nazi dictatorship in 1945, the Reichstag functioned as a "sham parliament" with which the Nazi regime wanted to give the impression of being democratically legitimized. In fact, the Reichstag at that time was without any political significance and not democratic.
During World War II, the Reichstag building functioned as a military hospital and air raid shelter. Due to its high symbolic value, the capture of the building in 1945 took on an important role for the Red Army. During the Battle of Berlin, the Reichstag, which had already been partially destroyed by the Reichstag fire, was severely damaged.
After the victory of the Red Army on April 30, 1945, two Russian soldiers raised the red Soviet flag on the roof of the building, symbolizing the end of World War II in Europe as well as the end of the Nazi dictatorship.
The Reichstag During the Inner-German Division
After Berlin was divided into four sectors by the occupying powers in 1945, the Reichstag, the now almost completely destroyed Reichstag was located in West Berlin. Thus, the building was able to escape demolition, which was decided in 1947.
The building, which lay in ruins, was often used as a backdrop for speeches because of its symbolic value as a symbol of German unity. This symbolism was one of the reasons why the German Parliament in Bonn decided to rebuild the Reichstag building in 1955, even though its use in a divided Germany was uncertain. In 1961, the architect, Paul Baumgarten, was commissioned to plan and lead the reconstruction without the dome in a modernized form. The reconstruction was not completely finished until 1973.
Since the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, it ran directly along the east side of the Reichstag. During the division, the empty building housed a museum about the parliament and the history of the Reichstag building. Committee and parliamentary group meetings were held here at the time of the division.
After the Reunification
When it was decided in 1991 to move the parliament to Berlin and to use the Reichstag permanently as a parliament building, the building was fundamentally redesigned by the architect, Norman Foster. The characteristic glass dome was also created during this conversion work.
During the "Verhüllter Reichstag" art project by the artist couple Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the Reichstag building was covered with a huge, silver-colored tarpaulin for two weeks in 1995. The art action caused a worldwide sensation and attracted five million visitors during these two weeks.
Finally, on April 19, 1999, the keys were handed over to then Parliament President, Wolfgang Thierse, and the first plenary session took place. Since then, the German Parliament has been in session here.
In addition to changing exhibitions, the Reichstag Building also houses an important art collection.
Contact & Map
- Address: Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin
- Opening Hours - Dome: Daily from 8 a.m. to midnight; last admission: 10 p.m. Note: Visit by appointment only
- Public Transport: U55 to "Bundestag" or bus 100 to "Berlin Reichstag/Bundestag".
- Website: bundestag.de/en
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