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A Large impressive building which gives tours up into the impressive glass dome at its peak. Please note: These do however need to be booked in advance.
It housed the main parliament in the run up to 1933 (before the 3rd Reich) of the Weimer republic.
- Historical Travel
Visit the glass ball (and book ahead!)
We heard this place is free entrace, so we thought one can just walk in. No way! When we went here, it was once again a loooooong line of people waiting to get the ticket. Yes, the free ticket.
We asked the staff, and they said it might be 3 hours to get in.
So we once again asked if we can book onlibe, and yes. We could, but the place was fully booked online for about 6 to 7 days usually. Luckily we had 7 days left, and had luck. We did get the tickest for our last day.
When we arrived at the day, and went to short line with online tickets (once again at smart phone, not printed) we noticed people takin out their ID:s! We had read the page carefully (or so we thought), but we didn´t see any info about needing to take the ID with us also with pre booked ticket! I allmost paniced, since I really wanted to go there, but it was our last day. Luckily we got a friendly man on desk. He asked if my husband has ID. He had Finnish drivers licence. Then he asked if I would have at least credit card. Luckily I did, even if I don´t usually take it with me if I´m not sure to need it. It was good I had took it now, and they did take me in then. I just needed to ask some questions and tell my birthday and so on. But you should have your ID!
So we got in. The place was nice. First we went by lift to the roof, and then we walked up to the glass ball. It was looking nice, and we liked it. But I´m glad we didn´t stand on line for 3 hours!
There was a cafe at the roof, but we didn´t visit it. At the top of the "ball" there was no cafe or bar.
- Budget Travel
The Reichstag Building
The Reichstag building was first opened in 1894 and was used as the parliament of the unified Germany. It was set on fire a couple of months after the Nazis came to power, bombed during WW2, fought over by the Soviets and left a ruin until the 1960’s. It was rebuilt minus the dome. When the country was reunited it was decided the new capital would once again be Berlin and the building was given a make over with the new glass dome. The building is worth a visit with good views from the roof and walking up the inside of the dome. This is a popular tourist spot and the Reichstag Building is open between 0800 & midnight. A restaurant is also located in the dome. You now have to register online at least 2 days before an intended visit (there are sometimes visits available with 2 hours notice via the services centre which is close to the building), telephone registration is not allowed. This can be done via the link below which also includes further information about visiting.
- Historical Travel
The problem with writing a review on somewhere as famous as The Reichstag is that many other people have already done it, but things change and different people write different things and so I’m adding my experience to the melting pot in the hope that it might still be useful to somebody.
The iconic Reichstag building has helped the German Bundestag become the most visited parliament in the world, partly because of its architecture, partly because of its accessibility, but mainly because of its history.
Kaiser Wilhelm II laid the final stone of this neoclassical building in 1894 and it has continued to play a pivotal role in German history ever since. Initially the parliament was really that in name only and the Kaiser was the man who dictated the terms, but in November 1918 Phillip Scheidemann announced from a window here at the Reichstag that the country was now to become a republic and the Weimar Republic was formed.
The republic was just fourteen years old when the Nazis came to power and the dubious Reichstag fire of 1933 helped change the course of history. The events that followed are obviously well documented elsewhere but as the 2nd World War came to its final moments one of the most memorable images of the conflict show the victorious Russian army raising the Soviet flag on top of the Reichstag. Even today it’s still possible to see bullet holes if you care to look for them.
It took another 25 years for the building to be restored but it was when the wall came down that it was decided to bring the Reichstag back in from the cold, so to speak, and make it the new parliament for a united Germany.
€300m were spent bringing the building into the modern world, with the cupola designed by Sir Norman Foster taking centre stage.
To visit the cupola and roof terrace you have to register in advance which can be done at the ticket office nearby, but you can do it online before you even get to Berlin.
Being a parliament building there are so many anomalies about when you can and can’t visit that its much better to check out their website than for me to try and explain it all. Having said that the good news is that the cupola is open to visitors from 08.00 until midnight most of the time (22.00 last entry).
There are also guided tours of the other working parts of the Reichstag which, from what I can see of it, will benefit mostly German or German speaking people, unless there’s a group of you.
Politics and parliaments may not be to everyone’s taste, but The Reichstag has had more than 34 million visitors since the German parliament has relocated from Bonn - and if you don’t add to the numbers when you’re in Berlin then you will have undoubtedly missed one of the most influential and important buildings in German history. Even if you haven’t the time to go inside just come here.
- Historical Travel
Parliament (Reichtag) is one of the most impressive building in Berlin. It was constructed in 1871. In 1933 it is known for a "famous" fire, when probably it was fired by Nazis and made them as one of the most popular party in Germany.
After Second World War it was badly damaged, later was not used by purpose, as the parliament was moved to Boon. Only in 1990 it was remodeled by Norman Foster with its famous solution of cupola. It is probably the most interesting thing for this building. I needed a registration to get there, as everyone guess through security check. Visiting copula is a must in Berlin I think.
In the sixties the building was already restored but only after the reunification of Germany was thoroughly taken to task. The interior was to be fully taken on the shovel though there remained preserved historic details. So you can see graffiti in Russian with lyrics like "Hitler death" and "Sergei and Yuri were here." It was further discovered an underground passage between the Reichstag and the president palace. Suspected that through that corridor Nazis unseen in the building could come to make the fire of 1933 to establish
During the renovation modern elements mounted that combine surprisingly well with the old building the big draw is the new dome on the roof the original Reichstag had a dome, but the new one is much larger from this dome has a magnificent view over Berlin. There are however long queues for the Reichstag, especially in summer it is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the city
"My most intimate experience of the building previous to this, was in Call of Duty's excellent recreation of the Soviet's Storming of the Reichstag, and seeing it in all its restored glory gave me a momentary flashback. Sitting in the enormous Tiergarten, taking a well earned rest from Hanno's concrete jungle safari, my eyes glazed over as I remembered charging bravely through the building's doors, courageously fending off a spirited German defence, before climbing to the roof to heroically plant the Soviet flag for all the world to see. This imagery contrasted markedly from the tranquil scene we experienced, lazing in the unusually warm October sun, almost completely alone in the entire grounds in front of the building. I thought this was quite amazing for such an important national treasure." - from my travelogue
Just on the western side of the Brandenburg Gate is the Reichstag, or Bundestag as it is now officially know. Built in 1894 as the parliament for the German republic, the Reichstag is once again the seat of government for a unified Germany, after the government of the country was split between Bonn and East Berlin for four decades. The building is set in the enormous and peaceful grounds of the Tiergarten (animal garden), wedged right up against what used to be the Berlin wall.
The Reichstag has had a colorful and eventful, if relatively short, history. Most people will have heard of the Burning of the Reichstag, the event of 1933 that Hitler used as a pretext for seizing power. The building was again the stage of huge drama, when 12 years later the Soviets beat the British and Americans to the prize, and finished off the German resistance in the Storming of the Reichstag. After re-unification, the building was subject to a $11 billion refurbishment, by British architect Sir Norman Foster, who included the controversial glass dome on the roof, which has since proved extremely popular.
If you plan to visit the Dome, make sure your information is up todate. Some guide books information is not. Admission is free but you must apply online or by post. I went on line from my home country about 3 weeks before travel, Name is required along with passport number and email address, date and time needed. You will recieve email with vacant times for you to choose, you pick the time and them recieve final email to print out.You are advised to turn up 15 minutes before appointment. On checking in your invite and passport are checked,then you go through security like at an airport. From these one storey buildings you walk to main building for the lift to top. To find out more put in computer search Reichstag Dome Visit. Well worth this trouble. This was April 2013
The German parliament, the Bundestag, has been here since 1999. Sir Norman Foster supervised the renovation of the building but he also designed the glass dome that sits atop the Reichstag.
A trip to the top of the Reichstag and dome is a highlight and best of all it is free. The downside is that everybody wants to go up there so the queues are hopeless long. However, the Reichstag is open from 8am until midnight with the last entry at 10pm. Trust me - get up and get there for when it opens - we did and we were the the second group of people to go in.... and it was so worth the effort. (once the queue gets down the steps you are looking at probably a 90 minute wait.
The dome structure is magnificent and there is a very nice restaurant up there. It's not obvious - you could walk past it... and a lot of people did. We went in for morning coffees and it was elegant and empty. Unforunately we had already had our breakfast.... it would have been wonderful to have reserved a table and had our breakfast there... definitely will do next time... and you can have a champagne breakfast there if you really want to splash out.
From the Reichstag you have superb views over Berlin (and you get a leaflet to explain the Berlin panorama which is a useful fold out leaflet to have in your hand.
The number 100 bus will drop you off here.
NB: You can no longer walk up the steps and into the building...
You HAVE to have a ticket - it is still free!
You can pre-book Deutscher Bundestag To do this you will need to choose a date and select a specific time. You will need to provide details about all the visitors including passport number(s). You will need to print the letter of confirmation and take it with all passports to the security check (outside the Reichstag). You will go through security not dissimilar to that at the airport (this is after all government!)
If you do not pre-book you will need to walk a little further down the road to the ticket office. You should note that they only allow a certain number of people per visiting slot so it is wise to get there early and organise your time in advance!
You should be aware that the top of the dome is open and thus the inner dome is exposed to the elements. In bad weather the sloped walkways to the top get slippery and have to be closed. At this time you will be allowed into the dome at the bottom. In the winter it is bitterly cold as you are very high up. In bad weather areas of the rooftop may get closed for health and safety reasons.
- Historical Travel
German parliament building
This iconic building on Platz der Republik is the meeting place of the German parliament (Bundestag). The building was originally constructed by Paul Wallot in 1884-94. A great fire in 1933 destroyed the building and it is only since 1994 that work was undertaken to return it to its former glory. The masterstroke of employing British architect Sir Norman Foster has resulted in a stunning transformation. The current building features a huge glass dome from where visitors can look out over the nearby Tiergarten from a viewing gallery. The building's facade is emblazoned with the motto: 'Dem Deutscher Volke' (translation: For the German People).
I didn't visit the dome inside the building on this occasion. Those who wish to do so should be aware that you should register to visit online at the website below prior to your visit. If you turn up on the day without registering, you might not be allowed entry as the roof terrace and dome get very busy with visitors from all over the world. The building is free to enter but only with prior registration.
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
When the Queues do not Move...
Update July 2012
When I was in Berlin the last time you could still queue (for several hours LOL) to get into the Reichstag and did not need a reservation. Looking at their website
now it says that you need to book at least two hours in advance and not more than two months in advance.
There is an online booking form:
https://visite.bundestag.de/BAPWeb/pages/createBookingRequest.jsf (in German)
https://visite.bundestag.de/BAPWeb/pages/createBookingRequest.jsf?lang=en (in English)
For visiting the dome only you need to tick the last box. On the next page you have to tell them the number of people visiting, type in the security code, then tick date and time, finally your personal data.
If you would like to visit the dome but have not booked in advance, you can register at a service centre run by the Visitors’ Service near the Reichstag building, next to the Berlin Pavilion on the south side of Scheidemannstraße. If free places are available, you will be issued a booking confirmation. This, however, must be issued a minimum of two hours before the time of your visit. You can also register to visit the dome in the following two days. The service centre does not accept bookings for visits more than two days in advance.
To book your visit to the dome, you will need to provide the following information: your last name, first name and date of birth. The booking confirmation is issued to you personally and is non-transferable. You will be asked for proof of identity both upon registration and at the main entrance for visitors.
The service centre is open from 8am to 8pm daily.
Our experience before booking was required:
As mentioned in my main tip about Reichstag, the queues there can be hopeless and discouraging. Although the glass dome was closed in the week when we were in Berlin, a lot of people were queueing as you could still get up to the café, and you could still attend your booked guided tours of Reichstag. We were willing to wait, and get at least up to the café and have a look from there – especially as we had arrived early, and a sign told us that we would not have to wait longer than 30 minutes from the point where we were standing. And 30 minutes on a holiday is really nothing.
But this queue did not move more than 10 or 20 metres within 20 minutes, school groups were kind of camping on the staircase in front of the entrance. They would surely have booked a tour and had to wait endlessly. It looked like a huge waste of time, and so we decided not to wait any longer, and explore the rest of Berlin. Although I would have loved to look right over Brandenburger Tor, I think it was a good decision as we would not have seen all the wonderful places we finally visited. Perhaps I would not even have been in Nikolaiviertel.
Thank you to other VT members who have posted photos of their views from the top of Reichstag, so we could get an impression without queueing ;-)
On photo 2 you can recognise the viewing platform inside the glass dome very well. The picture was taken from between the Holocaust Memorial and Bundesrat, on the way to Potsdamer Platz.
- Historical Travel
Site of the Bundestag (German Parliament)
Everybody runs to the Reichstag when visiting Berlin. Of course not because anybody in the world would appreciate the attitude of politicians. No - everybody wants to get up to the crystal cupola of Germany’s Parliamentary Building which itself is spectacular and secondly, offers great views.
So also we headed there first thing in the morning, to avoid the endless queues. In fact, the queue was not very long – but it did not move. And then we discovered a sign telling us that the dome was closed for maintenance the whole week. Bugger! Depite this disappointment we would have visited Parliament – if the queue had moved. So we left – although we were too early for the Raum der Stille at Brandenburg Gate, too early for the museum at the Holocaust Memorial, and nearly too early for the Sony Centre LOL
As Reichstag is just some steps from Brandenburger Tor, and surrounded by other important government buildings like the Federal Chancellery (Kanzleramt), such an inconvenience does not matter. You can immediately change your plans, and as the new U-Bahn station is in service in the meantime, you can also quickly get to other quarters of the city.
The Reichstag building itself has an atmosphere of grandeur, with its stately neo-classical shell and the lots of columns. The British architect Sir Norman Foster created the spectacular building within those historic walls. The most striking feature is, as already mentioned, the massive glass dome above the plenary hall. And if it is open… you can take one of the elevators to the rooftop viewing terrace, and walk inside the mirror-clad cupola on a spiralling ramp into the tip of the dome. On the level of the viewing terrace there is a café from where you already have a nice view.
The elevators operate from 8am until midnight – but the last admission is at 10pm.
If you are at Reichstag you might as well visit the Wall Victims Memorial, south of Reichstag, at the start of Scheidemannstraße. It reminds of the 191 people who died trying to climb to freedom over the Wall.
Update March 2012 - and update of the update in July 2012
Since my last visit the rules have changed. Now bookings are required for visiting the Reichstag, even if you only want to visit the dome. For a while this had to be made no later than two working days before your visit - but lately it has changed again to at least TWO HOURS before the visit.
The reason for the need to book is the ongoing terrorist threats to blow up the Reichstag dome.
Details in my tip about the queues in front of Reichstag: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/1b1d7a/
- Historical Travel
The Reichstag was built by Paul Wallot after the Unification of Germany in 1871. The unique building in neo-classical style had to be the venue for meeting of the German imperial parliament. In 1933 a fire burnt a large part of the Reichstag, the communists were blame for that. At the end of WWII the building was heavily bombed, the dome was completely destroyed.
You can enter the building and to watch the work of the Parliament from above, in the majestic dome, built after 1990. There is always a long line otside the entrance, that's why I preferred not to go there.
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
The Reichstag is the seat of government these days in Berlin, but it has had an extremely colourful history since it was built back in the 19th century. Without a doubt, the most famous occupants of the Reichstag would have to be Hitler and his Nazi Party. The building was understandably heavily bombed by the Allies in the final stages of WWII and stood idle for quite some time before it was restored and put to good use once more.
The glass dome on top was added quite some time after the building was originally built and is now a famous landmark in Berlin. There is even a spiral staircase within the dome for visitors to climb to the top. All the info you could possibly need about the Reichstag can be found here:
- Historical Travel
A Little Bit of History
From the history lessons at highschool I remember that after World War I Philipp Scheidemann proclaimed the German Republic from one of the Reichstag windows – between two spoonfuls of soup, as our teacher told us… (He was famous for his authentic reports – as if he had attended all important events of the world… He made us smile – but as you see, it has helped to remember the facts…)
Then there was the Reichstag fire in the night of 27 to 28 February 1933 which destroyed large sections of the building, and Hitler blamed the communists. Finally Soviet bombs gave it the rest in 1945. Restoration took from 1961 to 1972. The glass dome was added in the mid 1990’s.
At midnight on 2 October 1990 Germany’s reunification was enacted at this historic place. (3 October has become the new national holiday in Germany. Until 1990 it was on 17 June, reminding of the national uprising in GDR on this day in 1953. You might have noticed that the westward alley from Brandenburger Tor is named Straße des 17. Juni.)
In 1995 the artist Christo and his wife, Jeanne-Claude, wrapped the edifice in fabric for two weeks.
The German Parliament – which had been located in the small town of Bonn on the Rhine during the separation - is sitting there since 1999. Before this move the building had hosted an exhibition of German history which has been relocated to the German Dome at Gendarmenmarkt.
The Reichstag, designed by Paul Wallot, was built from 1884 to 1894.
Free guided tours of the Reichstag are available but you have to make a booking.
This is not possible by telephone anymore. The visitor centre (Besucherdienst Deutscher Bundestag) will give you only information about closures of the dome by phone (030) 22 73 21 52 and 22 73 59 08.
Bookings by Fax, mail or via the online booking form.
Info for visits when Parliament is sitting: http://www.bundestag.de/htdocs_e/visits/besgrupp/plen.html
Info for guided tours when Parliament is not sitting:
Online registration form:
Foreign language tours are available for groups of more than six people. Maximum 25 people.
- Historical Travel
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