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.
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/
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.
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:
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.
The Reichstag (German: Reichstagsgebäude), the current German parliament building in the capital Berlin at the Platz der Republik. The name is sometimes abbreviated to Reichstag (German: Reichstag). Resided here until 1933, a predecessor of the current parliament (Bundestag), the Reichstag. The building was completed in 1894. The building has both the demise of the empire at the end of the 19th and early 20th century witnessed, as the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich.
Since our last visit to Berlin the Reichstag building had acquired its glistening new dome, the work of Norman Foster. As an admirer of his work, and a fan of “new meets old” architecture, I was keen to tour the dome and to see what are reputed to be the great views from within. Unfortunately the information that new restrictions are in place, meaning that only pre-booked visits are allowed, was buried rather deeply in the official website, and so when we turned up (early in the morning as advised by our guidebook and other VTers) we found that we were unable to go in. And by the time we returned to our hotel that evening and went online to book, the earliest slot we could have got was for the morning of our departure. So, no tour of the Reichstag dome on this occasion – one of several reasons to go back to Berlin sooner rather than later!
The Reichstag was built in the 1880s to house the German parliament, which it did until 1933 when it was damaged by fire. It was further damaged by bombing raids during the Second World War and afterwards it remained unused; the German Democratic Republic was governed from Berlin, but not from the Reichstag which lay in the West, but from the Palace of the Republic, while the Federal Republic of Germany was governed from the Bundeshaus in Bonn. The building remained in ruins until the 1960s when the government of the West decided to restore it, despite no longer using it as a parliament building. When we first saw it, in 1985, it was in this restored condition, and I didn’t realise at the time that it was missing its original domed roof or cupola.
After reunification it was decided that the seat of government for the newly restored single Germany should be Berlin, despite fierce opposition from Bonn. A further reconstruction was planned and Norman Foster won the contract, with his design eventually adding the striking glass dome as a replacement for the original cupola.
Last week i did a trip to Berlin!
I planned my trip with virutaltourist. But sadly i figured out, that the Reichstag is closed for public since October 2010, and there was no tip on this page.
The police there told me that if you wanna go inside you have to fill out an online formular at:
Do this at least 2 weeks before you are going to visit Berlin.
A busdriver told me, that you also have the chance to book a table at the restaurant "käfer" (it´s a restaurant inside the reichstag), but i have no idea if it´s possible to have access to the other parts of Reichstag as well, or just to the restaurant itself.
The best way is to fill out the online formular!
Enjoy your trip
I visited the Reichstag only about a week after it was wrapped by Christo and Jeanne Claude in 1995.
The building has had an interesting history. it was built between 1884–94 by Paul Wallot to house the parliament of the newly-founded German state.
On February 27, 1933 a fire partly destroyed the Reichstag. The exact cause has never been identified. However, the fire was used by Hitler to pass the Enabling Act which gave him dictatorial power and allowed the Nazis to justify their persecution of political opponents.
During WWII, the building was devastated from Allied bombings. During the Cold War the building was located in West Berlin. The capital had moved to Bonn and to ease tensions the government chose not to occupy the building. Rebuilding took place between 1961–72 under the supervision of Paul Baumgartner. The dome was not rebuilt and most of the interior decoration and archetecture was lost.
With the reunification of Germany the captial moved back to Berlin. The Reichstag was reconstructed and extended by the Architect Sir Norman Forster to prepare it for use. A glass dome was added to the top. In 1999 the government of Germany moved back to Berlin and the German Bundestag now sits there.
19th April 1999 heralded the first meeting of the Bundestag in it's new Berlin home... 66 years after the Reichstag was burned to the ground. From the river you get one of the best views of the Norman Foster cupola that has attracted international attention.
The cupola offers a wonderful panorama across the city and houses as somewhat low-tech and home-made photographic exhibition of the history of the building - although downbeat in presentation it is well worth a look. Otherwise the sheer elegance of the ascent along wide ramps and the kaleidoscopic reflections on the central mirrors are really the must see.
The roof garden restaurant next to the dome looks out over Pariser Platz, and is open daily from 09.00 hrs to 24.00 hrs. Tables can be reserved by telephone on +49 (0)30 -22 62 99 33 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After seeing Branderburg Gate I walked to nearby famous Reichstag building which is the seat of the German Bundestag or federal government.
The rectangular building was quite huge but it didn't look very special from the outside in my opinion. The most insteresting were some its architectural details and its rebuilt, partly old, partly new and modern interior with famous or unfamous dome on the top.
This lovely statue - street-lamp on my picture stood by the eastern facade of the Reichstag. On its top there was the goddess of... hmm... I skipped that lesson at school, I see :-).
She kept gold laurel wreaths in both hands. E-mail me please if you know her. Was she the Goddess of Victory ?