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January, 2006 - Nr. 1


The Editor
Der Weihnachtsmann,
Paul Bernhard Berghorn
A Classic is Reborn
"Happy New Year"...
Herwig Wandschneider
Love for Vienna...
K-W & Beyond
An Austrian Event
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
'Between the Years'
Neuschwanstein in the Running
Klum touts Sauerkraut
King Kong's Kretschmann
Choirs Back in Style
Free Noon Hour Concert
Orchestra Toronto Event
German Films Honoured
Opera York Fundraiser
New Films in Washington
Goodbye to Beloved Hippo
Castle Belleview Re-opened


President Koehler re-opens Castle Bellevue


  TWIG - German President Horst Koehler this week re-opened his official residence at Berlin’s Castle Bellevue after a one-and-a-half-year restoration effort that has given the building a much-needed update.

Koehler celebrated the re-opening by welcoming hundreds of visitors to an open house at the stately castle in Berlin’s central Tiergarten district. Lines of people standing in the winter cold snaked around the castle fence in anticipation of the event.

Like his predecessor Johannes Rau, Koehler will not actually live in the castle, though, but will instead stay in a villa in the tiny Dahlem district southwest of the city center.

President Roman Herzog was the only German president to have lived in the palace, during his term of office 1994-1998. Herzog purportedly called Bellevue "eine Bruchbode" (a dump) because of the building’s notoriously sub par condition.

That has all changed as Koehler begins conducting official business in a building that now reflects a happy confluence of state-of-the-art technologies and historical grandeur befitting Germany’s figurehead leader.

The restoration team has accomplished something of a sleight of hand in the new castle, radically improving the home’s lighting and heating systems while retaining the historical details that give the castle much of its charm.

New elevators and a new ramp will allow handicapped visitors to enter the palace more easily.

Built in 1785 according to plans by Daniel Boumann for Prince Ferdinand of Prussia, Bellevue is named after the spectacular view the building affords of its surrounding park and the Spree River.

Located on the west end of Tiergarten, the castle’s central location and strikingly elegant early-classical style have long made it an icon of Berlin.

The palace reflects Berlin’s tumultuous 20th-century history, serving alternately as a home to Prussian rulers, an art gallery, a museum for German folk art, a guest house for visitors of the Nazi government, and the presidential offices.

It served as the office of the first president, Theodor Heuss, from 1955 to 1959, but lost importance when the West German government was moved to Bonn.

In 1994, four years after German re-unification, it once again became the primary residence of the president, who also maintains an official villa in Bonn.
Republished with permission from "The Week in Germany"


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