Blog Post October 2018 by Wendy Dobing

Posted on October 01, 2018 at 10:41 AM

  The German Parliament

Recently visiting Germany, starting in Berlin,I had the (unexpected) opportunity to visit an 'Open House' event hosted by the German Parliament in Berlin. Wandering around the parliamentary buildings on the outside, I noticed a window sticker advertising this amazing adventure. So off I went to investigate the wonders of several buildings including the renowned Reichstag building.

I was able to first visit Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus, the inside of which housed an interesting and dramatic art installation featuring segments of the Berlin Wall, painted with numbers of the dead for each year it existed. The exterior architecture features a footbridge going over Berlin's Spree River and the unusual circular features on the facade of the building. The connecting bridge is an acknowledgement and tribute to east and west reunifying, the circular feature of the façade nicely suggesting the cycle of completeness. Another circular feature could be found in the parliamentary library, an arrangement of blue neon words on the domed ceiling originally coined by Hannah Arendt:

Freiheit ist denkbar als Möglichkeit des Handels unter Gleichen / Gleichheit ist denkbar als Möglichkeit des Handels für die Freiheit.

This roughly translates in english as: Freedom is conceivable as a possibility of trade among equals / equality is conceivable as a possibility of trade for freedom.

The connecting bridge takes you to Paul-Löbe-Haus which is a vast building of many offices and a large void going through the centre of the building. A symmetrical modern looking network of contrasting storeys of lighting, stairs and steel suggests a modern and dynamic outlook towards democracy. From Paul-Löbe-Haus there is an ingeniously lit, curving underground tunnel leading to the main building of the Reichstag. Aside from the amazing building that this is, on the ground floor you can read about the history of the german parliament, before Hitler's time and long after.

Many of Germany's political parties had exhibit stands within Paul-Löbe-Haus and also on the top floor of the Reichstag. There was also a lot of information available to those interested in the European Parliament and Germany's work within it.