1999: German government returns to Berlin, uses old GDR HQ

The building, known in German as ‘Staatsratsgebäude’ is a uniquely beautiful structure, just a few blocks from Alexanderplatz.

IT was on this day in 1999 that government in Germany returned to Berlin when Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder began his work at the old GDR State Building, which was temporarily used till new Chancellery was completed.

The building, known in German as ‘Staatsratsgebäude’ is a uniquely beautiful structure, just a few blocks from Alexanderplatz.

It was built between 1962 – 1964 as the seat of the state council of the GDR, on what was then known as Marx-Engels-Platz.

It was from here that the funeral of Walter Ulbricht commenced in 1973. Erich Honecker used the building frequently, especially for grand occasions and banquets.

During the GDR’s existence, the building was also used for awards ceremonies and diplomatic receptions, and was the first newly erected government building in Berlin after the Second World War.

A unique feature of the building is the so-called “Karl Liebknecht” frontage, where the famed communist had proclaimed the “Socialist Republic” on November 9, 1918. That remaining part of the Schloss is integrated into the facade at the front entrance.