Reichstag or Bundestag?
February 24, 2012 § 7 Comments
To be honest, I don’t know what’s the difference between the two words. All I know is both of them means that I can see the largest glass dome and the German parliament… and I know I can’t pronounce the word “Reichstag” correctly in German. So, I made an online reservation to get on a tour inside, as it was the only possible way to get inside the building. After a quick security check, a group of visitors and I were taken inside the building and waited for our tour guide to show up. Sad news, a beautiful lady informed us that the English guide had called in sick so our tour was canceled. Seriously? The Parliament building only had ONE person who can guide in English, who can just skipped work for a bunch of scheduled visits? Thankfully, the boss of that lady came over and decided to step in and gave us a tour by himself. Phew! So we followed this old man with heavy German accent, and our tour began 🙂
This was a place that had the old and new co-existing next to each other. We first went to a historic looking corridor with some old photos and construction plans for the building. Curiously, there were some bullets hole and graffiti around. They were left by the Soviet Red Army in 1945. It was a nice decision that they didn’t clean these part of history up during the reconstruction in 1990s.
There were some art installation around. I particularly admire the one at the basement which was a wall of tin boxes. Every one of them had a name and a year written on, representing every single member who had been elected into office democratically. Even Hitler had his tin box there. However there was one tin box that has no names and years on, it was simply blacked out. It represented the year during the WW2 when no one was elected democratically. Very thoughtful and powerful, this was a kind of art that touched my hear. Moreover, this piece of art would keep on building up, it was an art in progress. I looked at this piece as an art more than politics. As the artist said, all this people built up the parliament, they were the reason of what we have today. This installation was like having all these people supporting the Bundestag from the bottom, like a foundation. It just fitted in so appropriately.
We then moved on to see some meeting chambers: some are bigger and more modern, some are smaller but a bit more historical looking. I wonder if people get envious of the other party got a bigger room or a more modern interior. Of course also stopped by the plenary with full of purple chair and full of natural light. It just made people feel good when being inside it. Very open and very airy. It was a different design philosophy than the Dutch parliament in the Hague, which I visited few years back.
After the tour was done, we thanked out guide and went out to the dome and had a nice view of the city. However, I think the best view was the glass dome itself. It was so much fun to capture different pattern and composition with the glass and the screen!
For more information about the art inside the Reichstag, check this video out:
German Bundestag: Art in the Reichstag Building