People before Government
Since this is, in my opinion, the best view you can ever get of Berlin, the demand is high. I had to register on the German government website about 2-3 weeks in advance. The Reichstag is definitely one of the most overlooked and underrated attraction so if you’re preparing a trip to Berlin, definitely consider registering for a time slot. The best time I’d recommend to shoot for is around 7:00 PM, which was the time I went up. I got a breathtaking view of Berlin as the sun was setting on the whole city. With the cool end-of-summer weather, everything, at least for one moment, seemed very fulfilling. 🙂
From what I’ve learned from my visit, this building has gone through very rough times. A fire in 1933 and then severe bombing during World War II, only to be rebuilt and renovated around the 1990’s. The sleek modern design you see today is the work of the British architecture, Sir Norman Foster. I think the combination of steel and glass not only emanates the new and unified economic powerhouse that we see Germany as today, but it also symbolizes a Democratic ideal that unfortunately is often forgotten in the wild game of politics.
“The Reichstag’s new cupola or “lantern”, has quickly become a Berlin landmark. Within it, two helical ramps take members of the public to a viewing platform high above the plenary chamber, raising them symbolically above the heads of their political representatives. The cupola is both a generative element in the internal workings of the building and a key component in our light and energy saving strategies, communicating externally the themes of lightness, transparency, permeability and public access that underscore the project.”
Sir Norman Foster
Other visitors such as myself had the privilege of walking around the circular pathways that wrap around inside the Dom of the Reichstag. We got a killer view of the city but also a peer inside the debating chambers of the Bundestag parliament. The conical center radiates natural sunlight directly towards the class panels so that it illuminates what’s inside the parliament. This creation of Sir Norman Foster purposely is the literal interpretation of government transparency in my opinion. In addition, the fact that we were standing above the parliament, is the literal symbol of people above government. The bedrock of democracy is ideally a mutual relationship between people and government. When Germans visit the Dom, they can always see their government at work and simultaneously, with just one look up, the German politicians will always be reminded of who they are serving.
There is a cafe/restaurant at the top as well but I didn’t go because it looked very exclusively for people who makes six figure salaries. If you happen to be one of these people and is interested then look up Dachgartenrestaurant Käfer.
Until next time… auf wiedersehen!