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Few buildings can boast as rich a historical heritage as the Berlin's Reichstag, which has witnessed many of Germany's most momentous events spanning from the time of the German Empire to the present day. Here are the five most important milestones in its history.
The Reichstag's foundation stone was laid on June 29th 1884, but construction was finished ten years later. At the time, the building's eclectic architecture attracted a lot of criticism.
On November 9th 1918, the politician Philipp Scheidemann proclaimed the institution of the Weimar Republic from the Reichstag balcony. The German Empire was no more.
The Reichstag caught fire on February 27th 1933. The causes are still disputed, but Hitler seized the opportunity to consolidate the Nazis' power through the Reichstag Fire Decree.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the demise of the East German state, German reunification was officially celebrated at the Reichstag on October 3rd 1990.
Following extensive reconstruction, the German parliament moved back into the Reichstag on April 19th 1999. Today, the Reichstag is the second most-visited attraction in Germany.
The Reichstag's famous glass dome offers one of the most spectacular views over Berlin. Admission itself is free, but you must register ahead of time on the Reichstag website – don't miss out! The building is open every day from 8am till midnight, but the last entry is at 10pm.
For those who want to delve deeper into the Reichstag's rich past, get all the facts and learn all about the building's place within German history, there are tours for visitors. However, demand is high and places go fast, so make sure you book online well ahead of your visit.
- When to visitEveryday except December 24th. There is sometimes scheduled building work , so check opening hours online.
- What is the price?Free
- Will I need a guide?If you'd like to get a real impression of the scale of the Reichstag's history, yes! There are tours of the Reichstag itself combined with the government quarter in Berlin].
- How to get thereEasily accessible via Berlin's train system. Closest stop is on the S-Bahn: Berlin Brandenburger Tor
- Additional tips
- Make sure you have government-issued ID to show when entering the Reichstag - this is necessary in conjunction with your online booking.
- You must get there 30 minutes or so before your scheduled visit in order to go through security checks.
What People Are Saying About Reichstag
Definitely recommend for anyone visiting Berlin for the first time, or if you've just moved here. Guide was very well-informed, funny and captivating, organisation and bikes were first rate.
Excellent tour with very knowledgeable guides. The right balance of history and humour during the tour. You see all the main sights around the central area, take a good pair of shoes as you will be walking for 3 hrs plus.
We were a party of four only with an excellent guide, Stefan, who - as a resident of the former East Berlin - really went out of his way to explain a lot of the east/west issues to us. He also got us into a sitting of the parliament and, by accident, a close encounter with Angela Merkel leaving the parliament building.
Stephan was incredible. He was the best guide possible. Being from East Berlin he brought a unique perspective to the reunification. He knows the history well, and he made it alive for us. The Reichstag dome is amazing. I dudn't know it is open on the top.
Brigitte, our guide, met us at the Brandenburger Tor. We had initially only wanted to go into the Reichstag glass building, but as we had booked as part of the tour, we went along. We really appreciated the things that she told us. She was very kind, and friendly, and I would actually love to have her as a guide for a private tour.