chateau bellevue berlin

Bellevue Palace

A few meters from the Siegessäule (Victory Column), in the Tiergarten Park and on the banks of the Spree, is the Schloss Bellevue or Bellevue Palace. Its name, of French origin, means “beautiful view”, because of the beautiful view that we have on the park and the river Spree.

This palace, relatively close to the German parliament and the chancellery, has been the official address of the President of Germany (not to be confused with the chancellor) since 1994.

History of the palace

The Bellevue Castle was designed by the architect Philipp Daniel Boumann and built in 1786. The palace was erected to be the residence of Ferdinand of Prussia, who was the younger brother of King Friedrich II – The Great. The palace, the first neoclassical style building in Prussia, consists of a central wing and two lateral wings (on the left the “ladies’ wing” and on the right the “Spree wing”).

The palace served as Ferdinand’s residence until his death in 1813. From 1844 to 1865, the palace housed in one of its ground floor wings the first museum of contemporary art in Prussia. From 1865 to 1918, it was again used by the court.

After the First World War, the palace hosted exhibitions. With the coming to power of the Nazis, the palace was transformed into a guest house of the Third Reich. During the Second World War, it was severely damaged and was rebuilt between 1955 and 1959.

After its reconstruction, it was decided that the palace would be the second official residence of the German president, the first being the Villa Hammerschmidt in Bonn, which at that time was the capital of West Germany and where the seat of government was located.

With the reunification and the transfer of the government to Berlin, the palace became the first official residence in 1994 and underwent a major renovation between 2004 and 2005.

The official residence does not mean that the president lives there – the only one who has used the palace as a private residence is Roman Herzog. Since Johannes Rau, the presidents have lived in a mansion in the Dahlem district.

During the renovation of 2004/2005, the part that was used as a private residence was transformed into offices. The president works and receives official visits in the palace.

In addition to the president’s office and his audience hall, the palace has several other rooms and halls that are used for dinners and banquets, gala receptions, concerts and official ceremonies.

The Bellevue Castle is generally not open to visitors, with the exception of the “Tag der offenen Tür” or open House day, which are occasions when it is possible to visit places normally closed to the general public, such as the Chancellery building or the Bellevue Castle. The photos of the palace rooms that are presented here were taken on one of these occasions.

Even though it is not open to the public, Bellevue Castle is a tourist attraction in Berlin – anyone passing by will inevitably stop to take a photo in front of this beautiful and elegant palace.

How to get there

Address: Spreeweg 1 – Tiergarten, 10557 Berlin

S-Bahn: Lines S5, S7, S75, Bellevue station
Bus: Lines 100 and 187, Schloss Bellevue stop