Since 1994, Bellevue Palace also known as “Schloss Bellevue” in German has been the official residence of the federal president. Before 1994, the president’s official residence was at Villa Hammerschmidt in Bonn. The Bellevue Palace is located along the banks of the Spree River in Tiergarten district in Berlin. Bellevue is a French word for “Beautiful view,” which is derived from the scenic view over the Spree’s river course.
History Of Bellevue Palace
The palace was constructed between 1785 and 1787 as a private residence for the youngest brother of Frederick the Great, known as prince August Ferdinand of Prussia. Michael Philipp Baumann was the architect who built the palace, and he blended the neoclassical and baroque elements. Some of the guests of Prince Ferdinand included Napoleon, Friedrich Schiller, Alexander von Humboldt, and Wilheim. For several years the palace remained the property of the family and served as a guest house and a residence. Between 1888 and 1918 the palace was a School under Emperor Wilhelm II, who was the last Kaiser of Germany.
The palace remained a private property after the First World War, but in 1928 the state of Prussia acquired the palace from the family of Hohenzollern, and the main part of the building was used for an art exhibition of Grand Berlin. As from 1935, the palace was a museum of the German folk history, and in 1938 the palace was converted into a Reich guest house, and several modifications made to suit the new use. The main entrance was transferred to the central axis of the building, and a much bigger new staircase was constructed.
The palace was almost destroyed in 1941 when it was heavily bombed. After the war, the park surrounding the palace was divided and converted into vegetable gardens, and as of 1959, the palace had been modified extensively to serve as the residence of the federal president. Several changes were made so that the Palace could accommodate large functions. The central entrance was maintained while on the first floor, a larger dining room was created. On the facade, the original works of Baumann were maintained.
The Official Residence Of The President
The palace was converted as the official residence of the federal president in 1994 moving it from Bonn to Berlin, and the number of functions in the palace increased significantly. As a result, major renovations were carried out in the palace. More recently in 2004 and 2005 renovations were also made in the palace.
Presidential Standard Flag
The presidential standard is always flown at the palace even on days when the president is not within Berlin. The flag is only lowered when the president’s official residence is elsewhere, for instance in the case of a state visit when the standard flag is raised over his temporary overseas residence or on occasions when he uses the 2nd residence in Bonn at Villa Hammerschmidt. When the president is on vacation, the Bellevue Palace remains as the official residence, and the Standard flag is raised over the Palace.