I recently wrote about the first event I attended organised by Wilkommen in Berlin (WIB). After that, I was able to attend a couple more before the diplomatic spouse club went on a break for the summer. The break is over and I’m still not done writing about the events before it. No surprise there. As per usual, my plate has become pretty full. One of the said events was a tour of the Schloss Bellevue – the seat of the German president.
When I told my husband about us getting to visit this particular schloss, he pounced on it as another awesome thing about being the diplo-spouse rather than the diplomat. “You get to do the fun stuff while I deal with the stressful bits,” he laughed. Come to think of it, I get to go on a tour of the palace before he does. Also when he goes, it’s going to be work. But I do the cooking and the laundry at home so I guess we’re even. 😛
I wasn’t feeling well on the day of the tour. However, there was no way in hell I would pass this one up. It was warm and sunny but my body was having a hard time adjusting to the sudden weather change (again).
So I pulled myself out of bed, wore something appropriate, and met with Ms C. She’s the wife of one of my husband’s colleagues and is someone I enjoy spending time with. You rarely meet people who are full of so much positivity these days.💖
We took bus 100 from the Zoologischer Garten station and got off at the Schloss Bellevue stop. In case you’re looking for a way to cut costs while visiting Berlin, this bus line is a way cheaper alternative than buying a ticket for the hop-on, hop-off bus tours. It stops at almost every major tourist site.
Upon arrival, we met some of the lovely WIB ladies. Some, I’ve met at the two previous events I attended with the club. We were later ushered towards the side entrance where we were asked to present our passports or our ausweis (identification card).
We were then brought to a rounded, modern, office building. Mostly hidden from outsiders’ view by lush greenery, I didn’t see it from the outside. Our tour guide for the day, one of the officers working at the office of the Federal President, did say that once the trees lose their leaves, the building does lose its ability to go invisible.
Known to Berliners as ‘The Egg‘, the building actually houses the offices of the people working for the Federal President.
One interesting thing about The Egg is the art inside the building. You have your usual paintings and busts of former presidents but that are some that are mathematical. For example, you’ll see numbers on different areas of the floor that when added, result to the same number per storey.
The palace is truly a beautiful example of neoclassical architecture. From its imposing pillars down to its wings. It was also the first building in Germany to follow this style when it was built in the late 1700s.
Surrounded by sprawling gardens, the palace grounds are such a pleasurable place to walk around in during the year’s warmer months. It was built as a summer residence for Prussia’s Prince Augustus Ferdinand. It was later used by the royal house of Hohenzollern up until the German revolution.
It was later used as a museum then turned into a guesthouse for the Nazi government. Thus, it’s no wonder it was heavily damaged during the bombing towards the end of World War II (WWII).
Inside, the Palace boasts of luxe but not over the top interior. In true German fashion, there is preference for the functional.
Sadly, President Steinmeier wasn’t in that day. Yes, I’m sure you saw his standard on top of the palace in one of the photos. Contrary to popular belief, however, it is still flown even on days when he is not in Berlin. It is only lowered when the President takes up official residence somewhere else. Say, when he’s in the Hammerschmidt Villa in Bonn or if he’s away for a state visit.
Art is spaced throughout the palace. The collection ranges from classic to modern with most of them, loaned by German artists and private collectors.
It’s in the details
Walking through the palace, you’ll truly notice the somewhat minimalist approach of its interiors. It lets you appreciate the tiny details in the furniture as well as the things that are present inside and their purpose. A Steinway and Sons grand piano takes centre stage in one of the rooms and we were told of some of the wonderful performances that were held inside.
And with that, it was time to say goodbye. It was truly an enjoyable and informative afternoon for us. It would be weird to overstay our welcome though. Should you wish to visit the Schloss Bellevue as well, you can find it at this address:
You can also visit their website for more information. It’s in German by default but there’s an option for English on the top right corner. 😉