Yesterday the President of Germany, Joachim Gauck, laid the foundation stone for the royal palace in Berlin, which is to be rebuilt. The palace, which was the official residence of the electors of Brandenburg, kings of Prussia and German emperors until 1918, was begun in 1443, but was heavily rebuilt in subsequent centuries. Like most of Berlin, it was damaged during World War II, and the German Democratic Republic eventually had it demolished in 1950 and replaced with the Palace of the Republic.
Following the reunification of Germany in 1990 several voices spoke out in favour of reconstructing the former royal palace, and after much debate the Palace of the Republic was demolished in 2006-2008. In 2007 Parliament decided that the royal palace should be rebuilt.
However, it is only the exterior, or rather three of the façades, which will be rebuilt, while the fourt façade and the interior will be in a modern architectural style. The palace, whose official name will be the Humboldt Forum, will exhibit non-European artefacts from the collections of the Berlin museums.
The reconstruction is scheduled to be completed by 2019 and to cost 590 million euro.