With its tower that can be seen from far and wide, Berlin’s City Hall – better known as the Rotes Rathaus – is both a tourist attraction and the seat of the city’s government.
Berlin’s City Hall at Alexanderplatz in Mitte is one of the city’s most famous sights. Its nickname Rotes Rathaus comes from the red bricks it was built from. It is the seat of the city’s mayor and government.
The Rotes Rathaus was built between 1861 and 1869 from plans by Hermann Waesemann. The Neo-Renaissance building has several wings with round arches and three courtyards. A 74-metre-high tower completes the red brick ensemble.
From the second world war to the present
The building was severely damaged during the Second World War, but was rebuilt soon afterwards. Following the city’s partition, the Rotes Rathaus served as the town hall for East Berlin, while on the other side of the wall, West Berlin’s senate met at the Rathaus Schöneberg. In 1991, the Rotes Rathaus again became the seat of the united city’s government, and the Mayor of Berlin also has his offices here.
The heraldic hall and other rooms
The Rotes Rathaus contains many impressive rooms which are well worth a visit.
- The heraldic hall (with the coats of arms of all Berlin’s boroughs) is where state visitors are received.
- The great banqueting hall is used for events such as official receptions and ceremonies.
- The most beautiful hall is the nine-metre-high pillared hall with its orange rib-vaulted ceiling and many busts of prominent people. At one time, the library was housed here, and now there are often exhibitions.
- In the corridors of the third floor, there are portraits of all Berlin’s honorary citizens, drawn by Rolf Dübner.
The Rathaus and its exhibitions are open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., but please note that it is sometimes temporarily closed because of day-to-day business or for security reasons. It is best to check in advance by calling (030) 9026-2032. The senate office also organises guided tours of the city hall for groups. For details see the senate office’s website.