Schönhauser Palace

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The Schönhauser Palace is located in the district on Pankow, in the Schlosspark, north of the last stop on the U2 line. The building was originally built in the XVII Century, and was acquired by Frederick I, thus becoming one of the royal palaces.

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The palace had its hayday during hte reign of Frederick II the Great, when it became the residence for his wife – Queen Elisabeth Cristine.

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The building was heavily damaged during the Russian occupation of the Seven Years War, after which the royal pair decided to rebuild it in a Rococco, which gave the palace the form it has today.

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After the death of Frederick II and Elisabeth Cristine the Schönhauser Palace lost in importance, however it remained under the custody of the Hohenzollern family until the end of the German Empire.

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Under the Weimar republic, the palace was opened to the general public and became a quasi art gallery. After the nazi takeover, the building became a seat for the ministry of art.

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Schönhauser Palace was the place where the pieces from the famous “Degenerate Art” exhibition were stored, hidden from the public after the failure of the nazis to convince the people of their ‘destructive influence’.

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After being severely destroyed during World War II, it was very quickly rebuilt and became for a short while an art gallery, but later was quickly transformed into an official residence of East Germany’s first president – Wilhelm Pieck. Amongst some of the most famous guests were Nikita Khrushchev and Ho Chi Minh.

Berlin, Besuch Ho Chi Minh bei Wilhelm Pieck
North Vietnam leader Ho Ci Minh and DDR President Wilhelm Pieck in Palace Schönhausen, 1957. Source: wikipedia.org

Today the building is the headquarters for the Federal Academy for Security Policy (BAKS – Bundesakademie für Sicherheitspolitik).

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