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Renovation starts after delay: Palais Schaumburg in Bonn remains closed

Renovation starts after delay : Palais Schaumburg in Bonn remains closed

The Palais Schaumburg is awaking from its slumber. The renovation is to start this month after a long impasse. The Palais Schaumburg was originally to be renovated between 2015 and 2018.

First, asbestos, which probably dates back to the 1950s when the palace was converted, will be removed. However, it will be some time before events and guided tours take place there again: all the works will not be completed before the end of 2022.

The official residence of Chancellor Angela Merkel in Bonn has been closed since the summer of 2013 because of serious fire safety issues. In 2012, the Federal Building Authority initially estimated the costs of the renovation, which will also include provision of disabled entrances and making the building more energy efficient, at around 6.5 million and after further checks at around 10 million.

However, during implementation planning and a detailed inspection of the building structure, experts came across material containing asbestos and other problems. The cost estimate therefore rose last year to around 16.4 million Euros.

Exhibition to be extended

It was originally planed to renovate the Palais Schaumburg between 2015 and 2018. It had not been used by the Chancellery for nearly a decade because of structural defects. Up to then, the Chancellery’s department for “submissions and petitions; special tasks” had its office there. The department’s Bonn officials hope to be able to work in the historic surroundings again after the renovation.

Then palace will then be opened to the public on special occasions and able to be visited on guided tours organised by the Haus der Geschichte. Konrad Adenauer’s office will be shown in its original state, with his desk and a chest of drawers with photos of the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and France’s President Charles de Gaulle. “It has been agreed with the Chancellery that we will be able to use two or three more rooms for our tours after the renovation,” says Harald Biermann, Communications Director for Haus der Geschichte. The content of the Chancellor’s exhibition will also be expanded. Public interest is undiminished. “We continue to receive many inquiries from people from all over Germany who want to visit the palace.”

From millionaire’s villa to seat of the Chancellor

The Palais Schaumburg is the Chancellor’s official residence in Bonn, which she has seldom visited. The late neo-classical building is from 1858. It was named after Prinz Adolf zu Schaumburg-Lippe, who bought the villa from the industrialist Wilhelm Loeschigk in 1894. Prinz Adolf married Princess Victoria of Prussia the same year and had the villa extended.

The German Reich acquired the palace in 1939 to accommodate part of its military staff.

On 5 November 1949, German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer made the palace his official residence and had it converted. After the new Chancellery building was completed next door in 1976, the palace was mainly used for representative purposes.

(Original text: Andreas Baumann. Translation: kc)