Diplomacy History What about the empty embassies in Bad Godesberg?

Bad Godesberg · Some former embassies in Bad Godesberg are still empty. There is often talk of a planned sale of the properties, elsewhere there are no prospects. An inventory.

 The former Syrian embassy at Hochkreuz.

The former Syrian embassy at Hochkreuz.

Foto: Axel Vogel

Only very slowly is the number of former embassies in Bad Godesberg, which have now been empty for over twenty years, decreasing. Last year, the former embassy of Yugoslavia in Mehlemer Schlossallee was demolished and probably this year, the former embassy of Indonesia in Friesdorf's Bernkasteler Straße will open as a hotel after reconstruction and renovation. Otherwise, the marketing of the eleven remaining diplomatic legacies is at a standstill. "Unfortunately, the City of Bonn cannot provide any updates on this either; we are not aware of any new developments," says Andrea Schulte from the city's press office.

Wieland Münch, managing director of Limbach Immobilien in Bonn, who has been involved in the sale of former embassy buildings for many years, also has no news to contribute. Admittedly, Münch says, it is often more difficult and complex to reach a result with former embassy properties. However, the real estate expert also warns not to point the finger at the respective countries: "Even here, it is not uncommon for cities, states or the federal government to let their properties fall into disrepair," Münch says.

The problems of selling former embassies are complex, as the examples of Syria and Hungary show. Sometimes it's years of back and forth between the responsibilities of different authorities, as in the case of Hungary. Or current political developments - such as the war in Syria, combined with corresponding EU sanctions - greatly delay a possible sale of the ex-embassy in the Rheinaue. Two cases, by the way, where the buyers have apparently already been determined. But nothing is happening.


22 years after the Berlin move, there are still nine countries responsible for a former embassy property in Bad Godesberg that remains empty to this day: in the case of Iran and South Africa, there are even two properties each whose future remains uncertain: Iran's embassy on the B9 (Godesberger Allee 133) is probably the best known vacant property because of its prominent location on the former "diplomatic race track". The former Iranian embassy residence in Muffendorf (Elfstraße 40) also continues to face an uncertain future. In the case of South Africa, it is the ex-embassy in Plittersdorf (Auf der Hostert 3) as well as the former residence at Rüdigerstraße 20 in Mehlem. The other countries: Algeria (Rheinallee 23-24), Hungary (Turmstraße 30-34), Cameroon (Plittersdorfer Straße 115), Nepal (Im Hag 15), Nigeria (Vulkanstraße 69), Somalia (Hohenzollernstraße 12) and Syria (Andreas Hermes-Straße 5).


Rheinallee 23-24, villa district

At the end of 2013, the Algerians closed the doors of their consulate general on Rheinallee. After moving to Berlin, the North Africans had turned their former embassy into a consulate general. The two buildings have been empty since the consulate moved to Frankfurt am Main in 2014 and are to be sold.


Godesberger Allee 133 (B9), Friesdorf

In 1975, the Iranians had acquired the striking six-storey office building on the "diplomatic race track" for five million Deutschmarks from the Westphalia-Lippe Chamber of Dentists in order to employ around 100 people there. Since then, the building has been a daily eye-catcher for many thousands of car and train drivers thanks to the oriental decorations on the façade. Officially, it has been for sale for many years.

The former residence at Elfstraße 40 in Muffendorf has also been empty since the move and is probably for sale. This is a very attractive property on the corner of Elliger Höhe. The fence extends down to Klosterbergstraße. An empty flagpole and the wonderful view of the Siebengebirge and Petersberg are reminders of earlier times as an embassy residence.


Residence, Plittersdorfer Strasse 115 (corner of Yorckstrasse)

From 1969 to 2009, this pretty villa served as the embassy residence of Cameroon. The official coat of arms of the African country can still be seen on the locked entrance gate.


Im Hag 15, Mehlem

The two buildings (chancellery and residence) on the large property are in a desolate condition and have been affected by the ravages of time. The former swimming pool in the garden is almost completely overgrown and hardly recognisable, now more like a pond or pool. Nepal has officially wanted to sell for years, but nothing is happening.


Residence, Vulkanstraße 69, Mehlem

The Nigerians once treated themselves to a magnificent residence. On the way to the Rodderberg, the Africans built their house with a magnificent view of the Siebengebirge and Petersberg, including a swimming pool.


Hohenzollernstrasse 12, Villa Quarter

In the middle of the villa quarter, the former Somali embassy is falling into disrepair. The oval enamel sign on the house wall still reminds us of the African diplomats who moved in here in 1978. The villa has served as an embassy building several times, before Somalia it was Iraq and Kenya. Partly as a result of unclear power relations in the country, the house has been empty since 2000.

South Africa

Auf der Hostert 3, Plittersdorf

A special feature of the building is its brown aluminium façade. The magnificent location on the Rhine right next to the Schaumburger Hof was also enjoyed by South African President Nelson Mandela during his state visit to Bonn in 1996. South Africa's former residence, Rüdigerstraße 20 in Mehlem, is also in a prime location. Concrete current plans for both houses are not known.


Andreas-Hermes-Strasse 5, Hochkreuz

An exotic oasis in the once planned Bonn embassy and diplomatic quarter opposite the Rheinaue. In the recent past, the German-Syrian community in Germany occasionally used the magnificent building for events. In summer 2017, plans became known that Syria wants to sell its former embassy quickly and to the highest bidder. The problem: EU sanctions against Syria.


Turmstrasse 30-34, Plittersdorf

In 1984, the Hungarians, who previously had their embassy in Cologne, built their new diplomatic residence in Plittersdorf for twelve million marks. Since the move in 1999/2000, the house has been abandoned, and a sale was imminent several times. But nothing has happened to date.

(Original text: Michael Wenzel; Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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