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Prince August Ferdinand of Prussia, the youngest brother of Frederick the Great, commissioned the architect Michael Philipp Boumann to build Schloss Bellevue between 1785 and 1787 in a style blending baroque and neoclassicist elements. The large park was one of the most beautiful Prussian landscape gardens. It was the fantastic view over the surrounding park which gave the palace the name "Bellevue".

The palace was intended as a residence; representative needs were not to the fore. As a result, the entrances were positioned in the two corner projections and were equipped with simple staircases to the upper floor; a large ballroom was not planned.

Prince Ferdinand's guests included Friedrich Schiller, Napoleon and Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt.

Even after his death, the palace remained in the family and continued to serve as a residence and guest house.

With the "Vaterländische Galerie" (Patriotic Gallery), Schloss Bellevue housed the first museum of contemporary art in Prussia from 1844 to 1865. At this time, the park was also opened to the public.

After the First World War, the palace and park remained unchanged. In 1928, ownership was passed from the House of the Hohenzollern to the state of Prussia and the main building was used for the Grand Berlin Art Exhibition. From 1935 onwards, the palace housed the Museum of German Folk History. In 1938, work was performed on the palace to convert it into the Reich guest house. In line with this new representative function, the main entrance was moved to the central axis and a new grander staircase was built. In 1941, firebombs almost entirely destroyed Schloss Bellevue. After the Second World War, the park was divided up and transformed into vegetable gardens.

By 1959, Schloss Bellevue had been rebuilt to serve as the second official residence of the Federal President and changes made to ensure larger functions could be hosted there. The central entrance remained and for the first time a large dining room was created on the first floor. The original Boumann plans for the facade were respected. Work on the park also reflected traditions and features from earlier centuries. Sprawling lawns, meandering paths and reniform ponds were added as modern elements.

In 1994 the first official residence of the Federal President was moved from Bonn to Berlin and the number of functions in the palace greatly increased. This meant large-scale renovation was needed, most recently in 2004/05. Yet care was taken to preserve the character of the palace as it stood after the work done in the 1950s.

Entrance Hall

The Entrance Hall links the interior of the palace with the park. Beside the door to the park, there are portraits of Reich President Friedrich Ebert (1920, Emil Orlik) and Federal President Theodor Heuss (1952, Wolf Röhricht). The plaque commemorating the laying of the foundation stone on 30 April 1785 is the oldest piece in the palace. The visitors book is on display in the Entrance Hall.

The Federal President receives his guests for talks in his office.

Salon I/Salon II

Regulations governing the preservation of monuments dictated that the two salons were renovated in the 1950s style. They thereby reflect the architectural style and furnishings of the time when the palace was first used as an official residence of the Federal President.

Langhans Hall

This is the only room in the palace that was rebuilt after the War in its original form and in the neoclassicist style. The triaxial hall originally served as a ballroom. It stretches to cover the whole depth of the Schloss (14.5 m). In his 1789/90 design Carl Gotthard Langhans gave the room an elliptical form equipping it with eight Corinthian pillars and two fireplaces. Today, receptions and smaller dinners are held here.

Salon Ferdinand

Salon Ferdinand was named after the prince who originally commissioned the building of the palace. It is used for smaller receptions and talks. It houses inter alia a painting by Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein "Family portrait with Prince Ferdinand of Prussia, Lord Master of the Order of St. John, with his spouse Luise and their children Luise, Heinrich and Louis Ferdinand" (around 1778).

Salon Luise

Salon Luise was named after Princess Anna Elisabeth Luise von Brandenburg-Schwedt who married Prince August Ferdinand in 1755 at the age of 17. The salon is on the garden side of the main building exactly on the central axis. From the central balcony of the garden facade, the view of the visual axes of the palace park stretches out. The receiving line at a state banquet takes place here.

Schinkel Hall

The foyer to the Great Hall named after the architect and painter Karl Friedrich Schinkel, whose large painting “Gotische Klosterruine und Baumgruppen”, 1809, (Gothic Cloister Ruins with Groups of Trees) was displayed in the hall until 2012. In the summer of 2012, this early work by Schinkel was returned to the lender, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. The room is used as a foyer for the Great Hall but also for smaller receptions and dinners.

Great Hall

The largest hall in the palace is used for large receptions, state banquets, concerts, discussions, ceremonies awarding prizes and decorations and other events. The walls on the north and south side exhibit two large bodies of colour entitled "Begegnungen" (Encounters, 1988) by the artist Gotthard Graubner.

(Welcome to Schloss Bellevue)