Daily I follow the changes around the final touches in the re-building of the Berlin City Palace now known as the Humboldt Forum which was set to open this September 2020, but now it has been postponed to October 2021. The Pandemic cut the working construction crews by 25% many unable to return to work after Easter. There is a lot of details to attend to in terms of landscaping and installing new central heating system which runs in huge pipes along the street on the South side of the Palace. On the North side facing the Lutheran Cathedral and the Museums, gardens and trees have been planted. The East facade looking at Alexander Platz across the Spree River is being completed. On the West facade which is the main gate of the Palace the last scaffolding is coming down on Portal III, one big element that is missing is the bronze cartouche at the top of the triple gate, which according to plans is in the making by the same group of artisans who made the lantern with the dancing angels for the dome of the palace. It is truly work requiring a lot of attention to detail and the artisans belong to another era. Lucky that such artists like Andreas Hoferick can still be found. He is responsible for all the baroque elements of the palace, the numerous statues and cartouche that can be seen. He has worked on many projects all over Germany involving historical reconstructions. www.hoferick.com
The draft design on paper before the casting in bronze.
the cartouche will be attached to the stone facade with hooks. Below is a photo of what it looked like in 1920.
The final recreated cartouche will also be embellished with gold leaf. It is a fairly large element and is part of the 105 million Euros raised through public donations for the portion paid by the public. Total cost of this project is 750 million Euros.
This Summer as the palace was approaching the final phase, a Court case made the headlines in newspapers in Germany. It turns out that the former Royal Family of Germany and it’s head, Prince Georg Frederich of Prussia are asking the German Government for the return of their palaces and art collections which includes art work in several German Museums some of which are just across the street from the Palace. In Potsdam alone there are 5 palaces of various sizes. In Berlin one is now the Presidential Palace, Bellevue, the other would be the Charlottenburg Palace. The City Palace was the main one but in its new incarnation it is a vast conference centre, library, museum and restaurant. The German Government have won the latest round in Court. The legal argument is in the German Constitution of May 1949 which establishes the new German Federal Republic and its basic Law. In it the text states that any claimant of former properties must prove that their family had no connection or did not belong to the NSDAP (Nazi Party). Though the Prince who was born in 1976 and his father had no links whatsoever, his grandfather the Crown Prince and his great grandfather the former Kaiser in exile, uncles and cousins had links or were members of the Nazi party until 1942. So the Court rejected his claim which was seen as an over reach by the public. The family is quite wealthy and has the ancestral Hohenzollern castle in Southern Germany including the Prussian Crown Jewels and many other assets.
Castle Hohenzollern in Baden-Wurttenberg. It is open to the public https://www.burg-hohenzollern.com/startseite.html