Wilhelmstrasse - History - Government District

Government District

Originally a wealthy residential street, with a number of palaces belonging to members of the Hohenzollern royal family, the Wilhelmstrasse developed as a Prussian government precinct from the mid 19th century. In 1858 King Frederick William IV acquired the former Palais Schwerin on No. 73 as the administrative seat of the Prussian minister for the Royal Household, from 1861 led by Alexander von Schleinitz. In 1869 the nearby Palais Schulenburg residence of late Prince Antoni Radziwiłł, built in 1738/39 on No. 77, was purchased by the Prussian state government at the behest of Schleinitz' opponent Minister-President Otto von Bismarck. Rebuilt from 1875 until 1878, it served as his official seat as German chancellor. The next door building on No. 76 was used for the chancellery's Foreign Office department.

Several further governmental departments took their seat on Wilhelmstrasse, such as the Reich Ministry of Finance (No. 61), the Imperial Colonial Office (No. 62), the Prussian state ministry (No. 63), the Reich Ministry of Food and Agriculture (No. 72), and the Reich Ministry of Transport (No. 79, from 1919). The lavish Palais Strousberg of bankrupt "railway king" Bethel Henry Strousberg on No. 70 was bought by Prince Hugo of Hohenlohe in an 1876 auction and rented out to the British ambassador Lord Ampthill, until it was finally purchased by the United Kingdom in 1884. In 1877 the Borsig Palace was erected on the corner with Voss-Strasse.

Read more about this topic:  Wilhelmstrasse, History

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