Villa Hammerschmidt was designated the official residence of the President of Germany in 1951. Located in the former West German capital of Bonn, it remained the official residence of the President until the government offices were returned to the recently reunified Berlin in 1994. President Richard von Weizsäcker made Schloss Bellevue in Berlin his primary official residence; since that time the Hammerschmidt Villa has served as a secondary residence. In German, the Villa is also called "White House of Bonn", because of its vague resemblance to the residence of the President of the United States.
The villa is situated in the heart of the former government district of Bonn, bordering the river Rhine to the north and opposite the zoological Museum Koenig to the south. It is also adjacent to the secondary official residence of the Chancellor, the Palais Schaumburg, to the west.
The upper floor of the building houses a private apartment for the German President, while the ground floor consists of state rooms which are used for ceremonial purposes.
Villa Hammerschmidt was built by August Dieckhoff in 1860 in Neo-classical style, as a stately home for a wealthy industrialist. It was redecorated in 1868 by the architect Otto Penner.
Since its construction Villa Hammerschmidt has been owned by:
- 1860 – 1868: Albrecht Troost
- 1868 – 1899: Leopold Koenig (his son Alexander Koenig was the founder of the "Zoologisches Reichsmuseum Alexander Koenig" just opposite Villa Hammerschmidt)
- 1899 – 1928: Rudolf Hammerschmidt
- 1928 – 1945: Sold at auction and broken up into several flats
- 1945 – 1949: Requisitioned by the British occupation forces in Germany following World War II
- since 1950: The German state