Palais du Rhin

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The Palais du Rhin (Template:Lang-en), former Kaiserpalast (Imperial palace), is a building situated in the German section (north-east) of Strasbourg, dominating the Place de la République (the former Kaiserplatz) with its massive dome. A huge building in itself, it constitutes, with the ample gardens that surround it as well as the stables next to it, one of the largest fully preserved landmarks of 19th century Prussian architecture. Through Avenue de la Liberté (former Kaiser-Wilhelm-Straße), it faces the equally monumental Palais universitaire.


After the Franco-Prussian War, Strasbourg, then German, was faced with the question of a reception for the emperor. To this end they wanted to create a symbol of imperial power. After much debate, the choice was made for a square Neo-Renaissance styled building, remotely inspired by the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. The architect was Hermann Eggert (1844–1920), who had already built, among other things, the Observatory of Strasbourg.

Work began on March 22, 1884 to honour the 87th anniversary of William I's birth nearly five years before it was finally completed. During construction many critiqued: the need and use of the building, its appearance, its price of three million marks.

thumb Inaugurated by William II in August 1889, the palace would accommodate the emperor for twelve revivals until 1914.

During the First World War, the building was reconverted into a military hospital and in 1920 the building adopted its current name when the oldest of the European institutions, Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine, moved in.

In 1923, the palace passed hands to the French state and accommodates the department of fine arts and the national furniture of Alsace-Lorraine.

Transformed into Kommandantur by the Nazis from 1940 to 1945, the building is taken again by the troops of Leclerc who transform it into general quarters. It is there that he writes his proclamation announcing the realization of his oath at Kufra proclaiming that he would fight until flags flew over the cathedrals of Strasbourg and Metz.

Threatened with destruction in the 1970s, the palace, classified as monument historique since 1993, accommodates now, in addition to the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine, the Direction régionale des Affaires culturelles (DRAC Alsace).

In 2008, the Palais was used as the setting of the Paris Gestapo headquarters (historically situated in the Hôtel Lutetia) for the shooting of the French TV-miniseries "La Résistance".




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