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was designated the official residence of the President of Germany
The President of the Federal Republic of Germany is the country's head of state. His official title in German is Bundespräsident . Germany has a parliamentary system of government and so the position of President is largely ceremonial...
in 1951. Located in the former West German
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....
capital of Bonn
Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....
, it remained the official residence of the President until the government offices were returned to the recently-reunified Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...
in 1994. President Richard von Weizsäcker
Richard Karl Freiherr von Weizsäcker , known as Richard von Weizsäcker, is a German politician . He served as Governing Mayor of West Berlin from 1981 to 1984, and as President of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1984 to 1994...
made Schloss Bellevue
Schloss Bellevue is the official residence of the President of Germany since 1994. The palace in the central Tiergarten district of Berlin is situated on the northern edge of the Großer Tiergarten park, on the banks of the Spree river, near the Berlin Victory Column...
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
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...
of Germany", because it looks similar to the residence of the President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....
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 Chancellor of Germany is, under the German 1949 constitution, the head of government of Germany...
, the Palais Schaumburg
The Palais Schaumburg is a castle-like building in Bonn which has housed parts of the German Federal Chancellery since 1949 and from 1976 to reunification was the first official residence and office of the Chancellor...
, 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
Classical architecture is a mode of architecture employing vocabulary derived in part from the Greek and Roman architecture of classical antiquity, enriched by classicizing architectural practice in Europe since the Renaissance...
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
Alexander Ferdinand Koenig was a German naturalist and zoologist.Koenig was born at St Petersburg, Russia where his father was a successful merchant. He grew up in Bonn. Koenig became interested in natural history at an early age and started to collect specimens.He studied zoology at the...
was the founder of the "Zoologisches Reichsmuseum Alexander Koenig
The Alexander Koenig Research Museum is a natural history museum and zoological research institution in Bonn, Germany. The museum is named after Alexander Koenig, who donated his collection of specimens to the institution...
" 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
There have been two formations named British Army of the Rhine . Both were originally occupation forces in Germany, one after the First World War, and the other after the Second World War.-1919–1929:...
in Germany following World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
- since 1950: The German state