Bonn – the City


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October 23, 2018

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Bonn for Capital


Yet, when asked on 5 July 1948 if Bonn is able to accommodate the ‘Parliamentary Council’, the constitutional assembly, the Town Council says yes immediately. The demanding task of this body is to draft a constitution, the Basic Law, for the new German state. The inaugural session takes place in the Museum Koenig, a museum of natural history, on 1st September 1948. The proceedings are conducted in the hurriedly renovated teacher training college, later the seat of parliament (‘Bundeshaus’). Its chairman is Konrad Adenauer, the former Lord Mayor of Cologne who had been deposed by the Nazis. He lives nearby, in Rhöndorf at the foot of the Siebengebirge hills. As a Member of Parliament for Bonn he is elected the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. Adenauer signs the Basic Law on 23rd May 1949.

Parliament (‘Deutscher Bundestag’) confirms on 3rd November 1949 the Parliamentary Council’s proposal to make Bonn the provisional capital. The competing candidate, Frankfurt, is defeated by a narrow margin. The Bundeshaus becomes the seat of the two parliamentary chambers, Bundestag (the elected Federal Diet) and Bundesrat (Federal Council), the representation of the Länder (the federated states). The first Federal President, Thedor Heuss, resides in the Villa Hammerschmidt, the first Federal Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, next door in the Palais Schaumburg.

Throughout five decades Bonn proves to be an often-praised host to the Parliament and Government of a country which in this period develops into one of the leading economic powers of the world. Bonn goes through exciting years as federal capital. The visits of nearly all monarchs and statesmen of the world bring much glamour. After long years as provisional capital, Bonn sees a lot of government building activity under Chancellor Willy Brandt in the 1970s.

Last update: November 22, 2011



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