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Palais du Rhin

The Palais du Rhin : ex-Imperial Palace and a symbol of political power

Most unusually, Strasbourg can boast the presence of an old German Imperial Palace, built by the Hohenzollern as a political symbol of the integration of Alsace-Lorraine within the 2nd Reich.

In the plan for the extension of the city, approved in 1880, the old Kaiserplatz (now place de la République), is dominated on its western side by the eclectic architecture of the Imperial Palace, the central part of a set of buildings constructed around a tree-lined garden. The palace was commissioned by Wilhelm I of Hohenzollern and designed by Prussian architect Hermann Eggert. Building began in 1884, and the building was inaugurated by Wilhelm’s grandson, Wilhelm II, after its completion in 1889. The palace was more a symbol of political power than an Imperial residence and it was only very occasionally used by the three Hohenzollerns.

A Germanic neo-Renaissance style

The imposing block rises 3 stories high and is covered by Roman tiles, giving it an aged look, and is surmounted by an Imperial dome. One of the most striking features of the building is its yellow brick construction, reminiscent of Florence’s Palazzo Pitti.

The facade features a central portico, with a triangular pediment, bearing the coat of arms of the Reich, along with monograms of Emperor and Empress Wilhelm and Augusta of Saxe-Weimar. Under the loggia, an eagle stands between 2 Baroque atlases, a reference to Prussia, while the coats of arms of Alsace and Lorraine are to be found on the external columns of the loggia. The overall effect is the representation of the new political order, in descending rank — the German Empire, founded by a Prussian dynasty and now including Alsace and a part of Lorraine.

The Imperial Palace takes its name Palais du Rhin, or Rhine Palace, from the presence within its walls of the Central Commission for Navigation of the Rhine, the oldest European organisation (1815), which was moved here following the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.

  • Tram B, C, E or F - République
  • Bus 15a or 72 - République
  • Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine
  • Direction régionale des Affaires culturelles d'Alsace (DRAC)
  • Palais du Rhin
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1 - 3 place de la République
67000 Strasbourg