• Germany's news in English

Palace loses historic wood to recycling firm

The Local · 10 Nov 2012, 11:35

Published: 10 Nov 2012 11:35 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The 300-year old wood, which had been preserved for centuries under the site of the original Prussian palace, was excavated to make way for a modern concrete foundation for the new Humboldt Forum that is to take its place, wrote Der Tagesspiegel newspaper on Friday.

A €559 million reconstruction of the Stadtschloss palace is slated to be rebuilt in central Berlin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the heart of the city. Though its exterior will look like the old palace, the interior will be modern and house some of the city's museums as the Humboldt Forum.

The reconstructed facade of the new Humboldt Forum alone will cost €80 million to build, just €23 million of which has so far been raised from private donations.

The original Baroque palace, a winter residence for Prussian royalty, was damaged during World War II and then demolished by the communist East German government in 1950.

Mired for years in financial problems, the reconstruction project's fund raisers could have sold the recently excavated wood to private individuals, suggested the paper, who would pay high prices for furniture or flooring made from original wood which once formed part of the Hohenzollern residence.

“The wood is in excellent condition,” a spokesman from the Züblin Spezialtiefbau contracted with the excavation job told the paper.

But it does not belong to the palace patrons, or to the site's legal owners, the Humboldt Forum Institute, but to the Züblin building contractors.

“The wood passes automatically into the possession of the firm which is entrusted with the ground and excavation work,” Manfred Rettig, head of the Berlin Palace Foundation told the paper.

Züblin, apparently concerned only with removing the wood from the site, has in turn passed it on to a recycling firm “RWG 1 Baustoffrecycling” in Spandau, north of Berlin. “The wood belongs to us,” a spokesman for the recycling firm told the paper.

He added that several private individuals have already phoned to express interest in the historic material.

Wilhelm von Boddien, head patron and fund raiser for the Humboldt Forum project told the paper he was also interested, but he would have to pay if he wants to use the wood in the reconstruction, raising the authenticity of the controversial and expensive endeavour.

The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

13:01 November 10, 2012 by keeps71
The incompetence of these people is staggering. Yet no one loses their job and they are free to repeat their idiotic mistakes. There has been a building site there for roughly 23 years and the end result will be yet another 559 million euro waste of space. German city councillors.... ruining the character of Berlin, brick by brick, since 1989. Morons.
15:33 November 10, 2012 by catjones
This is a building searching for a purpose and funding and finding neither. Just another Disney character added to berlin's before-the-war look.
10:27 November 11, 2012 by DoubleDTown
I'm no artsy architect or educated preservationist, but it always strikes me as odd the way Germany "preserves" its "denkmal" buildings. (okay, I know, this Denkmal was already gone) So often it's all about having the facade look like the old facade, even if every stone and board is replaced. I've seen a manor house gutted to the sandstone walls, with the 300 year old flooring literally chain-sawed out of the thing and thrown into dumpsters to be replaced with poured concrete. I've seen half-timber houses been 100% replaced a piece at a time -- heaven forbid they actually knock it down to build the replica.
Today's headlines
Temperatures rise as sunny winter weather continues
A wintry countryside scene in Brandenburg on Monday. Photo: DPA.

The days are sunny and the nights are cold across Germany, but weather forecasters predict higher temperatures as the week goes on.

In Pictures
1,000 sprinting Santas take over small German town
From Lapland to lap times: Santas shed the pounds. Photo: DPA

Nearly 1,000 bearded, red coat-wearing runners took over a small Brandenburg town on Sunday - here's why.

Germany bucks global trend, sells more weapons
A Puma tank used by the German military. Photo: DPA.

Weapons sales around the world decreased last year, despite various ongoing military conflicts. But major German firms actually greatly increased their sales at the same time.

Teen's murder-rape arrest reignites refugee debate
Flowers and candles set up in Freiburg to honour the student found dead. Photo: DPA.

The German government pleaded for calm on Monday after the arrest of a teenage Afghan asylum seeker for the alleged rape and murder of a German student triggered fresh criticism of the country's liberal refugee policy.

China criticizes US for blocking sale of German firm
Aixtron's headquarter in Herzogenrath in North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

The US is reportedly worried that China could use the firm's technology in its nuclear programme.

Germany should deport sick refugees: Merkel party mate
Rejected asylum seekers in Leipzig being taken to the airport. Photo: DPA.

A top member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative CDU party on Monday defended his proposal for Germany to deport sick refugees after receiving harsh criticism.

Rail worker jailed over train crash that killed 12
Rescue workers at the scene of the crash. Photo: DPA

A German rail dispatcher who admitted that his negligence caused a train crash that killed 12 people has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Why Germany is worried by Italy's referendum result
Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned after a crushing referendum defeat on Sunday. Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel lost a key ally on Sunday night.

These are Berlin's seven most exquisite restaurants
Two-star chef Tim Raue. Photo: DPA.

The capital city still hasn't managed to snag three stars in the new 2017 Michelin guide released on Thursday, but it still boasts seven two-star eateries. Here's a look at what they have to offer.

Austrian vote a 'good omen for Europe': German minister
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo: DPA.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Sunday said that the far-right defeat in Austria's presidential election was "a good omen" for Europe.

Nobody does Christmas quite like the Germans.
Sponsored Article
The key to launching your international career
Our 10-step guide for doing Christmas just like a German
Here's why so many Germans vote for the far-right AfD
7 events in Germany that'll make December unforgettable
7 frosty German sayings to make you a winter wordsmith
This is how unequal German society has become
Six things you should know about the Lufthansa strike
9 ways living in Germany will make you a better person
These 10 German Christmas markets cannot be missed
8 German words that unlock amazing secrets in English
10 German words with simply hilarious literal translations
7 things Germans do that make foreigners feel awkward
Why Donald Trump's grandad was booted out of Germany
This is what is really inside your Döner kebab
Rejoice! Christmas markets start opening across Germany
These German universities are best at landing you a job
Why Heidelberg is Germany's most inspiring city
This soppy German Christmas ad will bring you to tears
Here's where Germans speak the best (and worst) English
10 German books you have to read before you die
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd