• Germany's news in English

Reichstag to become Kids' Dome in summer

The Local · 1 Apr 2012, 11:00

Published: 01 Apr 2012 11:00 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The German parliament can be a dreary business for the under-8's age group – but not if there's a giant track for scoot-along cars and sweets involved. At least that's thinking of the German government.

For the two-month parliamentary summer recess, the walkway that spirals up inside the monumental glass dome of the Reichstag building in Berlin is to be converted into a special Bobby-car run as part of the temporary children's zone.

Each party is planning to set up its own stall beneath the dome, dubbed the Kinderkuppel (Kid's Dome), where they will be vying to win the support of the nation's next generation of voters, the oldest of whom will be eligible to vote in the 2021 general election.

The Pirate Party is planning to hand out eye-patches, while the conservative Christian Social Union, based in Bavaria, has ordered a number of small drums and trumpets, so children can improvise their own oompah music.

Meanwhile, the centre-left Social Democratic Party is producing a cartoon colouring book explaining why the trade union movement is still relevant in modern society, and the socialist Left party said it would be designing plastic action figures of its prominent members, including Gregor Gysi and Oskar Lafontaine.

Bundestag Vice President Wolfgang Thierse will host the opening event on July 7, the first day of the parliament's summer recess, which many of the parents among Germany's MPs are also expected to attend.

Thierse's two children have been accorded the honour of being the first to zoom down the spiral Bobby car run.

One of the more bizarre attractions will be puppet shows depicting recent political stories, such as President Christian Wulff's resignation and the election of his successor Joachim Gauck, as well as the recent vote on introducing a gender quota in top German businesses.

"It will certainly be a challenge to illustrate the issues surrounding these events in a way that a six-year-old can understand, using only hand puppets," artist Johannes Filzmops told The Local. "But I'm really pleased with the way my Merkel puppet has turned out."

The Kinderkuppel has been organized by a special parliamentary committee. The cross-party Bundestag Kontrollgremium zum Parlamentarischenjugendlicheninterresseerweckungszweck was set up at the behest of Bundestag President Norbert Lammert to come up with solutions to two perennial problems faced by the Bundestag: first, what to do with the historic Reichstag building during the summer months, and second, how to combat apathy towards parliamentary procedure, particularly among Germany's youngest demographic.

Story continues below…

"It's really been a long process, and very complicated," committee chairman Wilhelm von Rotballon told The Local. "But studies show clearly that the political apathy is strongest among the under-eights. But it is among them that modern culture is rooted – in kindergartens and primary schools. We need to tackle the problem head on."

Jess Ting

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

11:27 April 1, 2012 by Sayer
Given the antics of the Parliamentarians, it would be fair to say that the Reichstag could be considered a Kid's Dome all year round.
11:45 April 1, 2012 by mirzanr
April fool? (scratching my head).
19:50 April 1, 2012 by menzelchr
Just brilliant! ;-)
22:19 April 1, 2012 by lordkorner
sadly ,too obvious-
Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd