• 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

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.

Story continues below…

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)

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
Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Trump protesters rebuild and tear down 'Berlin Wall'
The 'Stop Trump' protest at the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: DPA.

US expats gathered at the Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate on Friday "rebuild" the Berlin Wall and protest US presidential candidate Donald Trump's own proposed wall-building.

Accusation of sexism within Merkel's party creates uproar
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Chancellor Angela Merkel, two leading women in the CDU party. Photo: DPA.

A young politician from the ranks of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has caused a storm by suggesting that the party is institutionally sexist.

EasyJet 'in talks to buy German airline' to duck Brexit
Photo: DPA

EasyJet is in talks to acquire TUIfly, a board member of the German carrier said Friday, as the British no-frills airline looks for ways to keep flying freely within the EU after Britain quits the bloc.

Symbols of migrant plight to go on show in Bonn museum
Photo: DPA

A people smugglers' car, a dinghy and a life jacket are among items related to Europe's migration crisis due to go on display at a German museum.

Green party demand 'quick and easy' citizenship for Brits
Photo: DPA

The Green party has called for Brits living in Germany to be offered a painless path to obtaining dual citizenship as to "reassure them over the future".

Berlin the new London? 10m2 flat to rent for €750 a month
Photo: Immonet.de.

This shoebox apartment in the gentrified Bergmann-Kiez neighbourhood may be a sign that the tides are turning for Berlin’s comparatively cheap housing market.

Far-right AfD reach record high in national poll
AfD leader Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA.

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) was backed by 16 percent of respondents in a new poll, which was a new high for the upstart populist party.

Bautzen youth beat up pensioner in racist attack
Photo: DPA

In the Saxon town of Bautzen, which has become a byword for racism and anti-migrant sentiment, two youths have attacked a 72-year-old man, shouting 'foreigners out'.

German lawmakers ratify landmark Paris climate accord
The German parliament (Bundestag). Photo: DPA.

Germany's lower of house of parliament on Thursday ratified the Paris agreement on climate change, following in the footsteps of 60 other countries that have committed to the landmark agreement designed to stem the planet's rising temperatures.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
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
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd