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Rebuild of Kaiser's palace in central Berlin on schedule to open next year

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Rebuild of Kaiser's palace in central Berlin on schedule to open next year
Construction on the Humboldt Forum in June. Photo: DPA
15:36 CET+01:00
While another building in the capital city - the BER airport - has pushed back its opening several times in recent years, everything is reportedly on schedule with the Humboldt Forum.

The Humboldt Forum Foundation, owner and operator of the mammoth project, on Monday announced during a site inspection that the cultural centre in the heart of Berlin would open at the end of 2019 as planned.

The building is a rebuild of the Berlin Palace, the winter residence of the Prussian royal family. The project is highly controversial because the city decided to knock down the Palast der Republik, the East German parliament, to make way for it. 

Hans-Dieter Hegner, member of the foundation's management board, added that with the structure's façade in place and its technical interior near completion, the project was on time and fully in line with costs.

Deemed the largest cultural project in Germany thus far, the building's construction costs amount to around €600 million.

Once the forum opens to the public, around three million annual visitors are expected, said Johannes Wien, spokesman of the foundation's board of directors.

The Humboldt Forum will feature several permanent exhibitions and around 1,000 individual events per year on a floor area the size of about three football fields.

But with this massive project comes the need for more staff.

"The Humboldt Forum will also be a big job machine," said Wien, adding that staff numbers will rise to about 320 or 350 - excluding security personnel and employees in shops and restaurants - from its current staff count of 90.

The position of head of collection moreover has not yet been confirmed, though Inés de Castro, currently director of the Linden Museum in Stuttgart, told Stuttgarter Zeitung and Stuttgarter Nachrichten on Tuesday that negotiations for the role had begun.

Federal minister of culture Monika Grütters aims to appoint an artistic director for the forum as well.

Final donations would also need to be submitted if the project is to be completed. Of the €105 million promised from donors, €71.3 million have so far been made available.

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