Monday, June 20, 2011
Berlin's 20th anniversary
Today, 20. June 2011, is the 20th anniversary of the return of Berlin as Germany's capital. I would have thought it would have been an obvious and easy vote to transition the government from Bonn back to Berlin. According to the Berliner Morgenpost, however, the vote was very close: 338 for Berlin and 320 for Bonn as the German capital. You can read an English translation of the Berliner Morgenpost here.
When I was studying German from 1981-85 in high school, the capital of West Germany was Bonn. I fondly remember our dear Frau Ira Hooper (who was also fluent in French) teaching us High German with textbooks printed in the 1970s complete with those 70s era photos of Germany. Frau Hooper was a teenager when World War 2 broke out. She lived in Berlin. Her father was in the German Navy (a commander on a cruiser or destroyer). She told us many fascinating stories about the Germany of her youth, and I especially remember her describing those pesky cuckoo birds that lived in the Black Forest.
Although the vote was taken in 1991, Berlin did not officially become the German capital until 1999. Even now, Bonn retains about one-half of the Federal government's jobs. I still nostalgically think of Bonn as West Germany's capital from 1949-90. Berlin now houses the center of Germany's government: the Bundestag (German Parliament/Congress), the Bundesrat (council of the German State governors), the Chancellery, and the President's residence.
Happy anniversary, Berlin, as the capital of a united Germany!