The State Representation Office has been located since 18 June 1999 in a new building on the corner of Mohrenstrasse and Mauerstrasse. In keeping with the Weimar Bauhaus tradition, it is a modern and up-to-date building, functional but also distinguished-looking. With 3,000 square metres of floor space, it is quite modest in comparison with the other state representation offices in Berlin, but no less efficient.
The 750-square-metre site was once home to a “Thuringia House” built in 1933, but this building was later destroyed in the war. The vacant corner plot was returned to the re-established State of Thuringia in the early 1990s. On 25 April 1995, the state government decided to build the new State Representation Office on its own property. A total of 159 architects took part in the Europe-wide competition, with the contract awarded to the architecture and engineering office Dr. Worschech & Partner, Erfurt.
At a cost of 12 million euros, the new building happily came in far under the estimate. It is made up of two components: a travertine-clad office cube houses the work areas, and on the ground floor the public restaurant “Der Thüringer”. In the adjacent glass volume are the foyer, exhibition spaces, conference rooms and library. A multi-purpose hall on the first floor provides space for over 200 guests. From the sixth-floor conference room with its surrounding terrace there is a stunning view over Berlin’s rooftops, across to the highrises on Potsdamer Platz and the Reichstag.
The State Representation Office of Thuringia in the Federal Government and its duties
“The 3 S’s: Strategic hub, service centre, showcase”
“The Länder shall participate through the Bundesrat in the legislation and administration of the Federation and in matters concerning the European Union.” (Article 50 of the Grundgesetz, or Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany)
State representation offices are a special feature of the German federal system, with a long historical tradition. The Representation Office of the Free State of Thuringia in the Federal Government is a department of the Thuringian State Chancellery. It represents the interests of the Free State to the Federal Government and the other states.
As a strategic hub on the Berlin political scene, the Thuringian State Representation Office acts as an important liaison between federal and state policymakers. Contacts are cultivated and maintained from here with the Bundestag and Bundesrat, with the Federal Government and the federal authorities, and with a number of national and international associations – with all of whom information is regularly exchanged.
One of the pivotal tasks of the Thuringian State Representation Office is to coordinate the Free State’s contribution to federal legislative procedures by way of the Bundesrat – in other words: to do state political lobbying work. The office prepares the work to be accomplished in the Bundesrat and its committees and formulates Thuringia’s positions in close cooperation with the ministries in Erfurt – and has been doing so ever since the 624th session of the Bundesrat on 9 November 1990, just one day after the formation of the first Thuringian State Government.
Thuringia has four votes in the Bundesrat. There are a total of 69 votes, with larger states having five or six, small ones three, and the remaining states four votes each – depending on the state population. Thuringia’s main agenda is still to advocate for the development of eastern Germany, for jobs and economic growth, for a modern, supraregional infrastructure, for the expansion of university and research facilities – all with the goal of keeping the Free State of Thuringia fit for future challenges.
The staff of the Thuringian State Representation Office in addition participate in the German Bundestag’s expert committees. This serves to ensure that Thuringian Minister-President Christine Lieberknecht and the cabinet members are informed early on of the plans being made by the Federal Government and the Bundestag.
As a showcase and service centre, the “Thuringian embassy” to the federal capital also fulfils a key public relations function. With conferences and meetings of Thuringian associations, tourist presentations, forums, concerts and exhibitions, the office brings together figures important to Thuringia from the worlds of politics, public administration, business and culture, and not least Berliners as well, and presents through visual, acoustic and even culinary offerings the Free State’s diversity and above all its strengths and the many special features it has to offer.