The 60th anniversary of the first session of the German parliament is being celebrated today.
On September 7, 1949, the Bundestag officially got down to work in the country’s former capital, Bonn. All current and former members of parliament were invited to attend. Bundestag President Norbert Lammert said: “Sixty years is not a long time by any standards in public or private life. But when you look at the long and winding road of German history, you will not find even one parliament that lasted this long, not even remotely this long. That fact alone should make it obvious to all the overwhelming importance of the Bundestag for the young history of German democracy.” It was after reunification of Germany that the Bundestag decided that Berlin would be the new capital. The decision was taken in 1991 after fierce debate, and it was far from unanimous. The then Chancellor Helmut Kohl was among those who supported the move. The old Reichstag building in Berlin was totally refurbished to eventually welcome the Bundestag in 1999. The well-known British architect Norman Foster was chosen for the job after an international competition. The building has a large dome on the top, with a 360-degree view of Berlin, and has become a popular tourist attraction.