Prussian Palaces and gardens in Berlin and Brandenburg
When the last Kaiser, William II, abdicated and went into exile at the end of the First World War in 1918, a decision had to be made as to what to do with the former Hohenzollern ruling family's property. It was by no means a foregone conclusion that the palaces, complete with their inventories, would remain under a common administration. However, the curators of monuments won through in the end, and the "Administration of State Palaces and Gardens" was established on 1 April 1927 as part of the property settlement between the Prussian state and the Hohenzollern family.
From the outset, the idea was to open the palaces to the public as "museum palaces". Every building is a work of art in its own right and, together with its valuable inventory and the gardens, is exemplary of the art of a particular epoch. After all, the Hohenzollerns had created a rich ensemble of palaces and parks over more than two centuries. On the banks of the Havel and their immediate surroundings, Peter Joseph Lenné had united the separate palace gardens and parks to form Potsdam's unique park landscape in the first half of the 19th century.
The Second World War was a disaster for the palace administration: the Berlin Palace, Potsdam City Palace and Charlottenburg Palace were hit by bombs and partially gutted by fire. The Berlin Palace and Potsdam City Palace were later dynamited by the East German government for ideological reasons. The palace administration was dissolved when Prussia ceased to exist in 1947, so that the palaces in Hessen, Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhein-Westphalia fell to the respective federal states.
During the partition of Germany there was an administration in Potsdam called the "State Palaces and Gardens of Potsdam-Sanssouci". West Berlin set up its own palace administration, although contacts on a technical level were never completely broken off. It was therefore not difficult revive the former ties after reunification.
The state treaty on the establishment of the "Stiftung Preussische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg" came into force on 1 January 1995, uniting the formerly separate palace administrations. The Foundation is supported by the federal states of Brandenburg and Berlin as well as the federal government. The Foundation's task is to maintain, preserve and scientifically evaluate cultural possessions and make them accessible to the public. Furthermore, it is a low-level authority responsible for the protection of historical monuments and is thus able to settle matters of monument protection by liaising direct with the responsible office for the protection of historical monuments.
The idea of "museum palaces" developed in the 1920s remains valid and is still the basis of the Foundation's work. In order to meet the demands of such a concept, much remains to be done in the coming years, particularly in the maintenance and restoration of monuments.