The German Parliament was a complete highlight! As I understand it, the German system was the basis for our system of democracy in New Zealand. There are a few nuances that are different but the basic framework is similar. I will be doing some more reading on this (yes, I purchased more books) as I want to ensure I understand what these nuances mean in practice.

What impressed me was how the theme of transparency and environmental responsibility was embraced in the overall design.

Solar panels and the ventilation systems were designed with energy management in mind.

Parliamentarians can be seen through the front doors and viewed from above. MPs are always reminded of Germany’s long history and therefore of the need to be open and transparent, making slow, creative and inclusive public policy that lasts the tests of time.

It was truly inspirational – makes me realize how we could work harder in New Zealand to make parliament more open, beautiful and less complicated – illustrating good design and showcasing our own unique culture.

Oh, and if you do go to Berlin – book in advance. We only gained access by having lunch beside the dome – which was not a hardship!


The entrance is on the left as you enter, with beautiful large tiles representing the German flag


The double doors to Parliament are directly in front of you as you enter


The lift is on the right as you enter (I thought the high stud and mirrored walls were very effective)


The walk up and down the dome takes 20 minutes with an audio guide


The very top of the walkway where you can sit and enjoy the view of Berlin


Looking down into Parliament where you can glimpse the seats


A closer look at the bottom of the core


A view of the dome from outside on the terrace