Bad Godesberg

The Federal Republic of Germany was founded in 1949 with Bonn as its provisional capital.  The neighbouring town of Bad Godesberg became the favoured choice of residence for many diplomats.  20 years later in 1969 this previously independent town became a district of the city of Bonn, now has approximately 70,000 residents and is still known as the Diplomatic Town.  From 1949-1999 This town hosted the world’s diplomats confidently and impressively.

In 1210 the archbishop and Prince Elector of Cologne,  Dietrich I von Hengenbach laid the foundation stone for the Godesburg,  the castle above the town of Bad Godesberg. Bad Godesberg, however, really took off after the elegant building La Redoute was built by the Prince Elector at the end of the eighteenth century.  This building reached is most glorious epoch as the venue for political and diplomatic events after World War II.  Here the Federal German president received the diplomatic corps every New Year and diplomats celebrated their National Days and their international networks.

After Bonn was chosen as Federal Capital in 1949 Bad Godesberg developed into a colourful and cosmopolitan diplomatic town.  The RheinHotel Dreesen played a particularly important role here.  This hotel, situated on the Rhine opposite the beautiful Siebengebirge , was for many ambassadors and diplomats not only the most important address but actually the official address in the capital for many states in those first years of the young republic.When the French High Commission, whose administration had been housed in the hotel from 1949 to 1952, moved into its newly built embassy, the elegant  Rheinhotel became the starting-point of all future diplomatic missions in Bad Godesberg.  Hardly surprising that Rüngsdorf, where the RheinHotel Dreesen is situated, became the area with the highest density of diplomats living there.

During the time of the Bonn Republic more than 100 nations not only worked in their embassy offices but also lived with their ambassadors in large villas and stately  houses.  Large parks with a view of the Siebengebirge provided a unique ambience for numerous diplomatic residences and embassies. Approximately 6,000  accredited diplomats with many more thousand staff members made Godesberg a cosmopolitan town.  When the federal government and parliament moved from Bonn to Berlin in 1999 Bad Godesberg lost the status of Diplomatic Town- but the name still remains.  Most of the former embassies and ambassadorial residences have since been sold and are in private hands.  An amount of consulates, general consulates and branches  of Berlin embassies still present in Bad Godesberg are still witnesses to the  era as Diplomatic Town from 1949 to 1999.  Above all, the presence of about 20 UN organizations with approximately 1,000 people working for them, many of whom live in Bad Godesberg, remind us daily that Bad Godesberg is still a cosmopolitan town.