Bundesgerichthof Karlsruhe
Famous building

Federal Court of Justice

Herrenstrasse 45 a,  76133 Karlsruhe

The Hereditary Grand Duke's palace in Karlsruhe has been the office building of the president of the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) since 1950. It is the highest court of civil and criminal jurisdiction in the Federal Republic of Germany.

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The grounds of approximately four hectares in size are characterised by almost 200 years of colourful building history. The Federal Court of Justice's representative building is the Hereditary Grand Duke's palace - a palatial building with a princely past. The senior civil engineer of the Grand Duchy of Baden - Josef Durm - had designed the building as an ostentatious palace. It was built according to his plans on an artificial hill, surrounded by a large park, between 1891 and 1897. It served as the residence of the Hereditary Grand Duke (becoming Grand Duke in 1907) Frederick II until 1918. The palace interior was originally designed in the neo-baroque style and even today a little evidence of the former magnificence can still be seen. The imperial glass dome that covers the staircase of the three floors is the architechtural highlight of the whole premises.
Standing on the ground floor as a memorial to the the victims of National Socialist injustice is a 2.4m high, triangular gilt brass stele. It bears the inscription "Righteousness exalteth a nation" (Proverbs 14:34) and "In memory of the men and women who suffered injustice in the name of the German people." The stele was created by the graphic artist and designer Otl Aicher, a brother-in-law of the siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl, who were executed in 1943 after being sentenced to death by the Volksgerichtshof  for resistance against the Nazi regime.
Several extension buildings have been added for the Federal Court of Justice since the 1950s. Its library, the largest library of legal literature in Europe, is open to the public. The Karlsruhe Museum of Legal History (Rechtshistorisches Museum) is accommodated in a new building to the north.

To find out more, visit the website of the Bundesgerichtshof


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