Schloss Bellevue is a château in the centre of Berlin. It is situated on the north edge of the Tiergarten park, beside the river Spree, near the Berlin Victory Column, with the address "Spreeweg 1". It has been the principal residence of the German President since 1994. Its name derives from its beautiful view over the Spree.
Schloss Bellevue was built in 1786 for Prince Ferdinand of Prussia, the younger brother of King Frederick II of Prussia, and was designed by architect Philipp Daniel Boumann as a summer residence, on the site of a house built in 1743 by Knobelsdorff. It was the first Neoclassical building in Germany, and has Corinthian columns, with wings on either side (the "ladies' wing" and the "Spree wing"). It is surrounded by a park covering 20 hectares.
It served as the official residence of the Crown Prince of Germany until 1918. The treaty ending the Franco-Prussian War was signed here on 3 September 1870.
In the mid-1930s, it was used as a museum of ethnography, before being renovated as a guest house for the Third Reich. It was damaged in May 1945, at the end of the Second World War, and refurbished substantially in the 1950s. From 1957, it was a secondary residence of the President of Germany, a pied a terre in Berlin in addition to his primary residence at the Villa Hammerschmidt in Bonn. It was refurbished again in 1986/7, and Richard von Weizsäcker moved the primary residence of the President of Germany here in 1994, after the German reunification. It was reconstructed from 2004 to 2005 to remedy defects in earlier renovations. The President of Germany used Schloss Charlottenburg for representative purposes during this period. Schloss Bellevue became his primary residence again in January 2006. After these latest reconstructions, Schloss Bellevue does not comprise an apartment for the Federal President and his family any more. The Federal President does not live on the Schloss Bellevue premises at all but rather in a government-owned villa in the Dahlem district of southwestern Berlin.
As with many government residences, a flag -- the presidential standard in this case - is flown on top of the building when the president is in office. The flag pole remains empty when he is away.