German politician calls for removal of Biblical inscription on city building


Central Europe


The German City Palace. Photo Flickr, Allie Caulfield

A 19th century Biblical reference on Berlin’s City Palace has come under fire again from national leaders.

Germany’s Minister for Culture and Media, Claudia Roth, recently called for the takedown of the building’s Biblical quotes, along with its other Christian imagery. The Biblical verse, which is taken from Acts 4:12 and Philippians 2:10, says in German: “There is no other salvation, nor is there any other name given to man, than in the name of Jesus, to the glory of God the Father. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, which are in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”

Roth declared the text and Christian symbols as “uncosmopolitan,” and hopes to have the inscription covered with a series of “alternative, commenting, and reflective texts,” according to Junge Freiheit. If approved, the art project will be commissioned by the Palace’s current occupant, the Humboldt Forum Foundation. The Federal Government released a written statement on the matter:

“The Federal Government is aware of the problem that arises from the restoration of monarchical and Christian symbolism on the building of an institution such as the Humboldt Forum, which is justified in terms of urban planning and building culture, but which can also be interpreted politically and religiously.”

While some see the inscription as an exclusive claim to Christianity that requires submission from all religions, others believe that it should be left alone.


Berlin Archbishop, Heiner Koch, says that Roth is incorrect in the text’s interpretation. Rather, the correct understanding should be that “People should only worship God, and not pay this tribute to any earthly power,” he said to Bild, which was quoted in a Standard article.

Also on the opposing side is culture and media policy spokeswoman, Christiane Schenderlein from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). She said to Katolisch that the verse should remain “visible” and that they “vehemently reject” any changes or art installations that may be put in its place.


CNE previously reported that a plaque was put next to the dome. It declared that the Humboldt Forum has no association with the inscription’s claim of Christianity’s “sole validity and dominance.” However, institutions within the Humboldt Forum such as the Humboldt University, and the City Museum ensured the inscription’s exhibition.

Prussian King Friedrich-Wilhelm IV erected the palace in 1845. He placed a cross on top of the building, along with a summary of the two Biblical verses around the dome. After World War II, it was demolished, because it was viewed as bastion of German monarchy. The GDR parliament that was built there, was later destroyed because of asbestos concerns. The Berlin government decided to rebuild a copy of the original palace, including the original Biblical texts.



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