Bonn - from German capital to UN City
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City of Bonn // Bonn - from German capital to UN City

United Nations gives the city a new face

As the capital city from 1948 to 1991, Bonn was highly influential in the development of the Federal Republic of Germany. The parliament has since moved away, but Bonn has successfully repositioned itself as a UN and conference city.

Four years after the end of World War Two, the German Bundestag came together to decide on the location of the "provisional federal capital" in a divided Germany. In a surprise decision, a majority of parliamentary deputies opted for Bonn.

This choice did not prove to be quite so provisional as initially intended. The small town on the Rhine was to remain the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany for over four decades. Not until reunification was the question of the capital city and seat of government once again posed. The Unification Treaty of 1990 finally marked the end of the "Bonn Republic". Berlin was declared the capital of the united Germany. But it was a close decision when the Bundestag voted in June 1991 to move to the River Spree.

The federal parliament and parts of the government finally began working in Berlin from 1999. Under the terms of the 1994 Berlin-Bonn Act, Bonn retains an important governmental role as the Federal Republic's second political centre. Six of the fifteen ministries still have their first official seat in Bonn, and the Federal President and Federal Chancellor keep a second official seat on the Rhine. Bonn also hosts twenty federal authorities, including the Federal Cartel Office and the Federal Audit Office.

In the 1990s, the influx of numerous German and international organisations gave a new face to this city on the Rhine: Bonn became the "German UN City" in 1996 and as many as nineteen agencies of the United Nations have since made it their headquarters. In 2006, the UN agencies moved into the high-rise building that once housed MPs offices (known as "Langer Eugen")' and into parts of the former Bundestag building (Bundeshaus). From this cluster emerged the Bonn UN Campus. Moreover, Bonn has made its name as a major conference centre. Numerous international conferences have been held "on campus", including several World Climate Summits.

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