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Building Utilisation

Reception room at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Reception room at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(© The ministerial biulding in Dresden (1907) / Saxon State Chancellery)

The varied uses of the ministerial complex at the Neustadt bank of the river, today the hime of the Saxon State Chancellery and the State Ministry for Environment and Agriculture (SMUL), reflect the turbulent history of the Free State. When it was found around 1900 that the badly lit and much too cramped offices of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Culture and Public Education would no longer suffice for their administrative task requirements, the then kingdom of Saxony decided to construct new buildings for these ministries. After the completion of its construction in 1904, and until the end of the First World War, it became the home of these two ministries as well as for the Royal Ministry for Justice. The complex was intended as a collective ministry, and was therefore constructed with three main entrances.

The end of the monarchy and the inception of the Free State of Saxony in 1918, initially did not mean any changes to the building's use for the relevant ministries - except for the fact that the denomination »royal« was removed. During the turbulent times of the Weimar Republic, ministries kept coming and going from 1925 onwards almost regularly every two years. Between 1927 and 1934, the building housed seven ministries at once. These were, in addition to the collective ministry, there were those of the Interior, Foreign Affairs, Employment and Welfare, the Ministry for Economic Affairs, and the Ministry for National Education.

In line with the synchronisation of the states in National-Socialist Germany, the Free State of Saxony ceased to exist constitutionally in 1935, and the state government had to surrender its souvereignty to the Reich. This also led to the dissolution of the Saxon Ministry for Foreign Affairs. One year later, the other ministries were forced to vacate the building. Instead, Hitler's governor for Saxony, Martin Mutschmann, used the complex as headquarters for the labour battle of the NSDAP District Commission for Saxony. From 1936 to 1945, the building housed the Stenographic State Office, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Employment. During the last years of the war, state autorities, the Reich governor to Saxony, the Residential and Settlements Office, the Planning Authority, and the Agricultural Office were headquartered here.

After the end of the Second World War, the partially destroyed complex became the Dresden Police headquarters. From 1950 onwards, the state government of Saxony used the buildings for the Ministry for national Education, Ministry for Health, and the Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry, until the states were once more dismissed in 1952 - this time on the orders of the SED government in East Berlin. Afterwards, it became home to the senate of the district of Dresden until the Peaceful Revolution.

In 1990, the building was home to the Dresden district authorities and the Coordination Committee for the Formation of the State of Saxony. In 1991, the Saxon State Chancellery took up residence here, and with it departments for the development of state ministries of the interior, justice, culture, sciences and the arts. But the Ministry for Culture and the State Ministry for Science and the Arts left once again in the same year. Until 1993, the complex also housed the private offices of a corporate dentist, who had taken up operations here in 1983. During the 1990ies, the Ministry for Justice (1994) and the Ministry for the Interior (1999) took up own headquarters in the newly constructed government district. Since 1999, the complex has not only been home to the Saxon State Chancellery, but also to the Saxon State Ministry for Environment and Agriculture.



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