The center can look back on a more than 30 year long history. Below you will find an overview of some of the most necessary events for the JDZB.
You can further find here the documentation for the "JDZB Donations for Japan" campaign, which took place after the triple catastrophe struck in the northeast of Japan, as well as further information about the JDZB's 30th anniversary.
|May 2015||Festive Lecture of Fmr. Federal President Christian WULFF to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Foundation JDZB|
|October 2010||Festive Lecture of Fmr. Chancellor Helmut SCHMIDT to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Foundation JDZB|
|April 2005||Ceremony to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Foundation JDZB|
|March 1998||Relocation of activities to Berlin-Dahlem|
|October 1997||Topping-out ceremony for the new building|
|November 1995||Ceremony to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Foundation JDZB|
|April 1988||Commencement of full business duties|
|November 1987||Official opening of the building|
|February 1986 to March 1988||Reconstruction of the former Japanese Embassy building in Berlin-Tiergarten|
|January 15, 1985||Establishment of the Foundation Japanese-German Center Berlin (Japanisch-Deutsches Zentrum Berlin)|
In November 1983, Federal Chancellor Helmut KOHL paid an official visit to Japan and former Prime Minister NAKASONE Yasuhiro. During the visit, both heads of government agreed to establish a forum for European-Japanese encounters in order to give the opportunity for dialogue and cooperation to scientists, entrepreneurs and other representatives from both countries and cultures. The significance of this agreement was the decision to choose Berlin as the location, because even then it was intended that Central and Eastern Europe were to be included in the dialogue.
Many suggestions were made during a symposium held in Kyôto on potential ideas for the project that were later to be implemented by the Japanese-German Center Berlin (Japanisch-Deutsches Zentrum Berlin JDZB) and then consolidated in the Foundation’s guidelines. The Japanese side provided funds for an evaluation of the project. As a side event to the economic summit of 1984 in London, both heads of government agreed to initiate a mixed German-Japanese commission that would meet in autumn of the same year in Berlin and Tôkyô in order to work out the basics of an agreement. The German-Japanese government treaty was signed on March 1, 1985, following the establishment of the Foundation JDZB in the same year. According to this agreement, the Japanese side was obliged to make available the building of their former embassy in Berlin-Tiergarten, completely renovated, while the German side was to provide the foundation capital and both sides were to equally share the running costs. The City of Berlin acted on behalf of the Federal Government and set up an initial foundation capital of DM 15 million. In the spring of 1985, the Secretariat of the JDZB could begin its work in a temporary office located on Kurfürstendamm.
The Former Embassy Building in Tiergarten
The building of the Japanese Embassy, erected between 1938 and 1942 by architects Ludwig MOSHAMER and Caesar F. PINNAU, has a history of its own. It was built at its current location because the old Japanese embassy stood in the way of Speer’s plans to restructure the city, and because the Reich government wanted to concentrate the diplomatic corps in the Tiergarten area.
Although the building was damaged during the bombings and the fight for Berlin, the foundations of the building remained intact. During the post-war period it was used for a short time by the 'College of Optic and Photo Technology', but was otherwise left to decay. During the mid 70s, the wish was expressed during the International Building Exhibition to restore life into the southern area of Tiergarten. All of the countries that had buildings in this area were asked whether and in what way they wished to retain the sites, and if they had any intentions to re-occupy the buildings. This wish was also presented to the Japanese government by Federal Chancellor Helmut SCHMIDT during his visit to Tôkyô in 1978. Except for the Italian embassy’s building which was to be used as the Italian Consulate General and the temporary abode of the Center for Advanced Studies Berlin, Japan was the only country to react positively to this appeal.
The Foundation moves in
Construction could begin. The hope that substantial parts of the building remained intact was after closer inspection unrealistic. The chancellery wing was in reasonable condition but the main building had to be torn down and was then rebuilt according to the plans of architects KUROKAWA Kishô und YAMAGUCHI Taiji. A Japanese landscape garden was created behind the building. The Japanese government provided DM 30 million for the reconstruction of the building between 1986 and 1988. A further DM 15 million was raised by the Japanese-German Society Tôkyô and its President MARUTA Yoshio through donations from Japanese companies. In spring 1987, in the presence of the President of the Berlin Chamber of Deputies, Hanna Renate LAURIEN, the topping-out ceremony was celebrated. In November of the same year, on the occasion of the celebrations of the 750th anniversary of the City of Berlin, the building was officially opened accompanied by several symposiums, concerts, an exhibition and a ceremony attended by the Crown Prince of Japan, His Imperial Highness Prince NARUGITO, acting Federal President, Bernhard VOGEL, and the Vice President of the European Commission, Dr. Karl-Heinz NARJES. In the spring of 1988 the JDZB was fully operational, and the first symposia and conferences as well as exhibitions and concerts took place. With an "Open Day" as well as other public events, the JDZB made efforts to become a place of encounters not only for experts, but also for interested Berlin public and Japanese expatriates. The embassy building in the Tiergartenstraße remained the Foundation’s workplace for more than ten years.
The Move to Dahlem
After the decision in 1991 by the Federal Parliament to relocate from Bonn to Berlin, it was foreseeable that the days of the JDZB at its present site were numbered because with the move of the seat of government, it was clear that the Japanese Embassy would also follow suit and move into the building in Berlin-Tiergarten. In the search for a new location, a suitable site was found with a block of land owned by the Federal Republic of Germany that had the building of the American Forces Officers’ Club, located in the Saargemünder Straße 2 in Berlin-Dahlem. The new JDZB is easily reached by public transport with its prime location directly opposite the subway station Oskar-Helene-Heim on Clayallee, 10 km away from the city center; it is in close vicinity to the Free University of Berlin and the seat of the Max Planck Association in Harnackhaus.
A new administrative wing, two storeys high with an underground cellar, was erected to accommodate the offices of the 24 staff members. It covers an area of approximately 550m². The two buildings are connected by a single storey foyer. The small pine forest located on the street side of the building is a remnant of the old Grunewald forest. The design of the outer complex was completed in the summer of 1999.
After the construction work had begun in March 1997 and the topping-out ceremony on October 27, 1997, the building was completed on schedule, allowing the Foundation to move in during the last week of March 1998. In June 1998, the new JDZB building was officially opened in a ceremony attended by the founding father of the Foundation, former Japanese Prime Minister NAKASONE Yasuhiro.