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The BBC's Peter Morgan in Berlin
"Mr. Schroeder and his wife do not like the sheer scale of the place"
 real 56k

Meike Bruhns, Berliner Zeitung newspaper
"Downing street could fit into one of the side wings"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 2 May, 2001, 10:50 GMT 11:50 UK
Schroeder gets new home
The Chancellery in Berlin
The building contains nearly 400 offices
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has moved to his controversial new official residence, the Chancellery building in Berlin, almost two years after the city became the seat of the German Government.

Built at a cost of more than $20m, the new Chancellery lies in the heart of the rebuilt government quarter next to the parliament building, the Reichstag.

Mr Schroeder - like many Germans - has expressed doubts about the sheer scale of the structure, which has been dubbed The Washing Machine, with almost 400 offices located within two imposing wings.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (centre) in front of the new Chancellery
Mr Schroeder has been critical of the building
The BBC's Berlin correspondent says there is considerable hostility in Germany to anything which implies that the country is big and powerful and inclined to exert its influence in Europe.

Mr Schroeder officially receives the key to the new building on Wednesday, when the first Cabinet meeting takes place there.

As one of his first visitors, Mr Schroeder met with the Chancellery architect Axel Schultes.

Countering criticism

Mr Schultes has countered the criticism of those who say the white concrete building is too large.

Mr Schroeder himself has joked that the massive dimensions of the new residence seemed better suited to his bulky predecessor, Helmut Kohl, who commissioned it.

Along with Mr Schroeder, 510 Chancellery workers have moved in to their 370 offices in the 19,000 square-metre (205,000 square foot) building.

The new building is part of the rebuilt government quarter in Berlin, where the capital returned in summer 1999, around the landmark Reichstag parliament building.

Mr Schroeder had previously been working out of the building in eastern Berlin used by the leaders of East Germany.

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See also:

02 May 01 | Europe
Berlin protests turn to violence
30 Apr 01 | Europe
Schroeder EU vision causes stir
07 Sep 99 | Europe
Reichstag reopens in Berlin
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