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The Felleshus – or pan-nordic building – is the cultural centre and event venue of the five Nordic embassies (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden). It is open to the general public and the site of exhibitions and readings, concerts, film screenings, lectures and conferences. You can learn more about the Nordic countries, have a bite to eat in our canteen, excellent coffee at our Kaffebar, or enjoy the view of the inner courtyard and the individual embassy buildings from the foyer.
»Each autonomous, and yet together.« At the inauguration of the Nordic Embassies in autumn 1999 Queen Margrethe II of Denmark formulated this motto for the future cooperation of the five Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. However, it was not merely a wish regarding the future in the common embassy complex. Looking back in retrospect, this motto reflects the longstanding relationship of the Nordic countries over decades and even centuries, out of which this common building emerged as a logical development. The cooperation was initiated not out of necessity but rather out of a sense of a common heritage, common languages and shared values and convictions – a unique project worldwide.
The design, which won the Austrian-Finnish office Berger+Parkkinen the international architecture competition in 1995 for the overall concept of the site, perfectly captures the idea of a strong community built of pure individuals. The copper band, which has since become a famous landmark in Berlin, encompasses the Felleshus (Pan-Nordic Building) and the five embassies, each of which were designed quite distinctively by architects of the respective countries. The houses are arranged according to their location on the map. Even the North and Baltic Seas are represented by three water basins between the buildings. Thus, you only need to take a few steps to feel that you really are in another country – without ever leaving »the North«.
For the general public, the »Felleshus« (Pan-Nordic Building) offers concerts, readings, film screenings, conferences, exhibitions, a spacious terrace, a cafeteria, and the Kaffebar. The consular departments of Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden are also housed here. (Read the architects' statement.)
Adjacent to the Felleshus is the prize-winning Embassy of Finland. The glass building, designed by VIIVA Arkkitehtuuri Oy, Helsinki, is enveloped by horizontal slats of larch wood. The ground floor features a typical Finnish facility that one wouldn’t expect to find in an embassy: two saunas for guests and staff.
Behind the Finnish Embassy, the Swedish Embassy is open to the plaza through large expanses of glass. The architect Gert Wingårdh also designed some of the furnishings for the embassy. On the street side, the lamellas of the copper band are open, allowing the birch-panelled walls and the spiral staircase to be seen from the outside.
The Royal Norwegian Embassy was designed by the architectural firm Snøhetta A/S, Oslo. The most prominent feature of the triangular edifice is a massive slab of granite in front of the narrow south side of the building. The monolith, which weighs in at 120 tonnes, comes from Idde Fjord in Østfold and brings a piece of the fjord landscape to Berlin.
The Embassy of Iceland, designed by architect Palmar Kristmundsson of PK Arkitektar, Reykjavík, is the smallest of the buildings. With its facade facing the plaza made of red liparit from the east coast of Iceland, it is a colourful eye-catcher. Sections of sanded, ribbed concrete serve as a unifying visual element of the building. These are a reference to the corrugated metal roofs that cover many Icelandic houses.
The Royal Danish Embassy, directly opposite the Felleshus, is the only building to feature an open glass facade facing Rauchstraße. In contrast, the architects 3XNielsen A/S of Århus designed the facade facing the plaza to be clad with perforated stainless steel panels.