North Rhine-Westphalia came into being after Germany was restructured following WWII, and with more than 18 million people it is Germany’s most populous state. The state’s parliament building is the first completely new parliament building to be built in the history of the German Federal Republic. The parliament building (Landtag), which opened in 1988, represents the first time a German parliament designed its future home itself.
The building was designed to be comparatively modest. At 344 feet wide, 640 feet long, and 70 feet tall, the Landtag building is more noted for its interesting shape than its size. Right angles were consciously avoided. The circular meeting chamber, which holds 300 people, is located in the center of the building. Four rooms for the parliamentary parties form a circle off the chamber, with a lobby that both connects and separates the spaces. A great way to see the interesting architecture of the Landtag is from above. The Rheinturm (Rhein tower) provides sweeping views from its deck, and there are various cafes, bars, and a revolving restaurant there.
Tours of the Landtag are given at set times: you can visit at 9:15 a.m., 10:15 a.m., and 12:45 p.m. Tours are three hours in length. There is also a visitors’ center, open on the weekends, that offers a 45-minute tour every hour on the hour.