As was the case with the Maison de l’Italie, the Maison de l’Allemagne had a delayed opening at the Cité internationale due to the political context of the interwar period, then the Second World War. However, contacts were established in 1927. Albert Speer, Hitler’s architect, was chosen to create a German pavilion at the Cité internationale, but André Honnorat was able to delay it under the aegis of Nazism.
It wasn’t until the 1950s that the project was realised thanks to university students who formed a support committee. The donation act was signed in 1953 and the house was inaugurated in 1956 in the presence of René Coty, the president of the French Republic. The house was the first official representation of Germany in France.
The house holds the status of a foundation and is recognised as a public utility of which the board of directors is chaired by the German ambassador in France.
The building, which is distinguished by its radicality and transparency, is made up of a four-levelled volume, preceded by a low building that houses the entrance hall, the conference room and the library and on the garden level a cafeteria that is open to the general public, music studios and a bar that is reserved for residents. It was one of the most modern constructions of its time thanks to the very original combination of concrete, steel, glass and natural stone used both on the exterior and the interior. The rooms all have a small balcony with a metal rail and glass wall, bringing life to the façade and recalling the accommodation of the Bauhaus school built by Gropuis in Dessau in 1925.
August Rucker, from the university of Munich, launched a competition to choose the architect who would be entrusted with the Maison de l’Allemagne. Johannes Krahn was chosen unanimously by the jury. He had already realised several public facilities in Germany, as well as abroad, and had especially distinguished himself after the war by constructing official buildings.
In 1973, the maison Allemagne was renamed “Maison Heinrich Heine” in memory of the famous 19th century German poet and writer who was exiled to and died in Paris, whose work illustrates the rich intellectual exchange between the two countries. This symbolic dimension has materialised over the years, the house is always distinguishable with nearly 200 events every year, by its cultural and intellectually rich and varied programme. The house has a library with around 20,000 volumes, 90% of which are in German. It has 104 rooms.
Thomas von Danwitz, doctorate (1988) and accredited in law (1996, university of Bonn), ENA (1990). He is the professor of German and European public law (Bochum then Cologne), visiting professor at Tours and Paris I, honorary doctor at the university of Tours. Since 2006 he has been a judge at the Court of Justice for the European Union.