The clubhouse of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society
Harnack House was built in 1929 by the Kaiser Wilhelm Society as a facility to provide services on the Berlin-Dahlem research campus. The campus had been founded in 1911 far from the city gates. The lack of infrastructure became very apparent in the 1920s as the number of Institutes rose, employing more staff. Visiting scientists from abroad were also arriving in greater numbers. As there was little accommodation and no main lecture theatre in Dahlem, the need emerged for a central venue providing guest rooms, a restaurant, event facilities, lecture theatres and lounges for informal meetings.
The plan for international guest accommodation and a clubhouse was implemented in 1929 on the initiative of Adolf von Harnack, President of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, and his Secretary General Friedrich Glum. Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann, whose policy objectives focused on peace and international understanding in the face of stern opposition, also lent his support. He acknowledged that scientists could make a major contribution to achieving such goals.
Harnack House was opened in May 1929 as a place of science and international understanding. Stresemann himself gave one of the opening addresses. The plan proved a success and the venue subsequently became an international meeting place for intellectuals in Berlin. sk