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Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall)

Freiburg has the great privilege of having several town halls. However, working out which one is which is not easy, given that the New Town Hall is older than the Old Town Hall, and the city’s oldest town hall is called the Gerichtslaube, or 'Old Court House'.

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But don't worry, we will do our best to clear up the confusion.

Gerichtslaube 1303 First town hall of Freiburg
Old Town Hall 1559 Offices of the city government since its completion
New Town Hall 1539–1545 Has been used as an additional town hall since 1891

The reason behind the unusual choice of names lies in the buildings' history. As far back as the late 15th century, King Maximilian I was complaining that the Gerichtslaube was too small and “awkward.” To resolve the lack of space, the Old Town Hall was completed in 1559 to accommodate most of the Freiburg city government. The use of the New Town Hall for city business is relatively recent, given that the University of Freiburg owned it until 1891. Despite its name, the New Town Hall is in fact the older of the two structures. Today, the city’s various government offices and divisions are divided between the two town halls. The rooms of the Gerichtslaube, the Old Court House, are used for official receptions. Tis should give you a basic overview.

The New Town Hall comprises two sumptuous Renaissance buildings joined together by a stately, gabled column entryway. The New Town Hall, as it now appears, dates back to the late 19th century, before which countless modifications were made to the structure. Large bay windows and balconies now adorn the whitewashed building. The interior of the New Town Hall is also a real gem. Elaborate wood carvings and ornamental plaster work on the ceilings create a romantic atmosphere in the spacious rooms. Freiburgers especially like to tie the knot in the former offices of the New Town Hall’s north wing.

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