Many visitors are quite astonished to hear that the magnificent building they are standing in front of is, actually, the "new" town hall. Its size and grand architectural style make it look more "historical", like a relict from more majestic times, when Hannover used to be a kingdom. The town hall itself was, however, ceremonially opened on 20 June 1913, after twelve years building time. "And it is all paid in cash, your Majesty", as the then mayor of Hannover, Heinrich Tramm , proudly announced to the emperor Wilhelm II, present at the opening ceremony. The proud figure of ten million Mark was the amount the municipality was willing to pay for its new splendid building, erected upon 6026 beech-tree piles. It was designed by the architects Eggert and Halmhuber.
The new town hall is the residence of the mayor, the head of the municipal administration. It is here, that the political bodies hold their sessions, receptions for official guests of the city and art exhibitions are held, the "Citizen's Office" is also here. The doors of the town hall are always wide open to all visitors. Four scale models of Hannover are on permanent display under the nearly one hundred metre high dome of the town hall lobby, showing the city as it was in the Middle Ages, before World War II , the destruction of 1945 and the townscape of today. These models are always immensely popular amongst the visitors.
But there is more to see. The Hodler Hall, for instance, with its monumental mural painting "Unanimity" by the Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler, depicting Hannover's conversion in the Reformation. Or the Mosaic Hall, where a procession of craftsmen is shown on three mosaic pictures, or the adjacent Ladies Hall with its noble decor. The richness of the materials used in the various rooms and hallways as well as the sculptures in the town hall are quite impressive.
The diagonal lift in the town hall's dome is unique in Europe. At a 15-degree angle it covers the 43 metres up to the gallery at the top of the dome. From this vantage point one can enjoy a marvellous view of the whole city, even as far as the Harz Mountains when visibility is good.
The town hall also houses a restaurant named the "Gartensaal" (Garden Hall) overlooking the pond right behind the town hall. It offers regional and international cuisine in a stylish atmosphere. In the summer the large patio is also available for guests of the restaurant, who wish to enjoy a good meal and the splendid view of the pond and park before them.