World’s biggest intelligence headquarters opens in Berlin

New home for Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service took 12 years and €1bn to build


No mobile phones. No private laptops. No checking personal emails or social media. And at the end of the day, all access cards must be locked in a safe.

More than €1bn (£870m) and 12 years after construction began, Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) has officially opened its new Berlin home, the world’s biggest intelligence headquarters with a footprint the size of 36 football pitches.

The building, close to the route of the former Berlin Wall, is one of Germany’s most secretive spaces, with strict security rules governing what employees there can and cannot do.

Angela Merkel visited the headquarters on Friday and spoke of the BND’s history and the important role it plays. “In an often very confusing world,” the chancellor said, “now, more urgently than ever, Germany needs a strong and efficient foreign intelligence service.”

The site previously housed police barracks, destroyed during the second world war. It then became the site of an East German sports stadium, demolished as part of Germany’s bid to host the 2000 Olympics.

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