An embassy is a diplomatic representation of a state at the seat of government of another state. More diplomatic missions alongside embassies are still permanent missions, embassies, high commissions and Nunciatures. From diplomatic missions consular posts are to be distinguished.

  • 5.1 embassies in Germany
  • 5.2 Embassies of the Federal Republic of
  • 7.1 Germany
  • 7.2 Austria
  • 7.3 Switzerland

The object of the message

Mission of the ambassador is to represent his state against the host country to report on conditions in the host country of his reign, as well as to maintain the inter-state relations with the institutions of the host country if possible and develop.

The diplomatic representation can ( for example, the issuance of visas for foreigners and the issuing of passports for their own citizens) are entrusted with the exercise of consular functions.

Construction and type a message

A message consists of the Chancellery and the residence. The firm 's management, and how each authority is divided into different departments. The residence is the residence of the ambassador and his family. It also serves as the official representation at official receptions at different occasions and is for small messages usually housed together in one building with the law firm, for large messages, however, in its own building and, not infrequently, in another part of town.

The firm is usually out of the political department and other departments, such as the commercial department, military department, Cultural Department or press department. As far as consular duties are performed by the message, there is also a Consular. In general, the message takes consular duties only for a part of the territory of the host country. For the rest of it is here where necessary by other consulates (Consulate-General, Vice- consulates and honorary consulates ) in other cities of the host country.


The Foreign Service of the Federal Republic of Germany consists of the Foreign Office and the foreign missions ( diplomatic and consular ), which together form a unified supreme federal authority under the direction of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Since the student 's reforms of 1918/1919 provides a common career path for career diplomats and consular officers. Above all, the political department and the consular department staffed with officials of the Foreign Service. In other news departments ( commercial, military) officers and soldiers are sent by specialized departments or agencies of the messages for a certain time. During the posting period, the officers received a diplomatic status and official reports to the Foreign Office. Currently, Germany has 155 messages, which are responsible for the maintenance of diplomatic and consular relations with 195 states.

Furthermore, be entertained Permanent representations to intergovernmental and supranational organizations. Particularly important permanent representations are built in the European Union, to NATO and at the United Nations. For the relations with the GDR was also a permanent representation.


The object of the diplomatic missions of the Holy See (ie the Pope as subject of international law ), which also represent the interests of the State of Vatican City, take the Apostolic Nunciature true. In many countries, the nuncio shall perform the duties of the Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps.

European Union

The European Union ( EU) has 130 foreign representatives, called the delegation. The EU delegations meet for the European Union a function similar messages for nation-states.


Another special form for the diplomatic missions of States of the Commonwealth of Nations. This had the title High Commissions ( High Commission ). Historically this is due to the fact that the British monarch was head of state of all the newly independent countries of the former British Empire at the same time. The head of this diplomatic missions High Commissioners (High Commissioner) are therefore formally appointed by the respective governments. The practice not to exchange ambassadors with each other, to practice ( eg, Malaysia, Brunei ) in the Commonwealth of Nations from the republics (eg India, Trinidad & Tobago) and other monarchies. With non- Commonwealth States ambassador to be replaced.

Historical Development

After the Vienna Congress directed the five great powers of the 19th century, France, Great Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia, embassies in the capitals of the other Great Powers a. The diplomatic missions of the smaller states as well as the representatives of the Great Powers in the smaller states, however, were called legations.

With the appreciation of an embassy to embassy the increased power position of the state was also recognized diplomatically. For example, the Japanese embassy in Germany in 1906 as well as the German embassy in Tokyo applicable to the embassy. By 1914, the German embassies in Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United States were converted into messages.

In the 1950s and 1960s, most previous legations were upgraded to embassies, so that nowadays receive all messages from all states of the same rank of protocol. But note the institute of the Permanent Representation, which is distinguished from the term "message".


The grounds on which an embassy is located, is under special protection under international law ( Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Article 22), so that the host country has not entered the embassy grounds without the consent of the Heads of Mission to browse or may carry out seizures or arrests. Although the site of the embassy is not extraterritorially, but the message and their diplomats enjoy diplomatic protection and diplomatic privileges.

For details on the legal status of the mission building → ​​see main article diplomatic status.

The rules applicable to embassies rights are occasionally utilized by citizens, which a departure is denied in the embassy country. In 2003 there was, for example, in China's capital Beijing several times to escapes of North Koreans who were on a visit to China and so, mostly successfully, about the messages ( also German ) were able to escape to South Korea. In German history in 1989, the West German embassies played a very important role in Budapest, Warsaw and Prague. The first Hungarian government allowed in September GDR citizens who had taken refuge on the grounds of the West German embassy, to emigrate to the West. A few weeks later, hundreds of refugees who persevered in the German embassy in Prague proclaim, Hans -Dietrich Genscher in October 1989 that their departure had been allowed. Already in the years before it was isolated to message occupations in Warsaw and East Berlin ( Permanent Mission ), which were usually handled discreetly.

Since 2000, Berlin has to " All Nations Festival " the opportunity to visit a number of messages from the inside.