Whether it’s a king, queen, emperor, sultan or a president, every country has its head of state. And every head of state has its official residence. Often, the Head of state residences are an important part of the country´s history and culture, possibly serving as the seat of the country´s top representatives for centuries. While there are many head of state residences that are famous all over the world, there might be even more of those that are – often totally undeservedly – not so well known. To see where some of the world´s most significant politicians live or work, check out these 25 most impressive head of state residences.
Stockholm Palace, Sweden
Completed in 1760, the Stockholm Palace is the official residence and major royal palace of the Swedish King. Situated in Stockholm, the Sweden´s capital, the palace is 230 meters (750 feet) long and 125 meters (410 feet) wide, which makes it one of the largest official residences in the world. Owned by the Swedish State through the National Property Board of Sweden, the palace has over 1,400 rooms.
Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Netherlands
With a total floor area of over 22,000 square meters (almost 240,000 square feet), the Royal Palace of Amsterdam is just one of three palaces that serve as the seat of the Netherland´s monarch. Built in 1665, the palace was originally intended to be a city hall but later became a royal palace. Situated on the west side of Dam Square in the center of the city, the palace is open to the public.
Presidential Office Building, Taiwan
Although located in Taipei, which is the capital of Taiwan, the Presidential Office Building houses the Office of the President of China. Completed in 1919, the building was designed by Japanese architect Uheiji Nagano during the period of the Japanese rule over Taiwan. The 130 meter-wide (almost 430 feet) facade of the palace faces east since Japanese architects often oriented important structures towards the rising sun.
Royal Palace of Madrid, Spain
Built on the site of a 9th-century fortress, the Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family. However, it is only used for state ceremonies since King Felipe VI and the Royal Family do not reside in the palace. Instead, their residence lies in the more modest Palacio de la Zarzuela. With a total floor area of 135,000 square meters (1,450,000 sq mi), the Royal Palace of Madrid is the largest palace in Europe by floor area.
Casa Rosada, Argentina
Translated as “The Pink House”, Casa Rosada is the residence and office of the President of Argentina. Also housing a museum, which contains objects relating to former presidents of Argentina, Casa Rosada is one of the most iconic and popular sites in Buenos Aires. Completed in 1898, the construction has also been declared a National Historic Monument of Argentina.
Grand Palace, Thailand
Situated in the center of Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, the Grand Palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam (and later Thailand) since 1782. Based on a roughly rectangular plan, it is a giant complex that occupies a total area of almost 220,000 square meters (2,350,000 sq ft). The present Thai monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), currently resides at Chitralada Palace, but the Grand Palace is still used for official events.
Prague Castle, Czech Republic
The most important symbol of Prague as well as the Czech Republic, the Prague Castle is the official residence and office of the Czech President and a place where the Czech Crown Jewels are kept and guarded. Dating back to as early as the 9th century, the castle has been a seat of power for Czech kings, Holy Roman emperors, and presidents of both Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic after the country split in 1993. With its area of almost 70,000 square meters (over 750,000 sq ft), it is the largest ancient castle in the world.
Presidential Palace, Lithuania
Located in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, the Presidential Palace is the office and eventual official residence of the President of Lithuania. The construction of the building started in the 14th century but it was not completely finished until 1834. During its history, the palace has undergone many various reconstructions and it was not until 1997 when the palace became the official seat of the President of Lithuania.
Flagstaff House, Ghana
Officially inaugurated in November 2008, the Flagstaff House is the presidential palace in Accra (the capital of Ghana), which serves as a residence and office to the President of Ghana. In 1966, soldiers stormed the Flagstaff House as part of a military coup ousting Ghana’s First President Kwame Nkrumah, an influential advocate of Pan-Africanism, in a coup allegedly supported by the CIA.
Élysée Palace, France
Located near the legendary Paris Avenue Champs-Élysées, the Élysée Palace has been the official residence of the President of the French Republic since 1848. Constructed in the French classical style in the first half of the 18th century, the palace is one of the most important national symbols of France. However, it’s only open to the public once a year, during the European Heritage Days in mid-September.
Moscow Kremlin, Russia
Also known as “the Kremlin“, the Moscow Kremlin is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow that serves as the official residence of the President of Russia. Based on a triangular plan and occupying an area of 275,000 square meters (68 acres), the complex also includes five palaces and four cathedrals.
Quirinal Palace, Italy
Located on the highest of the seven hills of Rome, the Quirinal Palace is the current official residence of the President of Italy. With an enormous area of 110,500 square meters (almost 1.2 million sq ft), it’s the 6th biggest palace in the world, as well as the largest residence of a Head of State. Compared to the White House, the Quirinal Palace is 20 times larger. Since 1583 when it was built, the palace has housed 30 popes, 4 kings and 11 Italian presidents.
Buckingham Palace, England
Situated in the City of Westminster, an inner London borough, the Buckingham Palace is the residence and principal workplace of the monarchy of the United Kingdom. The Buckingham Palace became the principal royal residence in 1837, on the accession of Queen Victoria, who was the first monarch to reside there. Covering over 77,000 square meters (almost 830,000 sq ft), the palace has 775 rooms.
Rashtrapati Bhavan, India
Located in New Delhi, India, Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official home of the President of India. The President lives in the main 340-room mansion but the complex also includes huge presidential gardens (Mughal Gardens), large open spaces, residences of bodyguards and staff, stables, other offices and utilities within its perimeter walls. In terms of area, it is the second largest residence of a Head of State in the world after the Quirinal Palace in Rome.
Royal Palace of Brussels, Belgium
Situated in the center of Brussels, the Belgium capital, the Royal Palace of Brussels is the official seat of the Belgian Royal Family. However, it’s not used as an actual royal residence, as the king and his family live in the Royal Palace of Laeken on the outskirts of Brussels. Yet, this impressive building, whose construction took over 150 years, ranks among major Brussels´ tourists attraction and can be visited free of charge every summer from July 22 to September 7.
Palácio da Alvorada, Brazil
Built between 1957 and 1958, Palácio da Alvorada, the official seat of the President of Brazil, is one the world´s youngest and most modern residences of a head of state. Designed by Oscar Niemeyer, the building occupies a total floor area of 7,300 square meters (79,000 square feet). A popular Brazilian tourist attraction, Palácio da Alvorada is also listed as a National Historic Heritage Site.
Istana Nurul Iman Palace, Brunei
Located on the banks of the Brunei River, a few kilometers south of Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei’s capital, the Istana Nurul Iman Palace is the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei. Translated as “The Palace of the Light of Faith“, the palace contains almost 1,800 rooms and occupies a total floor space of 200,000 square meters (over 2 million square feet).
Royal Palace, Norway
Situated in Asker, a municipality west of Oslo, the Royal Palace is the official residence of the Norwegian monarch. Designed by Hans Linstow, a Danish-born Norwegian architect, the palace has 173 rooms and was built in the first half of the 19th century as the Norwegian residence of King Charles III. Currently, it’s home to Harald V of Norway and his wife Queen Sonja of Norway.
Built in 1864, Dar-al-Makhzen is the primary and official residence of the king of Morocco. Although Moroccan kings had many residences at their disposal when independence was declared in 1956 (before that the country was under French control), they chose to keep the Dâr-al-Makhzen palace as the main palace for the monarch. There are extensive gardens and grounds surrounding the palace, which are marked by French formality and decorated with traditional Arabic motifs.
Government Palace, Peru
Also known as the House of Pizarro, the Government Palace was the seat of the Peruvian government headquarters and it currently serves as the official residence of the country´s President. Built by Francisco Pizarro, a Spanish conquistador, over a huge Indian burying ground in the first half of the 16th century, the palace lies on the north side of the Plaza Mayor in Lima.
Akorda Presidential Palace, Kazakhstan
Located in the capital city of Astana, the Akorda Presidential Palace is the official workplace of the President of Kazakhstan. While it houses the staff of the Presidential Administration, the palace is not the President’s place of residence. The palace´s height (including the spire) is 80 meters (260 feet), which makes it one the tallest buildings on this list.
An example of British-Moghul architecture, Bangabhaban is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of Bangladesh. Located in the capital city of Dhaka, the palace covers 6,700 square meters (72,000 square feet). Built in the first half of the 20th century, the complex consists of the main, three-story building and an extensive greenery found outside.
Royal Palace, Cambodia
Preah Barum Reachea Veang Chaktomuk Serei Mongkol by its full Khmer name, the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh is a complex of buildings that serve as the official residence of the king of Cambodia. The country´s kings have lived in the palace since it was built in 1866, with a period of absence when Cambodia came into turmoil during and after the reign of the Khmer Rouge. A popular tourist attraction and a great example of Khmer architecture, the palace covers an area of 175,000 square meters (1.9 million sq ft).
Presidential Palace, Poland
Since 1643 when it was built, the Presidential Palace in Warsaw; the Polish capital, has been rebuilt many times and has served many purposes. It used to be the seat of the Viceroy of the Polish Kingdom under Russian occupation. Later, it became the residence of the Council of Ministers; and during World War II it even served German occupiers. It wasn’t until July 1994 when the palace finally became the official seat of the President of Poland.
Bellevue Palace, Germany
In the same year, 1994, the Bellevue Palace, which is situated on the banks of the Spree River near the Berlin Victory Column, became the official residence of the President of Germany. However, the construction of the palace began in 1785. Designed by architect Michael Philipp Boumann, the Bellevue Palace is one of Germany´s greatest examples of neoclassical architectural.