German Chancellor Angela Merkel and South African President Jacob Zuma, before a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on Nov. 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was just named the Time Person of the Year, a nod to her role as the de facto head of the European Union and the leadership she showcased during a string of crises this year, working to resolve the Greek debt, attempting to manage a massive influx of refugees, and battling terrorism. As one of the world’s more powerful government leaders, Merkel wields influence across the continent, so it’s not surprising her official home reflects a certain pomp and circumstance. Those who view the White House or 10 Downing Street as impressive symbols of national power should check out the 129,166-square-foot German Chancellery, or Bundeskanzleramt, which contains government offices along with an official apartment for the Chancellor on the top floor. Bigger than the White House (which measures approximately 55,000 square feet), the building opened in 2001, and as one may expect for a project imbued with so much national significance and symbolism, it has its detractors. In fact, the German public has given it a handful of nicknames: Kohllosseum (a reference to Helmut Kohl, who held the office in the ’80s and ’90s), the Bundeswaschmaschine (which translates to the federal washing machine), or more bluntly, the Elefantenklo (elephant bathroom).