Arolsen Castle (Residenzschloss Arolsen)




Location: Bad Arolsen, Hesse Map

Built: early 18th century

Tel. +49 5691 895526

Official site


Description of Arolsen Castle


Arolsen Castle was constructed in the 18th century as a private residence of Waldeck and Pyrmont family.  The lands of Arolsen Castle were originally home to a medieval Catholic monastery, but after it was secularized it was abandoned by its former residents. Arolsen Castle was finally removed in 1710 to make room to a family house. Arolson Castle was home to several generations of this noble family. Also it was a birth place of Queen consort Emma of Netherlands (2 August 1858 – 20 March 1934). Today the mansion is open to the public. It is notable for its huge library that is known as "Prince Waldecksche Court Library" that was completed in 1840. It is famous for its extended collection of 18th century literature.



Previous construction
In 1131 the parish village of Arolsen (or at that time still "Aroldessen") was first mentioned on the occasion of the foundation of the Augustinian convent Aroldessen. As with many castles, the previous building of today's residential palace was a monastery. From 1526 to 1530 it was owned by Count Philip III. von Waldeck-Eisenberg repealed and secularized and then converted into a castle by him. This castle and the remains of the monastery were finally demolished in 1710.

Construction and history of the new castle
At the same place, builder Julius Ludwig Rothweil the Elder built Ä. The new palace based on the Versailles model from 1710 to 1728 for Count Friedrich Anton Ulrich von Waldeck and Pyrmont. In 1711 the count was raised to the hereditary prince status. Inspired by this elevation, the main work on the building complex in Arolsen took place in the years 1713 to 1722. In 1719 the exterior construction with the two gables on the courtyard side and then in 1720 that of the garden side was completed. On September 13, 1720, Friedrich Anton Ulrich and his wife, Louise von Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld, moved into the castle. It was not until 1725 that the inner and outer courtyard wings with enclosures and guard houses were built.

After the completion of the main building in 1728, the establishment, equipment and furnishing took several decades until the castle was finally handed over to its use. In 1728, Karl of Waldeck and Pyrmont became the ruling prince; he had the two apartments redesigned by the prince and princess. Since then, the Arolsen Mint has been housed in the west wing. In 1740 the rooms in the inner west wing were still furnished in Baroque style, but after 1746 the Princess's audience room was furnished in a more contemporary Rococo style. In 1751 the music room was redesigned and finally the two wings in the attic were expanded in 1745 (??). From 1749 to 1758 the royal stables and 1755 to 1761 the government house of Friedrich Franz Rothweil the Elder. J. built. From 1763 to 1778 the nearby "New Castle" was completed as a widow's seat (Wittumspalais). From 1809 to 1811, the state master builder Theodor Escher set up the “Great Hall”.

Emma von Waldeck and Pyrmont, who later became Queen of the Netherlands, was born on August 2, 1858 in Arolsen Castle and married King Wilhelm III on January 7, 1879 in the castle chapel. the Netherlands.

The “Fürstlich Waldecksche Hofbibliothek”, established in 1840, now contains literature on almost all fields of knowledge relevant to the 18th century. The focus of the collection is on general, geography, history, literature and militaria. The basis of the library were the 400 works, manuscripts and prints that were transferred to the Waldeck House in 1576 when the Augustinian canons of Volkhardinghausen near Arolsen were abolished. The library currently has 35,000 volumes spread across five rooms. In addition, there are 300 maps, 500 copper engravings and several thousand individual engravings in the library.

Financial and constitutional consequences
The construction of the palace made excessive demands on the state finances of the small principality. After the establishment of the German Confederation, Waldeck was so indebted that it was unable to raise the federal government's contributions. The Landtag therefore enforced the accession agreement with Prussia in 1867, with which Waldeck lost a considerable part of its independence.

The last ruling prince, Friedrich zu Waldeck and Pyrmont, was deposed on November 13, 1918 by an ultimatum from the workers 'and soldiers' council who had traveled from Kassel. The negotiations about the division of property and the whereabouts of the princely family lasted until 1929. They ended with the establishment of the "Waldeckische Domanialverwaltung", an own operation of today's Waldeck-Frankenberg district, which took over most of the forest and the princely castles. In return, the princely family was granted a usufruct right to the Arolser Castle, the outbuildings and some agricultural areas and a forestry office was given. A non-profit family foundation was set up with the foundation of the Princely House of Waldeck and Pyrmont to maintain and maintain the castle inventory, the library and the art collections.

Todays use

In 2009 the renovation and restoration work that had been going on since 1987 was completed. Today the castle houses a museum of the Princely Foundation, which offers guided tours through the state rooms and salons, an exhibition on Waldeck military history, a municipal museum with changing exhibitions, a registry office, and it is still inhabited by the descendants of the princely family. In the summer months, the Arolser Baroque Festival is staged in the castle and castle concerts are given in the Stone Hall. The Adolf Brehm library, which is important in the German-speaking world, is located in part of the west wing.

The baroque staircase, the garden hall and the white hall are the dominant representative rooms. Inside, the ceilings were stuccoed by Julius Ludwig Rothweils the Elder. Ä. Andrea Gallasini ornately furnished in baroque style. The ceiling paintings from 1721 to 1722 are by the Italian painter Carlo Lodovico Castelli. In 1721 the Kassel painter Magnus de Quitter made the over-portals for the Palatinate Room and the Crown Prince's Room. Sculptures by Christian Daniel Rauch, Ernst Rietschel and Alexander Trippel adorn the rooms. The living rooms are furnished with valuable Dutch tapestries, furniture and paintings from the 18th century. The only oil painting by Heinrich Aldegrever, pictures by Martin van Meytens, Ziessens and Heinrich and Friedrich August Tischbeins can be found in Arolsen Castle. The most important painting is the work Iphigenie recognizes Orestes by Wilhelm Tischbein. The White Hall with a gallery is located above the garden hall. In a side wing there is an extensive library with old, historically significant book holdings, as well as a rich historical collection of graphics. An extensive collection of iron art castings is also exhibited in Arolsen Castle.

The French garden belonging to the castle no longer exists in its entirety. The small, circular boxwood rondel at the main portal has been preserved in a purely stylistic manner in French garden architecture. In 1992 Jeff Koons showed his work “Puppy”, a twelve-meter-high “puppy”, consisting of 17,000 flowers, in the boxwood rondel parallel to documenta IX. After modistic changes, an English garden with a pond from the 18th century is attached to the residential palace. The garden architectural design elements include an old avenue by the castle pond, which is still almost completely preserved today.

Farm buildings
The castle includes a farm yard with an orangery, a garden center and a riding hall built by Theodor Escher from 1819 to 1824.