Herrenchiemsee Palace





Location: 60 km (37 mi) South- east of Munich, Bavaria     Map

Construction: 19th century by King Ludwig II of Bavaria


Description of Herrenchiemsee Palace

Herrenchiemsee Palace is situated 60 km (37 mi) South- east of Munich, capital of Bavaria region of Germany. The estate of Herrenchiemsee Palace was constructed in 19th century by King Ludwig II of Bavaria on an Herreninsel island in the Chiemsee lake. Today it is accessible by a ferry that brings tourists here. This Baroque palace was modelled after a palace in Versailles of French king Louis XIV. It was designed by Georg von Dollmann, Christian Jank and Franz Seitz. The mansion was unfinished when Ludwig II died in a freak accident and drowned in the lake in 1886. Parts of the wing were later demolished. However the gardens that surrounded the palace was increased in 1876 under supervision of Court Garden Director Carl von Effner.


Historical overview
History of the castle grounds and drafts
The island of Herrenchiemsee, also known as Herreninsel and Herrenwörth, has been owned by the Herrenchiemsee Monastery, which belongs to the Chiemsee diocese, since the Middle Ages. The convent buildings are in the northern part of the island. Through the secularization that followed in 1803 and the subsequent sale of the monastery, they came to the Mannheim merchant Carl von Lüneschloß. Some of the former monastery buildings were demolished in the following years and some of them were remodeled into the so-called Old Herrenchiemsee Palace. The castle and the island were owned by the Count von Hunoltstein from 1840 to 1870, who put the property up for sale in 1870. The buyer was a timber processing company based in Württemberg, which sought to cut down all of the island's trees. The measures met with rejection from the population and met with violent opposition in the regional press, which made the Bavarian King Ludwig II aware of the island.

The young king undertook a long trip to France in the summer of 1867, on which a visit to Versailles Palace was planned as a highlight. Due to the sudden death of his uncle Otto, Ludwig II was forced to return without having seen the castle, the history of which he had been intensively concerned with for years. In December 1868 he had Georg von Dollmann submit his first drafts for a refuge modeled on the French castle, for which the Graswang valley near Linderhof Castle was intended as a building site. This project was called Meicost Ettal or Tmeicos Ettal, which is an anagram of the alleged motto of the French King Louis XIV: "L’État, c’est moi" (I am the state).

Ludwig II had the drafts for the castle project revised several times. At the beginning of the planning, the king wanted a pavilion, the size of which was based on the Trianon castles or Marly-le-Roi, but should already contain a scaled-down copy of the Hall of Mirrors and the Versailles garden facade. However, the presented designs did not satisfy Ludwig II and became more complex with each revision. Due to the lack of space in the Graswang valley, the palace could not be realized there to the extent that was ultimately desired and the king put the plans on hold in favor of the expansion of Linderhof.

After another planned trip to France in 1870 had to be canceled due to the unstable political situation - that year the Franco-German War broke out - Ludwig II finally visited Versailles in the summer of 1874 August with a demonstration of the Versailles water games. Impressed by the visit, he wrote to Count Dürckheim-Montmartin in autumn 1874:

"... like a wonderful dream I remember my trip to France, which finally saw, adored Versailles."

After the visit, Ludwig II, who had never lost interest in Meicost Ettal, pushed the project forward again. The year before, the king had already acquired the Herreninsel in the Chiemsee for 350,000 guilders. Although the flat lake landscape of the Chiemgau appealed to him less than the mountain world of Linderhof, the island proved to be the ideal location for the resumption of the construction project due to its size and relative isolation. During the planning process, the initial pavilion for the Graswang valley was transformed into a single-winged, then horseshoe-shaped building, citing the Corps de Logis of Versailles, and finally an extensive variant of the French palace with broadly projecting side wings. The plans for the new castle developed by Dollmann went through a total of 13 drafts.

The castle under Ludwig II.
The foundation stone for the New Palace was laid on May 21, 1878. In order to be able to inspect the work during the construction phase, the king stayed at the old castle Herrenchiemsee at irregular intervals, where he had a small apartment furnished for this purpose. After a first visit to the island in 1875, he returned to the handover of the recently completed magnificent bedroom in 1881 and from then until 1885 spent a few days in the autumn of each year on Herrenchiemsee.


The so-called Sun King Ludwig XIV, the builder of the Versailles Palace, was the great idol of the Bavarian king. Just as the “Knight's Castle” Neuschwanstein Castle was reminiscent of the world of the Middle Ages and the works of Richard Wagner, the New Herrenchiemsee Palace was intended as a memorial to the French Bourbon kings. In the view of the king, both castles were symbolic of the divine right that he had transfigured, the unrestricted rulership legitimized by the Christian God, which Ludwig II did not have as head of state of a constitutional monarchy. Similar to Neuschwanstein a few years earlier, Herrenchiemsee Palace was neither intended to serve as the seat of government nor to host a court. Despite its size, it was only planned as the private residence of the withdrawn king, who mostly had only a few servants to look after himself and who had government work done largely by his court secretaries. The new palace on Herreninsel thus stood in contrast to the original, Versailles, which was inhabited by several thousand people, in which there was no privacy and which formed the social, cultural and political center of France for more than 100 years.

The early death of Ludwig II in the summer of 1886 prevented him from being able to use the palace, which had been built at enormous expense, on a permanent basis. The king did not live in the castle until his private living quarters had been completed and stayed there for only a few days from September 7 to 16, 1885. During this time he received the actress Marie Dahn-Hausmann as a guest. The visits of the king required extensive organization; the hall of mirrors had to be illuminated for him every evening and the staircase decorated with lush flower arrangements. Painted canvases hid the unfinished areas of the gardens and the undeveloped rooms of the castle interior.

Herrenchiemsee Palace was the most expensive of the palaces of Ludwig II, who financed his buildings with his private fortune, the income from his civil list, the subsidies following the Kaiserbrief and, ultimately, with numerous loans. The cost estimates for the castle originally amounted to 5.7 million marks, but by the time the king died, the expenses almost tripled, to 16.6 million marks. This made Herrenchiemsee more expensive than Linderhof and Neuschwanstein combined, for which a total of around 6.7 million were estimated and finally 14.7 million marks were spent. The cost of the magnificent bedroom alone amounted to 384,000 guilders and more than 4.5 kilograms of gold leaf were used in the interior. The high debts brought the king to the brink of bankruptcy and, in connection with his increasing reluctance to run the government, finally led to his dismissal in 1886. The often made claim that Ludwig II ruined the Bavarian state budget with his castles is untrue. In fact, the numerous orders for the royal buildings even boosted the Bavarian economy. As far as possible, most of the orders were placed within the kingdom, which made Munich one of the leading centers of handicrafts in the German-speaking world.

Public use of the castle
Ludwig II. Never wanted to make Herrenchiemsee Palace, like his other buildings, accessible to the public and wanted the palaces to be destroyed after his death. However, the estate administration opened the buildings just a few weeks after the king's death and released them for inspection in August 1886. The building, which only served as a royal residence for a few days, has never played an important role in the history of Bavaria; it has been used almost continuously as a museum since it opened. After the end of the monarchy, the palace was handed over to the so-called administration of the former crown property in 1918, from which the Bavarian palace administration emerged in 1932. The New Palace, located far away from the theaters of war, survived the time of the world wars without being destroyed. In 1948 the constitutional convention to prepare the Basic Law met in the neighboring Old Palace.


Often referred to as the Bavarian Versailles, the palace, along with Linderhof and Neuschwanstein, is one of the most famous sights in Germany. In 2009 the three “Ludwig Castles” recorded a total of 2,131,482 visitors, while the New Herrenchiemsee Palace recorded 435,451 visitors. Between 1965 and 2006, the palace administration invested more than 53 million euros in the properties on the Herreninsel with the historic building stock. In 2011, Herrenchiemsee Palace was under the motto Götterdämmerung - King Ludwig II and his time in the focus of the Bavarian State Exhibition, in this context the marble courtyard has been restored since 2010 and new exhibition rooms have been set up in the unfinished north wing by 2011. 4.9 million euros were made available for the expansion of the north wing, which previously served as a depot area for the palace administration. The three royal palaces have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2008.

Herrenchiemsee Palace is open all year round. The suites of rooms set up under Ludwig II can be viewed as part of regular guided tours - the public tours do not include the peace and war rooms at the end of the mirror gallery and the small Marie Antoinette cabinet in the king's private living rooms. Several of the unfinished rooms of the south wing have housed a museum dedicated to King Ludwig II since 1987, which deals with the life of the king and his buildings in two thematic areas. One of the highlights of the exhibition is the king's first bedroom from Linderhof Palace, reconstructed with original parts, which was expanded there in 1884 in favor of the later larger bedroom. Herrenchiemsee Palace is also the annual venue for the Herrenchiemsee Festival in the large hall of mirrors. The Herreninsel can only be reached by water, the landing stage at the Old Castle is approached by passenger ships from Prien am Chiemsee.

Castle building
The drafts for the castle come from the plans of Georg von Dollmann, who was hired as the executive architect in 1878 and was replaced by Julius Hofmann in 1884. A sawmill powered by steam engines was set up on the east bank of the Herreninsel to support the construction work, and the construction material was transported via a specially laid auxiliary railway. The castle building is built from around eleven million bricks from a brick factory near Ising; the facades are plastered or clad with natural stone. Some of the required material could be obtained directly on the island from an earlier quarry of the monastery. In addition, Hauzenberger granite was used as base stones or as cladding for the substructure of the castle up to a height of approx. 1.5 m. This granite was transported by steam boats and barges from Seebruck to the depot on the “Ziegelsteg” on the west bank of the island and from there on to the construction site by light rail. Work on the three-wing main building began in the spring of 1878, the shell construction had already been roofed in January 1879 and by 1881 the outer façades could be clad with their architectural decorations and completed. The interior was expanded until 1885.

Exterior construction
The castle presents itself as a structure in simple basic forms. The building has three storeys and consists of three almost cuboid wings that enclose a court of honor in the shape of a horseshoe. The 23-axis central wing, which faces west towards the garden, is followed by the north and south wing, each with 18 axes.

The almost 100 meter wide garden fronts and the shorter side fronts almost exactly copy the model of the Corps de Logis of the Versailles Palace and thus follow the style of the Classicist Baroque. The block-like façades convey a strict impression with their slightly accentuated shape and are only loosened up by low projecting projections from the building. The ground floor is reserved with simple shapes, the upper floor with the state rooms is emphasized by high arched windows, pilasters and pillars. The top floor of the castle is designed as an attic storey and crowned by a surrounding balustrade decorated with vases and trophies, behind which the flat roofs are hidden. The figurative decorations represent allegories of virtues, sciences, professions and the arts.


While the garden facades of the building imitate the Versailles Palace, a separate solution had to be developed with the courtyard facades for Herrenchiemsee. The Palace of Versailles was the result of several decades of construction. The marble courtyard there formed the centerpiece of a grown complex that was formed from a small hunting lodge of Ludwig XIII. had emerged. The buildings around this marble courtyard were still in the style of Louis XIII. ruling French early baroque, which Ludwig II showed no interest in for his refuge on Herreninsel. The courtyard facades of Herrenchiemsee only take over the balcony of the royal bedroom supported by eight columns from the Versailles model. In their structure, they follow the garden-side façades of the castle, but are more simple and designed with less elaborate architectural decorations. Interestingly, the courtyard facades of the palace in this form resemble that of Louis XV. redesign of the Versailles city façades planned but not realized in the middle of the 18th century Contrary to the classic baroque architectural theory, the Herrenchiemsee courtyard was never used as the main entrance to the palace building, as the planned jetty in the east of the Herreninsel was not built and visitors can access the palace garden via the jetty in the north of the island.

The unfinished castle
The construction work on Herrenchiemsee largely came to a standstill from 1886 due to the financial difficulties, at that time the three-wing main building was only completed. In its present size, the palace is only a torso, because the original designs envisaged a much more extensive structure based on the complex of the Versailles Palace with many wings. Like this one, Herrenchiemsee was to have two 124-meter-long side wings and east-facing courtyards in the right-angled connection to the north and south wings of the horseshoe-shaped main building. While the extensive north and south wings in Versailles consist of one long wing towards the city and one on the garden side, which are connected to one another several times by transverse structures, the plans for Herrenchiemsee envisaged a reduced version of a single wing each. The northern building, which connected at right angles to today's north wing of the Corps de Logis, was already in the shell at the time of Ludwig II's death; until then, only the foundations had been laid for the symmetrical south wing. Because there was no sensible usage concept for the vacant wing of the building and also to preserve the symmetry of the castle, the north wing was removed again in 1907, so that the castle has been presented in a U-shape since then.

As in the model, a castle chapel protruding from the outer north wing was also planned on Herrenchiemsee. The palace chapel, the extensions to the courtyard and the stables planned to the east of the courtyard had not yet been started until 1886 and thus never got beyond the design stage. A theater in the south wing intended as a symmetrical counterpart to the palace chapel was deleted from the plans in 1876 before construction began. From the outset, only the expansion of the royal living and state rooms was planned for the interior of the palace, which was largely completed by 1885. There was no usage concept for any of the other rooms, and so the remaining suites of rooms have remained in their shell state to the present day. The King Ludwig Museum moved into some of the empty rooms in the south wing in the 20th century. The vacant rooms in the north wing were supplied with technical infrastructure from 2009 and are to serve as exhibition areas in the future. In the summer of 2011, the House of Bavarian History organized the major state exhibition there under the title Götterdämmerung. King Ludwig II and his time. With almost 600,000 visitors, it became the most visited exhibition in this series of events in the 30-year history of the state exhibitions.

Stylistic classification
Herrenchiemsee Palace is one of the last large palace buildings in the German-speaking area. The building is an almost unique exception in the imitative architectural landscape of the 19th century. Unlike most of the works of the epoch, it is not a romantic new creation in the sense of historicism such as Neuschwanstein Castle or Stolzenfels Castle, but in its external form an imitation of an already existing building, only revised in detail. However, it is also not to be understood as a pure copy, but rather it leads the stylistically inconsistent model of the 17th and 18th centuries to a unity that was not achieved there.


The model is imitated in the classical baroque style garden facade and the parade rooms, which are eclectic around the newly created courtyard facade, the private living rooms in the Rococo style and the technical achievements of the 19th century, such as the retractable dining table and the spacious one Glass roof of the stairwell, were added. Although not completed in its planned form, the block-like building in its current form is described as aesthetically uniform.

inside rooms
"As you knew, the large apartments in the style of Louis XIV, the small apartments in the style of Louis XV."
- Ludwig II in a letter to his court secretary Ludwig von Bürkel, 1879

The interiors completed under Ludwig II are almost exclusively on the middle floor of the palace. At that time, the attic and ground floor remained in the shell without any equipment. The only exceptions were the vestibule, the marble bathroom with the adjoining dressing room and the mechanics room of the dining room on the lower floor. The furnishing of the rooms and salons took place in two stages: Georg von Dollmann furnished the nine representative rooms, designed according to the Versailles model, until 1881, the royal living quarters were created by Julius Hofmann and Franz Paul Stulberger until 1885. Wilhelm Hauschild, Ferdinand, among others, created the paintings in the palace Piloty, Ludwig Lesker and Franz Widnmann. Ludwig II had some of the artists involved in the equipment travel to Versailles so that they could study the templates on site. The mural and ceiling paintings in the parade rooms largely adopt the content of the corresponding models: the life and work of the French Sun King as well as scenes and allegories from Roman and Greek mythology. The living rooms, which lack a corresponding Versailles model, continue the motifs from mythology and are based on scenes from the life of Louis XV. and the everyday life at the court in Versailles. The furnishing of Herrenchiemsee was made without reference to the Versailles model, the furnishing of which was largely lost as a result of the revolutions of 1789 and 1848 due to sales and looting.

Like Neuschwanstein and Linderhof, Ludwig II also had Herrenchiemsee Palace equipped with modern technology. Many of the interiors of Versailles could hardly or even not be heated due to their size or the lack of chimneys, but for Herrenchiemsee Palace, contemporary comfort was provided: so that the rooms did not have to be heated exclusively by chimneys, the palace was given warm air heating, the large boiler system of which is located in the Cellar vault is located.

Parade rooms
The parade rooms of the palace are located along the main wing facing the garden, as well as on the west and south sides of the courtyard. They form the heart of Herrenchiemsee and, with variations of the Versailles Hall of Mirrors and the magnificent bedroom there, were the focus of the plans for Meicost Ettal from the start. The suites of the parade rooms cite the state apartments, the Apartment du Roi, which were furnished under Louis XIV in the style of the Louis quatorze, but differ in size, furnishings and location. The importance that the king attached to these rooms can already be seen in the fact that the first orders for fabrics and covers were placed as early as 1875, three years before the foundation stone of the castle was laid. During his short stay, the rooms only served as a walk-in memorial; the rooms did not have to fulfill a function as real state chambers.


The first room in the parade room is the large staircase in the south wing. It is an imitation of the Escalier des Ambassadeurs, the former staircase of the Versailles model. The location of the Herrenchiemsee staircase in the south wing actually corresponds to the much smaller queen staircase in Versailles; the two-flight ambassador's staircase was mirror-symmetrical in the north wing, where the northern staircase, which has not yet been completed, is located in the Bavarian castle. The Versailles ambassador's staircase, which played a prominent role in the ceremonial of Louis XIV and soon afterwards also became a model for great staircases in Germany (for example in Schleißheim, Pommersfelden, Würzburg or Brühl), was already used in 1752 under Louis XV. was demolished in favor of more living spaces, which also reflects the loss of importance of protocol ceremonies in the Rococo period. However, it was able to be reconstructed almost true to the original using numerous engravings and plans in Herrenchiemsee. The only difference is the modern skylight formed by a large iron and glass structure. Following the stairwell along the south side of the courtyard are the Hartschiersaal, named after the royal bodyguards, which is modeled on the Versailles Salle des Gardes, and the first anteroom, which corresponds to the Première Antichambre in Versailles. This anteroom, which was used for the king's public meals in the French castle, was also called the large table setting there. The first is followed by the second anteroom, the so-called ox-eye room, which got its name from two large oval window openings in the cornice area. The ox-eye hall is located behind the western courtyard facade and is larger than the model in Versailles, which Dollmann was able to achieve by reducing the size of the neighboring atrium. Within the French court ceremony, the ox-eye hall served primarily as a waiting room in which the courtiers would stay in front of the king's lever in the morning; in Herrenchiemsee, however, like the other parade rooms, it was only used as a private showpiece.

The second anteroom is the center of the palace, followed by the large sumptuous bedroom. Its location corresponds to the famous bedroom of the Sun King in Versailles, which was placed there in the center of the palace from 1701. As the place of the lever and the couch, the king's getting up and going to sleep, it was the focus of everyday life at Versailles court, and Ludwig II attached particular importance to this room, which he never used as a bedroom. He had Christian Jank and Angelo Quaglio execute the drafts as plastic models and revise them several times. The room in Herrenchiemsee is bigger than the room in which it was modeled and also differs from the Versailles bedroom with its more sumptuous furnishings. For example, the colored lunettes and the magnificent bed separated from the rest of the room by a balustrade are new creations that do not exist in this form in the French castle. The main color tones are gold and especially red, which is the symbolic color of the Sun King in the castle. The bedroom was the first room in the palace to be completed in 1881 and was handed over to the king who had traveled for it on September 18. Adjacent to the bedroom is the so-called consultation room, which in its location and decoration was the same as that under Louis XV. created council cabinet in Versailles corresponds. The hall surpasses the equipment of the prototype with more elaborate cornices and the ceiling painting.


The highlight of the parade rooms is the large hall of mirrors, which with its corner rooms, the salons of peace and war, forms a unit both in terms of design and theme. The mirror gallery is 75 meters long, which exceeds the 73-meter-long hall of mirrors in Versailles. The suite of rooms with the two subordinate adjoining rooms is 98 meters long and thus occupies the entire west side of the castle. As in the prototype, the attic storey of the garden facade visible from the outside is only an architectural appearance, as the vault of the almost 13-meter-high room is behind the angular windows. Opposite the 17 large mirrors of the hall are 17 arched windows that provide a view of the gardens. This arrangement means that the light is reflected in the entire hall of mirrors and is refracted in the crystal elements of the 33 ceiling chandeliers and 44 standing candelabra. The decoration of the hall consists of mirrors, chandeliers and candelabras of gilded plaster and wood elements as well as marble busts of Roman emperors and statues of Roman gods. The ceiling paintings are, apart from minor deviations, copies of the paintings from the mirror gallery of Versailles. They show the most important war campaigns of Louis XIV. A special feature of the ceiling paintings is the sculptural decoration, which, in the Bavarian style, emerges from the paintings in some places and which does not exist in the model.

King's living quarters
The living rooms of Ludwig II follow the parade rooms and are located on the courtyard side on the middle floor of the north wing. The royal apartment consists of three large rooms, two cabinets and several passageways. Their approximate location corresponds to the Louis XV style Petit Apartment. in Versailles. The successor of the Sun King also forms the thematic leitmotif in the furnishings and the themes of the paintings. The rooms are a new creation of the Neo-Rococo and, unlike the parade rooms, are an interpretation, but not an imitation of the French model.

Coming from the parade rooms, the flight of the living rooms begins with the royal bedroom, the bedroom that was actually used by Ludwig II during his stay in the palace. The sumptuous bed stands in an alcove and is separated from the rest of the room by a low balustrade. The bedroom is more modest in its dimensions than the magnificent bedroom in the main wing, but just as lavishly designed. Its furnishings follow on from the second Rococo style that had already been developed for Linderhof. Dark blue tones serve as a contrasting color to the white and golden surfaces, which in Herrenchiemsee Palace are a symbolic color for the client Ludwig II. The bedroom is connected to the dressing room below and the oval marble bathroom via a secret staircase. A wall door leads from the bedroom into the small Marie Antoinette cabinet, which served in memory of the French queen, who was particularly revered by Ludwig II, and - the only room in the palace - was designed in the Louis-seize style. The so-called study follows the bedroom. A copy of the Bureau du Roi by Johann Heinrich Riesener was created for this room in Paris within two years until 1884, a desk that was one of the most famous pieces of Versailles ’furniture and upon its completion Louis XV Had to wait more than ten years. Adjacent to the work area is the oval dining room, which is designed after a similar salon in the Hôtel de Soubise. Like the dining room in Linderhof, it is equipped with a mechanically operated little table-deck-you, a lifting device that enabled the king to dine without the presence of servants; the dining table with part of the floor could be lowered by one floor and covered there. The dishes had to be prepared in the court kitchen of the Old Palace and brought to the New Palace, as there was no functioning kitchen there during the king's lifetime.

The so-called Blue Cabinet, the unfinished Porcelain Cabinet and the Marie Antoinette Cabinet complement the king's three living rooms. These small salons should serve as rest and show rooms and are grouped around the atrium behind the large suite of rooms. The elaborate chandelier in the porcelain cabinet is, like that in the dining room, a unique piece from the Meissen manufactory. The last room in the residential wing is the small mirror gallery at the end of the north wing, which serves as a 20-meter-long connection to the unfinished northern staircase and, in its basic concept, links up with the large mirror gallery with an anteroom at the beginning and end. The small mirror gallery had a similar counterpart in Versailles, which was demolished there in 1752 as part of a renovation together with the ambassador's staircase.

Castle garden

Panorama of the palace garden
Drafts and preparatory work
The royal gardener Carl von Effner, a student of the garden architect Peter Joseph Lenné, was hired to design the palace gardens. Effner presented the first drafts in 1875. Like the palace, the gardens in their planned form were intended as a quotation, but not as an exact copy of the Versailles model, which could not have been fully realized due to the small height differences of the island and the limited space. Effner's designs could not be implemented to the extent planned for reasons of cost, and the Herrenchiemsee Gardens, like the palace, remained unfinished.

The palace park, designed according to the scheme of classic baroque gardens, was to be laid out in the shape of a cross in its basic structure and the low terrace in front of the palace should form the center. The main axis, adapted from Versailles, ran through the island in an east-west direction and was to be crossed by a subordinate north-south axis. The main garden parterre to the west was planned as a direct reminiscence of the model, with a copy of the fountains of Latona and Apollon, the large water basins and the broderie parterres in front of the Corps de Logis. The numerous bosquets of the prototype were reduced in this plan to four large and half a dozen smaller bosquets, the individual design of which would have been made without reference to Versailles. A smaller version of the Versailles north parterre was planned north of the palace. As there, a water basin dedicated to the sea god Neptune should also form the end of the Herrenchiemsee. The southern garden area copies the lavish parterre du midi and the orangery parterre in Versailles, although the original orangery, which was built into a slope, had to be dispensed with due to the flat terrain. A separate solution had to be designed for the Herrenchiemsee Garden for the eastern park area behind the Corps de Logis, since the city is located there in the original. The imitations of the Versailles Place des Armes, including the Marstall buildings, were to form a large courtyard in Herrenchiemsee, which would have been flanked all around by further parterres and bosquets. Where the main entrance to the castle is in the French city, a 900-meter-long avenue with a final roundabout in the direction of the lake was planned in Herrenchiemsee, at the end of which the shipping pier should be located.

Work on the gardens began at the same time as the palace was built in 1878. The excavation of the palace cellar served to level the grounds of the water parterre, and a pumping station was built on the east bank of the island to supply the water features. The earth moving dragged on until 1881, the actual gardens only began to take shape from then on. Due to the increasing problems with financing, the expansion of the palace garden was not completed. Until the king's death, only the main parterre was laid out without the flanking bosque. The development of the northern, southern and eastern garden areas was finally dispensed with, as was the construction of the Apollo basin. Ludwig II also intended to open up the island with an all-round park railway, but this project was no longer carried out. After work on the gardens had come to a standstill in the meantime, Effner's successor Jakob Möhl completed the existing areas by 1890.

Present shape
The garden in its present form is a largely identical imitation of the western main axis of Versailles created by André Le Nôtre in the 17th century. The castle garden in the middle of the Herreninsel encloses a rectangular area of ​​around 120 × 400 meters, the eastern third of which is taken up by the castle building. The entire garden, the eastern avenue and the branch canal to the west of the lake are framed by a double avenue of linden trees. On the occasion of the State Garden Show 2010, the garden was replanted from 2008 to 2009. In addition to more than 10,000 flowers, numerous citrus trees were also set up for the first time, as were already provided for in the garden plans of the 19th century.


In front of the castle are two large water basins that adapt the parterre d’eau of the model. The basins of the Fama and Fortuna fountain were completed while Ludwig II was still alive. However, they turned out to be leaking and were planted with lawn after his death. A return to the original state took place only between 1991 and 1994. The central figure rocks with the depictions of luck and fame are a deviation from the original, they do not come from the Palace of Versailles, but are interpretations of the water features of the Palacio Real in La Granja. Both well structures were defective for many decades, they have only been renovated since 1994 and have been in operation during the summer months since then. In addition to the large pools, there are two smaller marble fountains on the Parterre d’eau, which are located at the transition to the Parterre of the Latona and are decorated with water-spouting lions and figures of Diana, Venus, Amphitrite and Flora.

Below the water parterre, a flight of stairs leads to the oval fountain of the Latona and to the lawn parterres spread out in front of it, adorned with flower beds, from the garden a tapis vertically leads west to the area of ​​the unfinished Apollo fountain. The two basins can be seen as allegories on Louis XIV, who as the Sun King is compared several times with the god of light Apollo. Where the cross-shaped Great Canal begins in Versailles, a branch canal has been created on Herrenchiemsee towards the lake. After the water level of the Chiemsee fell in 1904, the canal became marshy, and its bed was dug again from 1993 to 1997 after further regulation of the water level.

The wooded area outside the palace gardens remained largely in its original state and, as a so-called island park, was intended to offer a contrast to the formal gardens. The approximately 230-hectare island is accessible by a nearly seven-kilometer circular path which, through visual axes, provided a view of the castle and the gardens at various points, but most of them are overgrown. The lines of sight in the opposite direction of the castle area ended in front of tree and hedge walls, as the king expressly did not want a view of the surrounding landscape of the Chiemsee. [