Saturday, July 28, 2018

Luxarazzi 101: Schloss Hohenburg

One of the homes historically most closely linked with the Grand Ducal Family is actually located nowhere near Luxembourg. This large baroque house situated in Lenggries, Bavaria, belonged to Grand Duke Adolph and his descendants for over 80 years, in which time it was host to countless births, weddings, and celebrations. Today we’ll explore the history of Schloss Hohenburg and its importance as one of main homes of past Luxembourg royalty.

Count Ferdinand Joseph von Herwarth
The current Schloss was built on the grounds of a 12th century castle that was largely destroyed in a fire set by Austrian troops in 1707, although some of the ruins of this original castle still stand on the property. Count Ferdinand Joseph von Herwarth, whose family had owned the land since the mid-16th century, ordered the construction of the present Schloss between 1712 and 1718 using some of the stones from the old castle. The Count also provided the village with a new parish church built with additional stones from the previous castle located on the site. 

Count Ferdinand believed that the design of the Schloss should echo the sturdy beauty of the surrounding mountains, so the home features a rather wide and strong base of three wings drawing three stories up to peaked rooftops and a clocktower, mimicking slopes. Decorative touches on and inside the Schloss included waterspouts shaped as dragons, numerous paintings, sculptures, and ornate light fixtures, many originals of which still adorn the home. The property also features extensive formal gardens that were initially modeled on those of the Palace of Versailles.

The location of the Schloss in Lenggries, a picturesque mountain area just north of the Austrian border, provides a gorgeous backdrop for the property as well as multiple opportunities for outdoor recreation. The dense beech and oak forest surrounding the entrance of estate originally made the home somewhat difficult to find without assistance, therefore lending some privacy to its occupants.  

The Schloss and grounds in about 1750
The Herwarth family owned the estate until the early 19th century, when the last of Ferdinand's heirs died and Schloss Hohenburg and estate were put up for sale. The property had a few short-lived owners before Prince Carl of Leiningen, the older half-brother of Britain's Queen Victoria, bought it in 1836. Carl used the estate as a private hunting retreat and also converted the baroque gardens into the more modern (for the time) English-style gardens.

At the time of Carl's death in 1857, the Schloss and its grounds were in rough condition. Wealthy Munich banker Baron Carl von Eikthal bought the estate for 32,000 guilders - a steal for such an impressive property, but the low price likely reflected its distressed physical condition. The Baron had turned around at least one other property before - a former abbey in the Black Forest that was converted for textile and munitions production. His plans for Schloss Hohenburg were not quite as drastic. Instead, von Eikthal turned the property into a truly working estate with a dairy, brewery, livestock, and an inn.

Adolph of Nassau, who would later go on to become Grand Duke of Luxembourg, was expelled from his Duchy by the Prussians in 1866 as a consequence of siding with Austria in the Austro-Prussia War. Although he was left without a throne, the circumstances of his abdication and exile did provide Adolph with a large cash settlement. Eager to indulge in his favorite pastime of hunting, he bought the Hohenburg estate in 1870 with the intent of using it as a hunting lodge and summer home. Adolph added two large stone statues of deer in the grounds, fitting of the estate serving as his main hunting lodge. The interiors of the Schloss also features the antlers of deer and taxidermied remains of other animals which had been hunted there.

The Schloss in about 1900.
Photo credit: Schlossarchiv Hohenburg
Grand Duke Adolph and Grand Duchess Adelheid-Marie raised their families partly at Schloss Hohenburg, as did Grand Duke Wilhelm IV and his wife Maria Ana. Following her abdication in 1919, their daughter Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide lived at the Schloss with her mother and some of her sisters. Dowager Grand Duchess Maria Ana spent much of her time there after her widowhood until she fled the property for Luxembourg and eventually the United States at the beginning of World War II.

Although the castle and grounds were returned to the Grand Ducal Family at the end of the war, Charlotte decided to sell off all her residences in Germany. In 1953, German electronics businessman Max Grundig bought the Schloss and grounds. He promptly donated the property to the Sisters of the Ursuline Convent of St. Joseph of Landshut, who converted the property from a residence into a Catholic girls' school. The school took in its first pupils in September 1953. Among its students was Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein.

The Schloss today. Photo credit:

In addition to the school, the property also houses a trout farm which produces the prized Hohenburger trout. The estate grounds are also popular with cross country skiers and snowshoers.

Births at Schloss Hohenburg:
Princess Antonia (October 7, 1899)
Prince Heinrich of Bavaria (son of Princess Antonia) (March 28, 1922)
Princess Editha of Bavaria (daughter of Princess Antonia) (September 16, 1924)

Weddings at Schloss Hohenburg:
Princess Hilda and Grand Duke Friedrich of Baden (September 20, 1885)
Princess Antonia and Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria (April 7, 1921)
Princess Sophie and Prince Ernst Heinrich of Saxony (April 12, 1921)
Princess Elisabeth and Prince Ludwig Philipp of Thurn and Taxis (November 14, 1922)

Deaths at Schloss Hohenburg:

Princess Marie Luise of Hesse-Kassel (mother of Grand Duchess Adelheid-Marie) (July 28, 1895)
Grand Duke Adolph (November 17, 1905)
Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide (January 24, 1924)
Princess Elisabeth (August 2, 1950)

No comments:

Post a Comment