The Museum of the Bavarian Kings in Schwangau
Staying with Kings
For many years the former Grand Hotel "Alpenrose" lay below Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau in slumber until the historical building had been converted into a museum and a restaurant.
The museum narrates the history of the house of Wittelsbach through many centuries, one of Europe's oldest dynasties. The exhibition gives an insight into the house of the royal family to the present time. It's clearly illustrated.
From King Maximilian II and his son King Ludwig II to the promotion of art and construction of the regency in the residence city of Munich, showing the industrialisation in Bavaria until the end of the monarchy and beyond, this exhibition gives an insight into the House of Wittelsbach to the present time.
The architecture offers fascinating views into the surroundig landscape and is therefore part of the exhibition.
...to the History of the Wittelsbacher
Concerts, lectures and other events are given in the foyer of the house with its adjoining Palm House offers a special and lively atmosphere.
The Restaurant "Alpenrose am See", with a garden terrace by the lake, is an ideal place to meet and linger and allow a phantastic view of the Alpsee with its mountain scenery.
A tour through the Museum
In the family-tree you will find a 700 year history of the Wittelsbach based on more than 70 selected family members and their ascent from Palatine and dukes, electors to the Bavarian Kings.
Hall of the Kings
Among the award-winning, barrel vault made of a steel mesh, the Wittelsbach protagonists of Hohenschwangau are presented: King Maximilian II and his son, King Ludwig II.
In the middle shines the magnificent centrepiece which Maximilian had given in 1842 to the Munich sculptor, Ludwig von Schwanthaler, on the occasion of his wedding to Marie of Prussia.
Spend a moment at the large panorama window and enjoy the views of Hohenschwangau and the extraordinary landscape.
The large window presents itself as another of the exhibits.
Kings in the constitutional state
At the royal blue wall, all Bavarian rulers are united: Max I, Joseph with Caroline, Ludwig I to Therese, Otto of Greece and Amalie, Max II with Marie and the children, Ludwig II and his brother Otto, Prince Regent Luitpold and Ludwig III, the last king of Bavaria.
Royal Art and building policy
The Wittelsbacher have always collected art but no one has ever influenced through his art and passion for buildings more than King Ludwig I, the grandfather of King Ludwig II.
He made the old Munich into a modern residential city - his "Athens on the Isar" - and opened its art collections to the public.
Monarchy and society in the age of technology
In 1854 the First General Industrial Exhibition took place in the ultra-modern glass palace in Munich. The new technical achievements like steam power and electricity penetrated quickly into the farming community of Bavaria and developing industrial centres like Nuremberg and Augsburg.
Industrialists were charged for their services to the peerage. The workers went in 1848 to the barricades. At this time, King Ludwig II issued a series of laws to improve the living conditions of the lower class.
Myths of King Ludwig II of Bavaria
King Ludwig II was already a cult figure during his lifetime. The beautiful young king was more attracted to cultural life rather than government business and demanded more and more from public life. The high debt of the castles projects was one of the reasons why the psychiatrist Prof. Dr. Bernhard von Gudden, declared the King insane. In the absence of the king - and only on the basis of testimony - Prof. Dr. Gudden declared the king as insane, which led to the disenfrachisement of King Ludwig II. The king was found dead on 13 th June 1886, nearly 41 years of age, in Lake Starnberg, close to Castle Berg. The circumstances are still not known until this day.
World War I and the end of the monarchy
The last big feast of the monarchy, was the golden wedding of King Ludwig III. and Marie Therese of Bavaria. As a gift, they received from their children a precious porcelain service of Nymphenburg manufactore. When the people on 7th November 1918 when the people gathered at the Theresienwiese for a peace demonstration, King Ludwig III released his soldiers and officials of their loyal oath. It was the end of the monarchy and soon also the end of World War I.
The House of Wittelsbach in the Nazi period and the Second World War
The Wittelsbach were convinced opponents of the Nazis. In 1939 Crown Prince Rupprecht went with his family into exile to Italy.
After the Stauffenberg assassination, members of the family were taken into custody and deported to various concentration camps. After the war, Crown Prince Rupprecht was an esteemed Bavarian politician.
Bavaria and the House of Wittelsbach today
Since 1996 Duke Franz of Bavaria's Wittelsbach has been head of the house. The name Wittelsbach remains closely associated with Bavaria since the end of the monarchy.
In multimedia interviews, Prince Leopold, Prince Luitpold or Duke Franz give a good overview of their lives and their every day tasks.
Images on this page: © WIT- Marcus Ebener