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Schloss Frauenberg

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Sometimes being a Castleholic means wading through scrubs to at least catch a glimpse of a castle.  Behind the bushes and trees you can see the outlines of Schloss Frauenberg in Lübben. I only learned later that you can apparently call the owner and arrange to get on the estate that's history goes back all the way to the Middle Ages. The land Schloss Frauenberg is situated on used to be the place of the only monastery of the Order of Hermits of Saint William located east of the Elbe river. Following the Reformation, the last monks were forced to flee from Frauenberg and the monastery was secularised. It subsequently became one of the seats of the bailiff of Lower Lusatia and about a dozens or so noble families lived at Frauenberg during the following almost 400 years. The current Schloss Frauenberg was built during the early 20th century in the Wilhelmian style popular during the reigns of Kaiser Wilhelm I, Kaiser Friedrich III, who only reigned for 99 days, and Kaiser Wilhelm II…

Schloss Baruth

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Right in the heart of Baruth, a small town just south of Berlin, sits a Schloss whose former glory is slowly fading away. Boarded up windows, shattered glass and unresolved property rights - Schloss Baruth's future looks fairly bleak. Things, however, started out a lot more glamorous back in the day... The oldest part of the castle complex commonly called Schloss Baruth or Neues (New) Schloss Baruth dates back to the 18th century and actually started out as a garden house. Already since the late 16th century, the Lordship of Baruth had been held by one of the many branches of the extensive Solms family who originally came from Hesse. As you probably already guessed, when there is a 'new castle', there must be an 'old castle'. Located just a stone's throw away, the Altes Schloss Baruth, which you can see in the last two pictures of this post, was built starting in 1671 on the basis of an even older medieval castle. The fairly smallish Altes Schloss, however, so…

Between #Megxit and #Harryverderci: The Reality of Royalty or Life In a Goldfish Bowl

The reality of royalty isn’t all fun and games and ball gowns and tiaras, as much as we like to think that. The announcement of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to step down as senior royals has sent shockwaves around the world. Some applaud their decision while others are skeptical about how it will work. Count me among the latter group.
Many, including yours truly, couldn’t shake the feeling over the past couple of months that royal life simply wasn’t the life for Harry and Meghan. Royal life, especially within the British royal family, is life in a goldfish bowl. Every move, every smile, every seemingly unhappy face will make a headline. With online and social media, the magnifying glass on that goldfish bowl has grown only larger and larger. In short: It’s not a life to envy. Harry and especially Meghan were the latest addition to that goldfish bowl and the most shiny and sparkly one at that. He, the longtime bad boy prince charming, and she, the mixed-race American actress. As pre…

The "Wittelsbacher Ausgleichsfonds" or How the Bavarians Probably Got the Best Deal When the Monarchy Ended

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They came to power during the 12th century in the days of Holy Roman Emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa - and on November 7, 1918, their head of the family was the first German King forced to abdicate. But in the end, the former Royal Family of Bavaria may just have gotten the best deals of all the formerly reigning families in Germany. You see, the German nobility is full of curious inheritance cases like the Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg's or the Thurn und Taxis'. In addition to these internal family matters, there are also some interesting constructions between former German reigning family and the German state - or one of its federal states. Case in point: The Wittelsbacher Ausgleichsfonds. It was established as a public foundation in 1923 within the framework of the apportionment of assets and liabilities between the Free State of Bavaria and their former royal family, the Wittelsbachs.
Five years prior, in 1918, the monarchies in Germany had come to their ends and all German-…

Schloss Dammsmühle

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There are few stories Schloss Dammsmühle cannot tell. Emperors, Tsars, Nazis, Stasi - you name it. This almost forgotten fairytale of a castle stood silent witness to the turbulent changes of German history, but will it ever get its happy ending? I first stumbled over Schloss Dammsmühle when I read about abandoned places in and around Berlin - and when I visited I couldn't help but wonder: Is this castle located on the edge of a lake deep in the forest enchanted or bewitched? Let's just follow the white rabbit through a wild ride through its history. Visiting Schloss Dammsmühle is slightly eery - an abandoned castle located in the middle of the woods, what could go wrong? Somehow there was a surprising lot of people around (or not that surprising considering the structure is somewhat of an insider tip for hunters of abandoned places). But somehow the amount of people poking around an empty castle made it even more strange. Getting there felt a bit like going to the end of the …

Schloss Golssen

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Sometimes castle hunting adventures are all fun and games - and sometimes they make you think. Schloss Golssen was one of those places that did the latter. The ravages of time clearly had their way with it. Boarded up windows, graffitis one its walls - the glory days of Schloss Golssen are clearly a thing of the past. It's a destiny that you will find with plentiful castles and palaces in Brandenburg and thus also in the future of Confessions of a Castleholic.  Back in the day, things with Schloss Golssen started out a lot more rosy. The origins of the current Schloss go back to the year 1720 when it was built by Prussian court official Johann Justus Vieth, who was later ennobled as Vieth von Golssenau. In 1771, Siegmund Ehrenreich of Redern purchased the castle. After his death almost two decades later, it was his daughter Amalie who inherited the estate. Married to Sardinian envoy at the Spanish court Count Nepomuk Fontana de Cravanzana, she lived at Golssen for twelve years, a…

Schloss Köpenick

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In Germany, Köpenick isn't famous for its castle but for an infamous imposter, the Captain of Köpenick, who even amused the last German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II. What did the imposter do? Wilhelm Voigt masqueraded as a Prussian military officer, rounded up a bunch of soldiers under his "command" and "confiscated" more than 4,000 German gold mark from the municipal treasury of Köpenick. It was on October 16, 1906, that the out-of-work shoemaker donned a second-hand military captain's uniform he had purchased in a store, walked out into the street and assumed control of a company of soldiers marching past.  He led them to the town hall of Köpenick, at the time a small town just outside of Berlin and today part of the German capital, arrested the mayor and the treasurer on charges of embezzlement, and took possession of 4,000 Mark from the town treasury. He then disappeared with the money but was later found out and arrested. Affectionately known as the &qu…