Ludwigsburg Palace (Schloss Ludwigsburg) in the town of Ludwigsburg, just
north of Stuttgart is a splendid castle built between 1704 and 1733. It is the largest
preserved Baroque residence in Germany.
Ludwigsburg Palace Facts & History
There is much to admire in this palace with its eighteen buildings
containing four hundred fifty-two rooms. Known as the "Swabian Versailles," it was built by
Eberhard Ludwig Duke of Württemberg to serve as a hunting lodge, but, in 1718, it became the
official state residence.
Under Eberhard Ludwig, the architecture was Austro-Hungarian and the decor
was Baroque. He was followed by Carl Alexander Duke of Württemberg, then Duke Carl Eugen. The
latter added apartments in the French Rococo style, but the royal residence moved back to
Stuttgart in 1775. Later came Duke Friedrich II who wanted to use Ludwigsburg as his summer
palace. Napoleon made the duke "king" in 1803, and King Friedrich had many of the palace rooms
redecorated in the Empire style.
Take a tour (one kilometer in length), and marvel at the numerous rooms in
all three periods. The Ludwigsburg Castle was not used for some two
hundred years, but its contents were preserved.
Eberhard Ludwig, after whom the palace is named, wanted the castle built as
a refuge for himself and his mistress, Wilhelmine von Grävenitz, who was, politically, a
powerful figure in those days, but disliked by the palace court with whom she butted heads.
Back then, marriage was based on politics not love, and all the royalty had mistresses.
Eberhard Ludwig lived in Ludwigsburg with Wilhelmine for twenty-five years,
until the court became worried that he had no legal heir. His one legitimate son had died. He
was pressured into leaving Wilhelmine, to bring his wife to Ludwigsburg and to have a child,
but, alas, she was fifty-three by that time, and no child was conceived.
During Eberhard's day only three hundred thousand people lived in all of
Württemberg, so it is amazing that such a sumptuous palace could be financed. It was a
monumental undertaking, as the land was not flat and had to be laboriously filled in with carts
of dirt. Hundreds of workers lived around the building site in tents. To entice people to
settle in Ludwigsburg, Eberhard offered them free land, building material and no tax payments
for fifteen years. By 1718, the town of Ludwigsburg was founded.
Included among the highlights of the tour is the Marble Hall whose beautiful
walls were made of synthetic marble, which, because it required seventeen different steps to
make, was far more expensive than the real thing. The King's waiting room has an exquisite
Baroque ceiling created by Italian artists, who were the best at that time and responsible for
much of the palace's decoration. The King's audience room, in the Empire style, features
benches with an Egyptian motif revealing the influence of Napoleon. A large portrait of King
Friedrich, a man immense in stature -- six feet, ten inches tall and weighing four hundred
forty pounds -- is a major attraction in the King's conference room.
Part of the tour includes a glimpse of the cave-like servants' quarters,
which are very dark with no windows. In Friedrich's day, more than one thousand servants were
employed at Ludwigsburg. An entourage of higher-ranking servants dressed the
king every day, a ritual that lasted one and one half hours.
Back in those days, water was considered unhealthy. Instead of bathing in
water, the royalty bathed in perfume. And, instead of drinking water, they drank wine, three to
four liters of wine per person per day. If that seems unbelievable, take a peek in the palace
wine cellar where rows of wooden barrels have the capacity to store two hundred thousand liters
of wine. One gargantuan barrel holds ninety thousand liters -- enough so that if one drinks
only one liter of wine every day from birth, he would need to live to be some two hundred
forty-six years old to empty this barrel of its contents.
The most famous artists from throughout Europe were brought to entertain the
guests of the Ludwigsburg Palace. The palace theater, built in 1750 entirely
of wood, has three tiers of seats. It was lit with oil lamps and candles, and servants stood by
with buckets of water in case of fire. The background scenery was changed mechanically and the
mechanism, which was very modern for its day, still functions. Performances were said to have
lasted between five and seven hours, but the audience would come and go freely during the
As the theater was too small to stage operas, Carl Eugen had an opera hall
constructed, but it, unfortunately, no longer exists.
The palace has two chapels. Its Baroque chapel is popular today for
weddings. However, one must be Catholic and a resident of Ludwigsburg to tie the knot in the
Throughout the palace are ancient Oriental vases, desks, and cabinets of
intricate inlaid wood, illusionist paintings and porcelain figurines and flowers. Real flowers
wilt, and in that state were considered a sign of death, so no real flowers ever filled the
However, there were plenty of real flowers outside. Even today, the thirty
hectares of gardens that surround the palace are a major attraction. They host a continual
garden show from March until October called "Blooming Baroque," with all sorts of flowers
including roses, as well as fountains, hedges, flower ornaments, and flower borders. There are
herb gardens and Japanese gardens, even aviaries housing exotic birds. One section of the
garden is a playground with play equipment from long ago, including an ancient merry-go-round
and a Russian swing.
Ludwigsburg Palace Visitor Info:
Residential Palace Opening Times:
The Museums, including: Baroque Gallery, Fashion Museum,
Ceramics Museum, Carl Eugen’s apartments:
*Note: the last entry is one hour before closing
Residential Palace: 6,5 € full price / 3,3 € reduced / family ticket 16,3
Museum (+ audio guide): 3,5 € full price / 1,8 € reduced / family
ticket 8,8 €
Museum Tour (including all museums + audio guide): 6.5 € full price / 3.3
€ reduced / family ticket 16.3 €
Discounted tickets for groups:
Residential Palace: Special guided tours (max. 10 persons) 130 €
Museum (+ audio guide) Groups over 20 Persons 3.1 €
Museums tour (all museums + audio tour) Groups over 20 or more, 5,8 € pp
Official website: schloss-ludwigsburg.de
Phone: +49(0) 71 41 / 18 20 04
Fax: +49(0) 71 41 / 18 64 34
Address: Schlossstraße 30, 71634 Ludwigsburg, Germany. Get help with directions
using this map:
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Schloss Ludwigsburg Photos
Photos © D Petzold
- Click on the photos to enlarge
Ludwigsburg Palace courtyard
Ludwigsburg Palace and garden
Ludwigsburg Palace panorama
Schloss Ludwigsburg panorama
Schloss Ludwigsburg garden
Schloss Ludwigsburg park
Schloss Ludwigsburg interior
Schloss Ludwigsburg interior
Schloss Ludwigsburg room
Schloss Ludwigsburg room