Friedrichstein Palace Museum

Friedrichstein Palace Museum, Bad Wildungen, Germany.

The striking baroque Friedrichstein Palace is situated high above the health resort of Bad Wildungen. From 1663 to 1669, Count Josias II. of Waldeck (1636–1669) began the construction of the palace complex, which his nephew Friedrich Anton Ulrich completed after Josia’s death. The name Friedrichstein is also attributed to him. In 1720, however, the princely family moved into the new residence palace in Arolsen. As a result, the interior furnishings were lost over time and the palace was used for numerous purposes. The spectacular stucco work of Andreas Gallasini and the ceiling paintings by Carlo Caselli in the former chamber of the princess and in the garden hall remained intact. After the ownership of the palace went over to the state of Waldeck in 1921, it was sold to the NSDAP in 1941. After the 2nd World War, the ownership of the palace went over to the State of Hesse. In 1973, a citizens’ initiative to save the palace was formed in Bad Wildungen and demanded appropriate use of the complex. Since 1980, Friedrichstein Palace houses the most important and extensive collection relating to military and hunting history of the Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel (MHK).

The former royal bedroom, Friedrichstein Palace.

Friedrichstein Palace houses the most important collection of military objects belonging to the army of the landgraves and prince electors of Hesse-Cassel. Precious, rare pieces from the 18th and 19th century illustrate the central role of the army as a status symbol for the landgraves and prince electors. This is emphasised by the extensive equipment of the guard regiments up to the eve of the First World War. The objects from the Kingdom of Westphalia (1807–1813) show the pom posity of Cassel’s Court under Napoleon’s youngest brother, Jérôme Bonaparte (1784–1860). The court in Cassel was to become the brilliant centrepiece of the new kingdom. The intricate and exquisite workmanship of the uniforms, the stately paintings and busts served to legitimate Jérôme’s claim to power within his new state. Their splendour continues to impress visitors today.

A box of crossbow bolts owned by landgrave Otto of Hesse-Cassel (1594–1617).

Hunting was a courtly pastime of the high nobility and princes. The valuable objects in the hunting collection of the Hessian landgraves reflect this. The prized objects in the collection include intricate hunting contraptions such as powder flasks and hunting knives as well as highly ornate crossbows and wheellock firearms from the 17th century. New technologies were often tested with hunting weapons. The air rifles from the 18th century shown in the collection as predecessors of today’s air guns are one such example.

Friedrichstein Palace Museum, Bad Wildungen.

Museum Schloss Friedrichstein
Schlossstraße 23
34537 Bad Wildungen
+49 (0)56 21-65 77

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