A Museum Visit Leads through Several Eras
A visit to the museum sections and exhibitions of Bad Homburg Palace takes you through several eras and many centuries. The Middle Ages are revealed by climbing up the “White Tower”, where panels explain the construction of the castle. The keep was the only structure of the old “Hohenburg” to remain standing in the 17th century. The castle and the surrounding territories later came into the possession of the Hesse-Homburg family, who were to rule for 244 years. Among their ranks, Frederick II (1633-1708) was particularly distinguished. The landgrave with a long military career replaced the castle with a stately residence, today’s palace. He is buried alongside many others in the princely crypt, which can be visited on a few days of the year in the underground vault of the palace church. The church, which is used for concerts and lectures, is also worth seeing with its magnificent organ by Conrad Bürgy and the pictorial decorations of scenes from the Old and New Testaments.
244 Years of Landgraviate
The establishment of an ancestral gallery in the palace, in which the portraits of many family members hang, is also connected with the landgrave and builder Frederick II. The ancestral gallery was redesigned in 2022. It features many an unknown painting and brings together numerous personalities of the landgravial period in one room. A digital media station makes it possible to call up the biography of those portrayed in German or English.
In the adjacent historical library, the exhibition “244ff. From Frederick to Ferdinand” was opened in October 2022 - on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the foundation of the Landgraviate of Hesse-Homburg. The exhibits trace an arc from the first regent of the Landgraviate of Hesse-Homburg to the last representative of the dynasty and provide insights into the 244-year era that still characterises the appearance of the palace complex today. They tell of everyday life and the history of the dynasty.
Another important representative of the landgravial period was Landgravine Elizabeth, called Eliza. She came to Hesse-Homburg as the daughter of an English king and was a blessing for the small state, not only financially. She also left her mark on the Landgraviate culturally. Her widow’s residence can be visited today in the English Wing. Furniture, handicrafts, room decorations and private items provide an almost intimate insight into the well-being and interests of the British princess.
Between World Politics and Inner Peace: the Living Quarters of the Last Imperial Couple
The unique feature of the palace are the Imperial Rooms in the so-called King’s Wing, which were used by Emperor William II (1859-1941) and his wife Empress Auguste Victoria (1858-1921) until 1918. After the small territory of Hesse-Homburg fell to the Prussian crown in 1866, the palace in the picturesque landscape developed into one of the most popular secondary residences of the kings of Prussia and German emperors. The interiors underwent numerous alterations and modernisations during the reign of William I (1797-1888) and also by the widow of the following emperor, Frederick III (1831-1888).
Finally, the most famous and also most controversial inhabitant of the palace was the last German emperor, who escaped the cruel reality he caused, especially during World War I, and yet always remained caught between world politics and private tragedy. On almost 1,000 square metres, visitors are taken on a journey back in time to the summer of 1918 in hourly guided tours. From the sumptuous social rooms to the most private retreats, the King’s WIng is the last authentic testimony to imperial residential culture to be preserved in Germany.
Exhibition: From Landgravial Seat to Imperial Palace
The permanent presentation on the ground floor of the King’s Wing, which opened in November 2021, guides German- and English-speaking guests through the most historically formative periods and provides insights into the everyday life of the respective rulers in excerpts. The exhibition presents the developments of Bad Homburg Palace and Palace Park in a concise and richly illustrated manner, taking into account both local history and the Europe-wide interconnections of the dynasties.
The multimedia and interactive presentation covers the period of the landgraves and landgravines of Hesse-Homburg from 1622 as well as that of the Prussian kings and queens - and later German emperors and empresses - from the so-called fateful year of 1866 to 1918. It allows visitors to immerse themselves in the biographies of both famous rulers and personalities who have received little attention to date, but who had a significant influence on their time and the history of the palace and palace park.
The exhibition rooms can be visited free of charge.