Unesco Ostein’s Niederwald

At the top of the mountain above Rüdesheim am Rhein, one enters the soil of a roughly 250-year-old “ornamental forest”. It is the creation of Karl Maximilian Count of Ostein. Then as now, its fusion of nature, ornamental buildings and magnificent views of the Rhine thrills the public.

At a glance

65385 Rüdesheim am Rhein

The forest and the monument are freely accessible

A map of Hessen HESSEN


The Ostein’s Niederwald is a garden monument from the last third of the 18th century. In 1763, Johann Friedrich Karl Maximilian Amor Maria Count of Ostein (1735-1809) inherited the approximately 304-hectare site and transformed part of it into a park forest over a period of decades. The last male representative of an imperial count’s family used a large fortune to develop it for himself and the pleasure of guests.

The Creation of a Rhenish Nobleman: Count Ostein

Situated on a mountain plateau between Rüdesheim am Rhein and Assmannshausen, he had a summer residence built in the south of the beech and oak forest from 1764 onwards, laid out a prestigious driveway and a network of paths, and constructed over a dozen park buildings richly decorated in detail. The undertaking took place at a time when the so-called English landscape garden was fundamentally changing garden art on the European continent as well, and in Germany it produced mainly emotional-sentimental gardens.

Niederwald aussicht

The views are a dream – here the view of Bingen. The ruins of Ehrenfels Castle lie on the hillside.

Foto: Michael Leukel, 2019

Niederwald rossel

The “Rossel” is an early artificial ruin in Germany.

Foto: Michael Leukel, 2019

Niederwald eremitage

Archaeologists discovered the foundations of the Hermitage during the revitalisation of Ostein’s Niederwald.

Foto: Olli Heimann, 2016

Niederwald monopteros

The Monopteros offers a panoramic view of the Rheingau region.

Foto: Michael Leukel, 2019

Niederwald leitsystem

A guidance system tells the story of the count’s ornamental forest in images and text.

Foto: Michael Leukel, 2018

Niederwald hochwald

Since the time of the count, the Niederwald has developed into a beautiful and species-rich high forest.

Foto: Kilian Schönberger, 2017

Niederwald rittersaal

A small house used to stand on the cliff.

Foto: Kilian Schönberger, 2016

Count Ostein had the part that had been rededicated as “ornamental forest” removed from forestry use and livestock fattening and had the woods grown through wildly. He inserted small building sections that, together with new tree species, shrubs and other ornamental plantings, created spatial images.

The island-like scenes were charged with themes, illusions, moods and especially with references to history and myths. While Count Ostein’s temple evoked the Arcadia declared in poetry to be a delightful landscape idyll, he paid homage to an idealised Middle Ages with the artificial structure of the “Rossel”, the cliff house and also the magic cave.

Grandiose views of the Rhine Valley

It is particularly beautiful that he included the varied views from the high altitude on the Rhine. The course of the river provides charming distant views from the forest due to the natural contrast between the lovely Rheingau and the narrow valley behind the Binger Loch, which was perceived as eerie at the time. Most of the architecture was built on the slopes or view corridors connected them with the Rhine valley.

Niederwald besucherzentrum


Niederwald Gastronomy
at the visitor centre
Restaurant manager: Alexander Künzler
Am Niederwald 4
65385 Rüdesheim am Rhein

Tel.: +49 (0)6722 / 71033-70