Schloss Wolfenbüttel is a palace in Wolfenbüttel in Germany, which served as the residence of the rulers of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel from 1432 to 1753. It was, for example, the home of Sophia Hedwig of Brunswick-Lüneburg, later Countess of Nassau-Dietz.
Perhaps one of the most notable royal women to be born here was Anna Amalia of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, later Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach by marriage. Anna Amalia was born there on 24 October 1739, but her relationship with her parents, especially with her mother, was reportedly not good. Her aunt Friederike Luise later wrote, “The Prince her husband is handsome, but stern and disagreeable, and it said regarded his children, and especially his daughters as mere household appendages.”1
Anna Amalia later wrote of her childhood, “I was not loved by my parents, who on every occasion kept me in the background, my brothers and sisters being always considered first.”2 Even her governess could not provide the love she desperately craved, and Anna Amalia wrote, “She, who was to form my mind and discipline my young heart, gave way to every ignoble passion, and vented all her ill-humour on me.”3
When Anna Amalia finally escaped this home where she was so unloved, she wrote she was like “a sick person rising from a sick bed, breathes the fresh air of heaven.”4 She went on to become a famous patron of the arts, founder of the Duchess Anna Amalia Library, a composer and regent of Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Eisenach.
The court she had left behind moved to Brunswick in 1753, and the palace was left empty.
The building was first used as a school in 1866, and since 1969, the Gymnasium im Schloss (GiS) has operated from the palace. The Museum Wolfenbüttel also occupies several rooms of the palace, and some of the rooms have been decorated to show what they would have looked like when the palace was in use.
The rooms are quite well done, and the paintings are absolutely lovely. I especially liked the portrait of Queen Christina of Sweden. The rooms have books with information, although this is only in German. The museum does offer guided tours in English, which have to be booked in advance. I was the only visitor at the time, which meant I had the full attention of the staff, which also made it a little bit awkward.
Overall, the museum is quite nice, but it’s small, so I am not sure I would have gone here just for the museum. The outside is absolutely gorgeous, though.
Plan your visit here.