Press material: Königs Wusterhausen Hunting Lodge
Königs Wusterhausen Hunting Lodge
Originally a medieval castle, the palace still retains its Renaissance look, acquired when it was redeveloped as a fortified residence. It was heavily influenced by Frederick William I (r. 1713–1740), the “Soldier King”, who was given the property as a drill ground in 1689 by his parents, Elector Frederick III (who was to become the first King of Prussia) and his lady consort Sophie Charlotte.
In Wusterhausen, renamed Königs Wusterhausen around 1717, Crown Prince Frederick William laid the groundwork for his administrative, commercial and military reforms. Here were the origins of his legendary tall guardsmen, the “lange Kerls”. Frederick William I was particularly fond of this place, which he used as a hunting retreat but also as a residence, and every year he would spend a few months here with his wife, Sophie Dorothea of Hanover, and their numerous children, including Crown Prince Frederick (II.).
After his death in 1740, the house underwent many changes of use over the next 250 years. It served the Kaiser as a hunting lodge, then as a museum, as a base for Soviet intelligence units and as the seat of a district council in GDR days.
At the end of September 2000, after almost ten years of restoration work, the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten (Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation) Berlin-Brandenburg re-opened the stately home as a museum. The former royal apartment, with works of art from the early half of the 18th century, is uncommonly austere for the baroque period, and that accounts for Königs Wusterhausen’s distinctive character. Of particular note are the works by the Soldier King himself, almost 40 in number, as well as the Officers’ Gallery, the painting of the celebrated Tobacco Club or “Tabakskollegium” dated around 1737 in the newly appointed room of the same name, and some striking portraits of the royal family.