Press material: Oranienburg Palace
Schloss Oranienburg is one of the most striking baroque buildings in the marches of Brandenburg. Its origins date back to the 13th century. A moated castle first mentioned in 1288 changed hands several times before finally ending up with the Hohenzollern dynasty in 1485 under Margrave Johann Cicero. Around 1550, Elector Joachim II built a hunting lodge on the same spot, and his successor Johann Georg had the interior completely redesigned. Traces of this Renaissance ensemble can still be found in the central section, later reworked in the baroque manner.
Today’s building began as a country seat built from 1651 for the first wife of the Great Elector (1620–1688), Louise Henriette (1627–1667), born a Princess of Orange. Her son, the future King Frederick I, had the residence extended and magnificently appointed from 1689 by architects Johann Arnold Nering and Johann Frederick Eosander. Around 1700 it was considered to be the Prussian monarchy’s finest residence. In the mid-18th century it experienced a second heyday under Prince August William of Prussia (1722–1758), a brother of Frederick the Great.
Following a dramatic sequence of uses, some with dire implications, the palace museum of Oranienburg now houses a collection of unique works, including the splendid etageres in the Porcelain Chamber. There is an outstanding ivory seating arrangement, made around 1640 in Brazil, and a series of tapestries from the Berlin manufactory of Pierre Mercier, a religious refugee from France, depicting the glorious feats of the Great Elector. Statues and other sculpture by François Dieussart and Bartholomeus Eggers and paintings by, for example, Anthony van Dyck, Jan Lievens, Willem van Honthorst, Thomas Willeboirts (Bosschaert) and Antoine Pesne complete this extremely rich collection. Another highlight is the Silver Chamber with its selected display of magnificent royal silverware.