Press material: Rheinsberg House and Park
Rheinsberg House and Park
The history of Rheinsberg is closely associated with Frederick the Great when he was a Crown Prince and with the life of his brother Prince Henry. After years of bitter conflict between father and son, “Soldier King” Frederick William I granted 22-year-old Frederick permission to run Rheinsberg as his official seat. By this time, the Crown Prince had married Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Bevern.
The existing Renaissance building on the island in its picturesque Lake Grienerick setting was converted to meet the needs of its new occupants, first by Kemmeter in 1734 and then by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff from 1737. At a comfortable distance from his strict father, Frederick created the “court of Muses”, where for the first time in his life he was able to pursue his artistic interests unhindered among kindred spirits. As yet unburdened by the responsibilities of government, he spent extremely happy years here.
A few years after assuming the crown, he gave the palace to his brother, Prince Henry, who drew on plans by Carl Gotthard Langhans and others to undertake conversions which would accommodate his own court. Frederick‘s park was expanded, becoming one of Germany’s earliest “gardens of sensibility”.
After many twists and turns – the palace served as a sanatorium for diabetics after 1953 – the property was placed in the Foundation’s care in 1991, when it re-opened as a museum. A major restoration programme was initiated to regain the original character of both palace and park, and it is not yet complete. The setting entered literary history when Kurt Tucholsky published “Rheinsberg – A Picture Book for Sweethearts” in 1912.