Buildings & grounds

The various buildings in the grounds of Schloss Neuhardenberg represent a homogenous unit, in architectural terms. It is characterised by the understated elegance of the neoclassical architecture, the well-balanced and extensive landscaped park, and the inviting atmosphere of the restaurants, the hotel and the function rooms.

The entire complex was sensitively restored between 1997 and 2001, and some period style extensions were added.

Palace

Whether viewed from the green, from the courtyard or from the park, Neuhardenberg palace is always the main focal point of the complex of buildings. The overall effect of the three-winged building’s architecture is best appreciated from the courtyard.

The palace’s architectural history began in the 1690s, when the estate, still called Quilitz at the time, was owned by Margrave Albrecht Friedrich von Brandenburg. He intended to build a grand mansion, but work did not progress beyond the basement.

The building was not completed until 1785 to 1790, when Joachim Bernhard von Prittwitz added one floor and a huge mansard roof, an imposing central bay and a so-called attic with statues. The entire exterior of the building was indebted to the baroque style. The interior, however, already featured some well-designed early neoclassical elements which have survived to this day.

These were added by the great Prussian designer and architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, an important champion of the neoclassical style, whom Karl August Fürst von Hardenberg commissioned with the redesign of the building in 1817 as he wanted a grander look. It was Schinkel who recommended that the architectural beauty of the building’s central axis should be retained and remain untouched by the otherwise extensive remodelling. Other than that, Schinkel completely redesigned particularly the exterior in the neoclassical style, and totally rearranged the layout. It is likely that Schinkel also had a major influence on the design of the interior; he may even have designed furniture exclusively for this project. However, most of the original furniture and furnishings, which also included state chancellor von Hardenberg’s library and his legendary art collection, have not survived.

The main entrance from the courtyard, which has featured a triangular pediment graced with the inscription GRATIA REGIS (‘Thanks to the King’) since 1852, leads visitors directly into the early neoclassical parts described above, which have remained intact since the palace was originally built, and into a vestibule with elaborate stucco decorations and consoles holding busts of Socrates, Homer, Cicero and Ganymede, for example, gifted to Schloss Neuhardenberg by the Sparkasse Märkisch-Oderland savings bank to mark the official reopening of the palace. Next along the main axis of the palace is the representative Garden Room, whose three windows afford extensive views across the landscaped park. The walls are decorated with relief medallions, and also with some musical instruments and stucco panels. To the right of the Garden Room is the ‘Salon Bülow’, which leads to the library that originally encompassed around 16,000 volumes; six thousand of these have been moved to the collection of the Central and Regional Library Berlin (ZLB). Like most of the other rooms, ‘Salon Bülow’ was also named after a family related to state chancellor von Hardenberg’s family. In the ‘Reventlow Room’, which completes the eastern side of the building, two original panels by the artist Ernst Lössnitz (1866-1933) from Zeitz on permanent loan from the Reventlow family are juxtaposed with two modern paintings by the artist Sabine Funke from Karlsruhe. This is an example of the artistic concept pursued throughout the building, which consistently seeks to establish a relationship between period elements and contemporary art. All of the rooms have been painted in matching colours to achieve a unified look following a colour concept that reinterprets the original neoclassical colours.

The building’s largest room is located on the upper floor: the ‘Hardenberg Hall’, equipped with a huge conference table that seats 40 people. It is a central element of the conferencing facilities at Schloss Neuhardenberg. The hall is decorated with large-scale linocuts by Munich artist Norbert Prangenberg. Some of the palace’s other, more intimate rooms are also available for meetings and functions. The hotel’s two exquisitely furnished suites are also on the upper floor.

Palace open to the public:
27 March to 30 October
Sundays, 13:00 – 18:00

Admission € 2.00

Guided tours:
27 March to 30 October
Sundays, start 13:00, 14:30 and 16:00

Admission including guided tour : € 3.00

Other buildings

Besides the palace, there are also a number of outbuildings originally constructed by Bernhard von Prittwitz and his son Friedrich Wilhelm. The forecourt is symmetrically framed by two long single storey buildings, former senior staff annexes called ‘Kavaliershäuser’ that date from around 1775. Today, the ‘Kavaliershaus West’ also houses the eastern rooms of the Hotel Schloss Neuhardenberg, which is made up of three buildings arranged around a courtyard. The central building is the former coach house, which has been converted into the hotel’s main building, with a new extension on the western side that offers additional rooms. The hotel complex is completed by a rotunda that houses the hotel’s breakfast room on the ground floor and its sauna and steam bath in the basement.

A permanent exhibition about the estate’s history and the von Hardenberg family is on display in the Kavaliershaus Ost. In addition…

…this is also the venue for the foundation’s special exhibitions, and forms the western boundary of another, adjacent courtyard with buildings on all four sides. The estate’s former distillery, or ‘Brennerei’, now houses the foundation’s restaurant of the same name. Next to this on the eastern side is the Great Hall, a new addition that is used for events and holds up to 190 people. At the southern side, this courtyard is bordered by the orangery, which was probably built around the same time as the original mansion house. Today, it is home to another restaurant, also called ‘Orangerie’.

Schinkel Church

The church just outside the palace grounds was extensively redesigned by the young architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel in 1801. It replaced the original, badly damaged baroque building. Therefore, although the construction of the church began when the estate was still owned by the von Prittwitz family, it was not completed until 1814, at the behest of Fürst von Hardenberg. Schinkel had a flat ceiling installed, topped the tower with a gently sloping conical roof and rearranged and redesigned the interior. The church was officially consecrated on 31 October 1817, 300 years to the day after Martin Luther nailed his ’95 Theses’ to the door of the church in Wittenberg.

Inside, the church houses an extraordinary curiosity: the heart of the deceased state chancellor, which was placed behind the altar five years after the church was consecrated and has remained there ever since.

The church organ donated by Carl-Hans Graf von Hardenberg in 1924 to mark the birth of his son Friedrich-Carl is no longer fully functional; on 4 December 2004, it was replaced with a large, reconstructed Buchholz organ that dates from 1817.

A society, the Förderverein Schinkel-Kirche Neuhardenberg, was founded in 1998 to maintain and restore the church. To fund the renovation of its interior, the society encourages sponsors to adopt one of the stars in the church’s ceiling painting, which were painted by Karl Friedrich Schinkel.

The parish kindly permits the Stiftung Schloss Neuhardenberg foundation the use of the Schinkel Church as an event venue, especially for concerts.

Open to the public:
Tuesdays to Sundays, 12:00 – 15:00
(subject to change in winter)

Tourist groups and ‘star sponsors’ are welcome to contact Ms Christa Starke on + 49 (0) 33476 – 50651 to arrange a visit.

We are sure you will appreciate that unfortunately, the church is not open to the public on Stiftung Schloss Neuhardenberg event days.

Park

The landscaped park designed by Peter Joseph Lenné and planted by Fürst von Pückler and John Adey Repton is an integral part of the palace and an important artistic element of its architecture. In the course of the renovation of the palace and grounds in the 1990s, the garden designer Adelheid von Schönborn was commissioned with its restoration. The park is rightly considered an outstanding element of Mark Brandenburg’s cultural landscape.

As during the renovation of the period buildings, the historic building and monument conservation aspect again dictated that the aesthetic intentions of those who originally designed the building and the landscaped grounds had to be retained. The former painting-inspired spatial interconnectedness had to be re-established, always under consideration of nature conservation.

A walk around the park constantly opens up new visual contexts in which the palace building, but also other fixed points and prominent landscape design elements play a key role. One of these is the very first statue of Frederick the Great. The monument was created by the sculptor Giuseppe Martini. It shows Mars, the god of war, and Minerva, the goddess of the arts and sciences, at a column with an urn, in mourning for the deceased king. Joachim Bernhard von Prittwitz had the monument erected in 1792. It was extensively restored in 2012/2013.

In 2004, an independent jury voted the Neuhardenberg grounds ‘Germany’s most beautiful park’ in recognition of the outstanding commitment to the restoration of the original design, the high quality of this restoration and the park’s exemplary, meaningful use.