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An extraordinary ensemble in an idyllic setting

Bebenhausen Monastery and Palace

Besucher im Schloss Bebenhausen; Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Niels Schubert
Here, the king could have privacy

The palace

King Friedrich I von Württemberg had the monastery's former abbot's house converted into a hunting lodge in 1807. Until the early 20th century, his two successors Karl I and Wilhelm II used Bebenhausen as a retreat from the court at Stuttgart and as a peaceful residence.

Exterior view of Bebenhausen Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Rose Hajdu

Bebenhausen as a refuge for the rulers of Württemberg.

A palace within monastery walls

Inside the monastery area, a complex of buildings borders on an interior courtyard in the southeast. A roofed passage connects it to the conclave. When the monastery was active, there was a guest house, hospital, and abbot's kitchen here. Since the renovations under King Karl I of Württemberg, this part of the monastery complex has been called Bebenhausen Palace. For King Karl as for his successor, King Wilhelm II, and his wife, Bebenhausen was a private refuge far from the strict protocol of the court.

Library room in Bebenhausen Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Bebenhausen local administration

The preservation of historic monuments saved the monastery.

Preservation of historic monuments and a passion for the Middle Ages

King Karl I of Württemberg knew Bebenhausen Monastery and his grandfather's hunting lodge from his time as a student in Tübingen. In 1850, under his predecessor, King Wilhelm I, the first preservation of historic monuments in Württemberg saved the old monastery from collapse. However, Wilhelm I never lived in Bebenhausen, as he had no interest in hunting. King Karl continued this work throughout his reign. In the fall, he often retreated to Bebenhausen for weeks at a time. For this purpose, the architect August von Beyer was intended to create rooms in the medieval style.

The famous Hirschgang, or "deer path", in Bebenhausen Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Christoph Hermann

The many hunting trophies gave the hall to the royal rooms the name "Hirschgang", or "deer path."

Outstanding: Historicism in Bebenhausen Palace

In the dining hall, in the guest apartment, and in the royal rooms on the upper story, original objects and furniture from the 16th and 17th century mix with pieces from the 19th century, designed in the styles of Gothic Revival and Renaissance Revival. Many precious originals come from the ducal cabinet of curiosities in Stuttgart that King Karl I had brought to Bebenhausen: Many items, such as the sword of Count Eberhard the Bearded, reference his noble lineage. The decor is supplemented with furnishings that imitate historical patterns and styles—all of the finest quality. One example: the tiled stove supplied by the renowned Nuremberg company, Fleischmann.

King Wilhelm II von Württemberg with his wife Charlotte in front of Bebenhausen Palace, photograph circa 1915. Scan: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown

During hunts, the royal couple lived in Bebenhausen.

Residence of the last royal couple

King Wilhelm II and his second wife, Charlotte, both passionate hunters, always lived in Bebenhausen during their hunting trips to Schönbuch. As of 1891, they continued the restorations and commissioned modernizations. The queen's apartment, her bathroom, the Green Hall, and the fully preserved palace kitchen were created during this time. After their abdication in 1918, the royal couple turned their backs on the residential city of Stuttgart and lived in Friedrichshafen and Bebenhausen, which was selected as a residence in exile due to its furnishings, which were modern for 1918.

Kloster Bebenhausen von außen; Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Christoph Hermann

Bebenhausen: beloved residence of the royal couple, Wilhelm II and Charlotte von Württemberg.

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