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One of the largest Baroque palaces in Germany

Ludwigsburg Residential Palace

Old writing room with a hidden door in the king's apartment at Ludwigsburg Residential Palace. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Dieter Jäger
Behind the scenes

The servants' quarters

Hidden behind the majestic walls of the royal staterooms lies the simple servants' realm. Inconspicuous jib doors, invisible passageways and stairs lead through the world behind this beautiful surface.

View of the palace courtyard at Ludwigsburg Residential Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Thomas Wagner

Fleeting glimpses of courtly splendor…

Secret stairs, hidden rooms

It took many servants to make the lives of the nobility living in the luxurious residences as comfortable as possible. The staff's living and working spaces were often small, dark and poorly ventilated. At Ludwigsburg Residential Palace, many of the servants' rooms remain in their original condition today. Their existence, behind the shine of the majestic facade, is hard to imagine, concealed in intermediate stories, back courtyards and attics.

Interior courtyard on the east side of the new central building at Ludwigsburg Residential Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown

Hidden interior courtyard in the new central building.

Well planned by the architect

Two invisible interior courtyards were built by architect Donato Giuseppe Frisoni in the new central building at Ludwigsburg Residential Palace. They provide light for the neighboring rooms and servants' corridors. Technical details reveal just how sophisticated the plans drawn up by the Italian architect were. The fixtures for water supply and waste water removal are still identifiable today.

Servants stairs in the new central building at Ludwigsburg Residential Palace. Image: Chris Korner

One of the servant stairways in the new central building.

In the shadow of courtly radiance

Servants were meant to perform their duties as invisibly as possible. They were not allowed to use official hallways and staircases. Therefore, hidden stairs were built behind the palatial staircases and led from the basement to the roof. They comprise a labyrinth of passageways from which stoves and fireplaces in the royal rooms were tended from the back. A unique testament to history has been preserved here. The servants' realm tells the stories about the difficult lives of simple people at a time characterized by extreme social stratification.

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