One of the largest Baroque palaces in Germany

Ludwigsburg Residential Palace

Der Alte Hauptbau des Residenzschlosses Ludwigsburg; Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Urheber unbekannt
From hunting lodge to opulent residence

The buildings

Duke Eberhard Ludwig had actually wanted to build just a small pleasure palace on his game preserve north of Stuttgart. But something else happened instead. Over the course of a nearly thirty-year construction period, a massive palace complex emerged, with eighteen structural elements and more than 450 rooms.

The old central building at Ludwigsburg from the south. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Ralf Cohen

Construction began on the old central building in 1704.

From Erlachhof to Ludwigsburg

The old central building is the center of the residential palace. Starting in 1704, architect Philipp Josef Jenisch built a hunting lodge on the Erlachhof. A year later, the ambitious duke christened his new palace "Ludwigsburg." His plans for the palace had already expanded: the structure was now going to be considerably more grand. To this end, Duke Eberhard Ludwig hired a new architect. In 1707, Johann Friedrich Nette came to Württemberg from Brandenburg.

Copper engraving of Ludwigsburg Residential Palace and gardens, 1709, based on Johann Friedrich Nette; scan: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg

The palace as a three-winged building, circa 1707.

The Baroque hunting lodge

Between 1707 and 1716, Johann Friedrich Nette placed two elegant structures to the right and left of the old central building: the hunting pavilion and the gaming pavilion. The three buildings were connected by two gallery wings. On the south side, he added the order building to the west and the grand building to the east. Ludwigsburg was now a representative, three-winged complex around a wide, open courtyard. The incredibly magnificent interiors of these buildings have remained largely intact over the years.

Antechamber to the duke's box in the court church at Ludwigsburg Residential Palace. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Dieter Jäger

Antechamber to the duke's box in the east cavalier building.

Ludwigsburg becomes a residence

In 1715, the duke decided to entirely relocate his residence from Stuttgart to Ludwigsburg. Plans began immediately to expand the palace further. The Italian stuccoist, Donato Giuseppe Frisoni, replaced the deceased architect, Nette. He added the palace chapel and the order chapel based on Nette's plans. By 1722, he had also built the east and west cavalier buildings to accommodate the courtiers.

Aerial view of the four-winged building at Ludwigsburg Residential Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende

Space for courtly ceremonials.

Expansion to a four-winged building

The duke's rooms in the old central building, however, were too small for a residence and did not meet the requirements for courtly ceremonials. Starting in 1721, the duke was presented with multiple alternative designs for an expansion. In the end, he awarded Frisoni the contract. The architect had suggested a giant new palace wing on the south side of the courtyard. This new central building was built between 1724 and 1733. Two long galleries were added to connect it to the older parts of the palace.

Der Neue Hauptbau des Residenzschlosses Ludwigsburg von der Südseite; Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Ralf Cohen

Southern view of the new central building.