Schloss Ludwigslust – “The Little Versailles in Mecklenburg”
Duke Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin had the new castle built between 1772 and 1776 in accordance with plans by the court architect Johann Joachim Busch as the centrepiece of the late Baroque town layout of Ludwigslust. Under Grand Duke Friedrich Franz I, Ludwigslust also remained the main residence. Grand Duke Paul Friedrich moved the court back to Schwerin in 1837, after which the castle served as a hunting and summer residence.
From 1920, the building was partly open to the public as a museum. After the expropriations in the course of the land reform in East Germany, it was used by the regional administrative authorities.
Since 1986, Schloss Ludwigslust has belonged to the Staatliches Museum Schwerin and is being developed step-by-step as a museum for visitors.
The original facilities still remaining in the currently unrefurbished castle chambers include among others the fireplaces, mirrors, overdoors, parquet flooring and chandeliers. These, along with the surviving ornaments and decoration made of ‘Ludwigsluster carton’ (papier-mâché), characterise the impression of authenticity.
The castle will remain open to the public during the extensive restoration work to be carried out over the next few years. In addition to the illustrious collection of paintings, the busts by the French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon, the architecture models made of cork and the artistic clocks, future visitors will experience and enjoy top-class art on display across almost 3,000 square metres: The menagerie series by the French court painter Jean-Baptiste Oudry, porcelain from Meissen, silver and art chamber objects from Hamburg, ivory objects and a completely reconstructed picture gallery with works by the court painters Matthieu, Findorff, Suhrlandt and Lisiewsky. They reflect the appreciation for the arts that
the dukes of Mecklenburg had alongside their passion for collecting. Thematic guided tours, talks and educational events for groups of children and school classes are some of the additional options available to visitors of the museum. The festive concerts held in the Golden Hall between May and September also enjoy great popularity.
The castle is surrounded by gardens dating back to the 18th century. The original geometrically designed castle garden was extended in the mid 19th century by the landscape architect Peter Joseph Lenné to create a landscape with Baroque elements such as avenues, cascades, canals and water jumps. Today, the park consists of approximately 125 hectares.