Big Garden (Hanover)

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Bird's eye view ( prospectus ) of the electoral summer residence Herrenhausen (Great Garden) from the north, the castle in the foreground, copper engraving, 1708
Northern half of the garden seen from the air: at the top of the picture the garden theater, in the foreground the maze

The Great Garden in the Herrenhausen district of Hanover is one of the most important baroque gardens in Europe . The garden area, which is enclosed by a graft, represents the historical core of the Herrenhausen Gardens , which also include the Berggarten , the Georgengarten and the Welfengarten . The rectangular facility has an area of ​​50.2  hectares (905 m × 555 m). The starting point of the planning was in the 17th century built Herrenhausen Palace .


Plant the garden

Golden Gate and Gallery Building
Bell fountain,
broderie pattern in the foreground
View from Hardenbergschen Haus into Lindenallee at the Graft

Duke Georg von Calenberg had a kitchen garden with buildings laid out in the village of Höringehusen in 1638 . When Georg's son Johann Friedrich came to power in 1665, he renamed the village to Herrenhausen and had a pleasure house built here, the predecessor of Herrenhausen Palace . He commissioned his gardener Michael Grosse to create a pleasure garden that was roughly the size of today's Great Parterre .

From 1674, the plans for the pleasure garden were concretized with the presumed participation of the Italian architect Girolamo Sartorio . The building supervision was subject to the court builder Brand Westermann . In 1675 the fountain master Marinus Cadart (Cattare) was hired. He designed the grotto and the great cascade . As a gardener in was Celle and Osnabrück for Guelph employed Henry Perronet († 1690) advisory capacity. The execution was subject to the court gardener Anton Heinrich Bauer, who was hired in 1675 . In addition, the Italian gardener Pietro Meccage was in the service of Duke Johann Friedrich from 1673 to autumn 1675 . In 1676 the main work began in the garden, the appearance of which can only be vaguely reconstructed due to a lack of sources. It is likely that the gardeners involved brought in a wide range of design elements for the Renaissance and early Baroque gardens. The garden area now comprised 14 hectares and thus corresponded roughly to the size of today's northern half of the garden without the side avenues. When Johann Friedrich died in 1679, the garden was not yet finished.

Expansion and heyday of the baroque gardens (1680–1755)

The expansion of the Herrenhausen Garden is closely linked to the rise of the Hanoverian line of the Guelphs. The creation and maintenance of large gardens had a high priority in the system of princely representation. Three regents shaped the heyday of the Great Garden between 1680 and 1755: Ernst August (1679–1698), who was appointed Elector of Braunschweig-Lüneburg in 1692 , his son Georg Ludwig , who was crowned King of England as Georg I in 1714 and Georg II , who was born in Herrenhausen Palace in 1683. Until his last visit in 1755, he made the summer residence a place for glamorous celebrations and diplomatic meetings, for which he kept the garden in excellent condition.

Extension by Ernst August and Sophie von der Pfalz

After 1680, Ernst August initially continued the expansion of the pleasure garden that his brother had begun. Like Johann Friedrich's, his taste was shaped by Italian culture. From several visits to Italy, both had brought back impressive garden experiences, especially from the Veneto . Furthermore, Ernst August and his wife Sophie von der Pfalz had visited Roman villas in 1664 . Ernst August expected the appointment as elector, which was not undisputed among the other German regents. In addition to diplomatic skills, his endeavors also required a splendid design of his residence in line with his political ambitions. The summer palace in front of their gates was supposed to reflect the regent's cultural education and financial potential. In 1683 Ernst August and Sophie brought the gardener Martin Charbonnier to Herrenhausen, who had already laid out the park of Osnabrück Castle for them. He completed the northern half of the garden. The summer residence achieved its first impressive effect.

Ernst August was in particular competition with the dukes from the Welf cousin line, the New House of Braunschweig with their residence in Wolfenbüttel . They too claimed the title of elector. After 1687, Duke Anton Ulrich began to develop the Salzdahlum Lusthaus into a summer residence in a competition with Duke Ernst August . As a result, there was a redesign and increased expansion of the gardens in Herrenhausen. Even now the duke and ducal couple drew on their knowledge of European gardens. In particular, Sophie is said to have shaped the garden design. From her own experience, she knew not only the relevant French grounds, which she had visited in 1679, but above all the baroque gardens in the Netherlands , where she and her family had spent their youth in exile. At the beginning of the new expansion phase, the garden theater was built in 1689–1694 and the gallery building in 1694–1696 as the second important reference point for the complex. From 1696, Martin Charbonnier began to expand the garden to double its size and to enclose the complex with the graft.

Expansion of the fountain systems

In August 1689, Ernst August dismissed the fountain master Cadart, who had determined the design of the numerous water features for thirteen years . In spite of numerous attempts, he failed in the main task of supplying them with sufficient water and pressure to operate higher jets for long-term operation. Most recently, Cadart traveled to Bremen with court architect Westermann and the master carpenter Heimsohn in 1686 to view the water art , which was built there as early as 1393 . The three suggested building a bucket wheel in the river Leine near Herrenhausen as in Bremen. But at first it was not possible to agree where the bike should be placed. In 1687, water began to be conveyed from Benther Berg to Herrenhausen.

In 1690, instead of the unsuccessful Cadart, Ernst August commissioned the Celle court architect Johann Friedrich de Münter , son of the pheasant master Benedictus de Münter , to improve the water features. Among other things, he renewed the water reservoirs laid out by Cadart to the northwest of the castle in the area of ​​the former craft school built between 1962 and 1965 , which remained in operation until 1956. After an illness in the previous year, De Münter died in August 1693. Now the master craftsman Pierre Dénis was brought from Paris, who began his service in Herrenhausen in 1694. He continued the projects that had been started. In the spring of 1696, the universal scholar Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz , who worked for Ernst August, took on the fountain project. His unrealized planning for the operation of the water features still referred to the old pleasure garden. It provided an answer to the two fundamental problems that remained true even after the garden was expanded. Leibniz was the first to propose the use of a water machine using Göpelwerke and pressure pumps and the damming of the line.

During his reign, Ernst August spent around 65,000  Reichstaler on the architectural design of the palace, garden and the court buildings in their vicinity. 16,000 Reichstaler went to the enlargement of the garden. In relation to this, the operation and expansion of the fountains proved to be particularly costly. Approximately 46,000 Reichstaler flowed into the Herrenhausen fountain project without achieving a fundamental increase in output.

Continuation of the work under Elector Georg Ludwig

With the death of Ernst August, Electress Sophie was awarded Herrenhausen as a widow's residence in 1698, including an amount for the maintenance of the garden and the water features. Since the financial means were insufficient to continue the work that had started, she handed the garden over to her son, Elector Georg Ludwig, but continued to reside in Herrenhausen. Georg Ludwig had the large parterre laid out and completed the extension to the southern half of the garden with the construction of the two round pavilions designed by Louis Remy de la Fosse in the southern corners. The garden was completed around 1708, after Georg Ludwig acquired the candidate for the English throne with the Act of Settlement (1701) and inherited the Principality of Lüneburg from his uncle. The garden now took up an area of ​​36  hectares , including the graft and the outer wall, it was about 50 hectares. Thus it almost corresponded to the area of ​​the old town of Hanover , in which over 7000 people lived in around 1000 houses. Georg Ludwig's preferred building project was the Great Fountain, which began around 1700 and ended in 1720.

In the area around the Great Garden, Georg Ludwig had other projects implemented, most of which were related to the more expensive court keeping. The buildings that still exist include the dairy building built in 1706, the page house designed by de la Fosse in 1708 and the orangery completed in 1723 . 1726–1727, the horticultural artist Ernst August Charbonnier , who had succeeded his father Martin Charbonnier in 1717, created the four-row linden tree-lined Herrenhäuser Allee as a representative driveway from Hanover to the Great Garden. At the same time, the lime tree avenue leading north from the castle into the then still open landscape was created.

1748–1751, under Georg II, the old court gardener's house for the first director of the now independent building and gardening authority Friedrich Karl von Hardenberg was demolished and replaced by a massive new building designed by himself in 1747 in collaboration with the court architect Johann Paul Heumann . The Hardenbergsche Haus shows features of French classicism and fits into the axis of the western side avenue of the Great Garden. It sets an end point for the expansion of the Great Garden. Around the same time, from 1747, the horticultural artist Matthias Charbonnier succeeded his father Ernst August Charbonnier .

Mid-18th century to 19th century

Park regulations, stone tablet from 1777

George III and George IV resided as kings of England in London, from where they ruled in the Electorate of Hanover. During the second half of the 18th century, the ruling house's interest in Herrenhausen Palace and its garden faded, so that major investments and changes were not made. For this reason, the Great Garden escaped the fate of many other baroque gardens that were transformed into landscape gardens . The stock of linden and hornbeam, which formed the backbone of the garden, was preserved over the long term through care measures. Important ornamental garden elements, however, were lost, not least because the large garden was subordinated to the botanically interested garden masters of the mountain garden and the orangery.

After the Seven Years' War (1756–1763) the Great Garden became accessible to the general public. In contrast to other residences, in which gardens were opened for strolling at the same time, there were no class barriers to access in Herrenhausen. One of the oldest preserved park regulations in Germany was created. It was placed on a stone tablet that is still preserved today and attached to the Prinzentor in 1777. The Great Garden developed into a popular place for walks for the Hanoverian population. The main attraction of the garden was the great fountain.

Even after Hanover was elevated to kingdom (1814) and after the end of the personal union (1837), the Guelph family primarily preferred Monbrillant Castle, which is close to the city, as a summer residence. From 1819 to 1821 the court architect Georg Ludwig Friedrich Laves renovated the Herrenhausen Palace and two years later the orangery. After King Ernst August moved the residence back to Hanover, the attitude towards the Great Garden changed. It was conceived as a monument to the history of the Welfenhaus. In addition, from the middle of the 19th century, the aesthetic reservations about formal gardens decreased again. In the 1840s, in addition to maintaining the regular structure of the complex, the repair of buildings, sculptures and fountains took place. From 1857 Georg V. used Herrenhausen as a summer residence, and during the construction of the Welfenschloss 1862–1866 even as a permanent residence. The spatial structure of the Great Garden allowed private, economic and public use to coexist.

After the annexation of the Kingdom of Hanover by Prussia in 1866, the Great Garden came under Prussian administration. The maintenance of the garden was financed from the interest on the confiscated private assets of the Welfen, the Welfenfonds . This lasted until the 20th century to keep the garden attractive. The fruit and vegetables grown in the kitchen garden quarters were henceforth sold on site. Around 1900 the lush ground floor, the Sophia monument erected in 1878 and the Great Fountain were popular motifs for postcards.

20th century to the present

Neptune Fountain (2008) on the orange ground floor
Detail of a broderie pattern

After the end of the First World War , the decline in value of the Welfenfonds during the inflationary years meant that there were no more funds available for appropriate maintenance of the garden. When the house in Braunschweig-Lüneburg got its property back in 1934, the garden was neglected and a year later it was threatened with closure. In 1936 the city of Hanover bought the Great Garden. The castle, the orangery, the gallery building and the immediately adjoining garden area remained in the possession of the Welfenhaus. According to the principle of the “creative monument preservation ” typical of the time , a redesign to an ideal baroque garden took place, for which the dissertation of the art historian Udo von Alvensleben from 1927 was used. It was carried out by the municipal garden department under the direction of the city gardening director Hermann Wernicke and the influence of the mayor Arthur Quantity . The garden architect Wilhelm Siepen designed some areas . For the work, the city mainly deployed unemployed people as part of “emergency work” paid for by the employment office.

The basic baroque structure of the complex was retained. The renovation focused on the show value of the garden, the aspect of the kitchen garden was not taken into account. Eight special gardens, the viewing terrace and the maze were newly created . One of the new attractions was the electrical lighting system that could be used to illuminate the sculptures, hedge walls and water features. The fountain systems were renovated and expanded. On June 13, 1937, the opening ceremony of the renewed garden, which was intended as a green recreational area, took place.

After the beginning of the Second World War, the maintenance of the gardens was gradually restricted. So that the Great Garden did not offer any guidance for the British squadrons, it was allowed to run wild. In the last years of the war and the first post-war years, the beds were used to grow vegetables, which caused the breadcrumbs to disappear. The garden was no longer open to the public. In 1943 the castle was destroyed in an air raid on Hanover , only the grotto, the great cascade and the outside staircase of the castle remained. The gallery building suffered only minor damage. The garden was covered with bomb craters. The clean-up work began shortly after the end of the war, and visitors were allowed again from August 26, 1945. The planting, especially on the large parterre, was restored in a simplified manner until the 1950s. There were various proposals for redesigning the Great Garden. In particular, the free space on which the castle had stood was the subject of various proposals.

In the 1950s, the Great Garden was established as an event location. Between 1943 and 1950 the gallery building had already served as a replacement stage for the destroyed opera house. In the summer of 1952, the first Festival Music Weeks took place in Herrenhausen , which from 1956 received the addition and theater and offered an extensive program, the focus of which was on the staging of baroque works.

The preparations for the three-centenary of the Great Garden from 1959 had the goal of restoring the garden to its 1937 shape. There were also restorations and, in some cases, redesigns. On January 1, 1962, the ruins of the castle as well as the gallery, orangery and the adjoining garden areas were acquired by the City of Hanover. With the provisional renovation of the castle area, in which the outside staircase was moved to the south-western edge of the ground floor , the city kept all future design options for the area open. A café garden opened in the area behind the cascade. In 1965 a rehearsal stage for the garden theater was set up west of the viewing terrace. The gardens were almost completely restored in 1966. With the celebrations, the year 1666 was set as the founding date of the Herrenhausen Gardens.

Maintenance and restoration work shaped the time after 1966. It became clear, however, that the city of Hanover lacked financial means for the necessary repairs to the frescoes in the gallery building, the sandstone figures, the Golden Gate and other historical garden elements. A Hanover daily newspaper went public with the appeal “Save Herrenhausen”. As a result, in the monument protection year 1975, the association “Friends of the Herrenhausen Gardens” was founded under the name “Action Committee Rettet Herrenhausen”, which has since supported the preservation of the garden both ideally and financially.

In the run-up to Expo 2000 in Hanover, an information pavilion based on a design by Thilo Mucke was created in 1998 as a gift from the Rut and Klaus Bahlsen Foundation on the northeast corner of the surrounding wall . A restaurant was built between 1999 and 2000 to the west of the castle grounds.


Herrenhausen Castle

Herrenhausen Palace around 1670

Herrenhausen Palace was built in 1640 through the gradual conversion and expansion of the Guelph manor into a pleasure house . The beginnings can only be vaguely determined. Under Duke Johann Friedrich , it was expanded into a summer palace from 1676 . Around 1688, Duke Ernst August began planning a new palace complex for Herrenhausen in competition with Salzdahlum Palace . The gallery building was built in the first expansion step .

During his reign, Elector Georg Ludwig pursued another building goal from 1698 with the expansion of the water features. The expansion of the large palace complex did not take place. Georg Ludwig contented himself with fundamentally repairing the castle. In 1725 the facade of the old half-timbered castle was renewed. Despite further new construction and renovation plans by the later court architects, the structural situation of the palace remained unchanged under George II . Under George III. all baroque facade decorations were removed from the palace. The maintenance effort for an elaborate plastering of the framework was too high. From 1818 court building officer Georg Ludwig Friedrich Laves gave the palace a classicist look.

From 1837 the castle was increasingly used again for representative dinners and receptions. From 1857 Georg V. Herrenhausen also used it as a residence. Until it was destroyed in an air raid on the evening of October 18, 1943, the castle remained in the appearance created by Laves.

The rebuilt castle seen from the garden side

After the Second World War, there were various unimplemented proposals to partially or completely rebuild the castle. In 1986, the cultural agreement concluded between the city of Hanover and the state of Lower Saxony stipulated a structural reconstruction that was tailored to the Great Garden.

With the help of the Volkswagen Foundation , the facade of the classicist Laves Castle was reconstructed . The foundation stone was laid on June 6, 2011, and the opening was celebrated on January 18, 2013.

Gallery building

Gallery building garden side
Arne Jacobsen foyer

The gallery building was built between 1694 and 1698. The initial design was made around 1690 and goes back to Johann Peter Wachter. The further planning developed in the interaction of the client, architects, artists and craftsmen. The construction management was the responsibility of the architect and painter Tommaso Giusti from Venice. Initially started primarily as an orangery for storing sensitive potted plants in winter, the building was increasingly adapted to use as a gallery and ballroom for the summer months during construction . The building was given the character of a 'maison de plaisance' ( pleasure palace ) by expanding the side pavilions to accommodate private reception and living rooms for the electoral couple, whom Electress Sophie drove forward . With the gallery building, the lack of a sequence of artistically lavishly furnished representative rooms in the Herrenhausen Palace was to be overcome. It was indispensable for the authoritative ceremony shaped by the French royal court . After building the garden theater, Elector Ernst August had the gallery building as the first construction step of the large palace complex he had planned as a suitable place for the sovereign to contact the court, with foreign envoys and high-ranking guests. The execution as a massive brick building, which among other things made possible the fresco painting of the hall, confirms the representative claim of the building intended from the beginning. In its architectural design, however, it is not based on French palace buildings , but on Italian villas and palaces .

With the gallery building, the use of Herrenhausen as a summer residence was emphasized. Its architecture and interiors expressly refer to the fondness of the Guelphs for the grand art of living in Italy. There, in particular, the retreat to the rural property with its splendidly designed buildings and garden spaces served the diversified diversion that went hand in hand with a relaxation of the ceremonial. During festivities, the gallery was used primarily during the heyday of the summer residence until 1755, but also later as a variable banquet , festival or ballroom . Today the building serves as a venue, exhibition and event space for the "KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen". For this function, the gallery building was expanded to include the Arne Jacobsen foyer between 1964 and 1966. The building designed by Arne Jacobsen serves as a cloakroom and foyer on two levels . On the outside, it appears as an elongated glass cube, which clearly stands out from the baroque gallery building due to its modernity, but at the same time is subordinate to it.


Garden facade (central projection) of the gallery building

The elongated, two-storey gallery building presents itself with the main facade facing the orange parterre and garden to the south. The central projection and the side pavilions are aligned with the secondary axes of the garden. The most striking feature of the cautious plastered facade, which echoes Italian architecture of the 17th century, are the numerous evenly lined up window axes. Square pilaster strips and window frames as well as the simple base and cornice made of sandstone are the prominent decorative elements of the facade. The central projection with the three-dimensionally framed main portal looks all the stronger in front of it. Corinthian pilasters carry the entablature and a triangular gable above the lintel decorated with a festoon . Its tympanum field is filled with the monogram of the electoral couple. The statues of Mars and Minerva on the sloping gables allow the princely regiment to appear under the auspices of the art of war, science and art as well as wisdom, law and virtue, in anticipation of the pictorial program developed inside the building. In the gable of the central risalite, the central group of three windows suggests a Serliana . The putti above her once held a cartridge with the coat of arms of the Electorate of Braunschweig-Lüneburg . With the attributes of the seasons, the four other putti refer to the rural situation of the summer palace. The slightly enlarged windows on the upper floor of the pavilion go back to the expansion of the living spaces. Simple balconies adorn the central windows. The mansard roof , a takeover from French architecture that made it possible to create additional rooms for servants, completes the building. Forged weather vanes adorn the corner pavilions, while a series of chimneys enliven the ridge of the central wing.

The five-axis side facades show a restrained design corresponding to the main facade. On the north facade, the windowed corner pavilions frame a closed wall surface simply structured by pilaster strips. Behind her lies the gallery, which is accessed via the simply designed, centrally located sandstone portal suspected of having a triangular gable. The coat of arms in the tympanum was used under Elector Georg Ludwig .

The gallery and the electoral living quarters

Gallery in the middle wing

The gallery occupies the central wing of the building. It has a length of 66 and a depth of 12 meters and thus a larger area than the mirror gallery of Versailles . As a result, it was sufficiently dimensioned to be used as a winter greenhouse and in summer as a princely place of representation. The only structural elements that structure the windowless north wall are the slightly protruding chimneys. These were intended for heating in winter. In order to ensure that the plants can be tanned, the south wall is heavily windowed. The subdivision of the window strips into two floors, which is not necessary for use as an orangery, points to the representative use of the hall. It is not French galleries with their principle of single-storey lighting that provide the architectural model for the Herrenhausen Gallery, but the two-storey design refers to Italian palace architecture: the galleries on the narrow sides of the room are a clear takeover of a peculiarity ascribed to Venetian hall buildings. There, as here, the galleries were used for solemn occasions to set up orchestras and singers. The ground level of the hall with the orange ground floor made it possible to incorporate it as an outdoor festival room, which was expanded and enhanced by the subsequent garden theater.

Fresco painting in the gallery building

In 1696, while the exterior was being completed, work on the gallery began. It was the responsibility of Tommaso Giusti, who made the designs for the frescoes and stucco ceiling. The painting in the gallery is one of the outstanding examples of Italian-influenced baroque fresco painting in northern Germany . According to Giusti's origins, she is particularly influenced and stimulated by Venetian painting. Giusti structured the walls with a perspective-illusionistic painted architecture (quadrature painting). Above the chimneys, he simulated a pillar architecture with niches set into it. The niches are painted with gilded equestrian statues. Arcades adorned with fruit garlands connect the pillars . They form the framework for views of an open sky with a colonnade in front of it. In the lower areas of the picture of the individual compartments , tapestries alternate with cartouches held or besieged by putti. Giusti repeated the niche architecture on the wall surfaces on the opposite south wall, but topped it off with a balcony that reveals the foliage and the open sky. He fills the niches with female and male statues . A stuccoed, rose-decorated knot ribbon decorates the mirrored ceiling . The stucco work was carried out by Pietro Rosso and Dossa Grana. Busts of Roman rulers complete the gallery's furnishings. The portraits made in the 17th century from alabaster and bronze were bought as supposed antique originals from Italy in 1715. In some cases, you will find exact equivalents in the cast collection of the Archaeological Institute of the University of Göttingen as well as in reduced form in figures from the Fürstenberg porcelain manufacturer kept in the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum .

View of the gallery, around 1725

The rolled out tapestries and the cartouche fields on the north wall painted in grisaille show scenes from Virgil's Aeneid . Their sequence begins on the western front wall with the prehistory, the destruction of Troy , the judgment of Paris and the robbery of Helena and ends on the eastern front wall with the evidence of the faith and the just regiment of Aeneas . In the comparison with the Paris scenes, the political-ethical development of the hero, who at the end of the epic embodies the ideal of the Roman emperor or the founder and ruler of states, is emphasized. The painted statues in the niches of the south wall complete the painted prince mirror . Here representations of selected acts of Heracles alternate with the personifications of his virtues. They illustrate the ethical ideals and duties of princely power. Fame and eternity are based on them, as the personifications in the east and west of the south wall show. The image program is directly related to the ruling house in Braunschweig-Lüneburg. In the middle of the north wall, the north portal is picturesquely expanded to form a triumphal arch, crowned by the alliance coat of arms of the Elector couple Ernst August and Sophie. With the choice of the Aeneid for the fresco program, not only the political-ethical development for the prince mirror is endeavored, but the founding legend of Rome is deliberately cited in order to emphasize the Italian ancestry of the Welfenhaus and to legitimize its claim to power. Ernst August commissioned Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz to work out this genealogy . It is not known who worked out the pictorial program as a specification for individual scenes and allegorical figures for Giusti. It emblematically reflects the world of thought and the sense of validity of a successful baroque politician.

The two side pavilions have well-developed rooms on several floors. The more intimate reception rooms are located on the ground floor and the living rooms are located on the upper floor. Tommaso Giusti and his colleagues equipped the rooms with a decoration program corresponding to the gallery. On the garden side, the walls are dissolved by pseudo-architecture and painted views of the landscape, while the rooms to the north show trompe-l'œil paintings. Allegories and mythological representations are integrated into this system . The paintings in the reception rooms vary the theme of the seasons, which are represented in ceiling paintings by deities and signs of the zodiac. The rooms in the western pavilion are dedicated to spring and autumn, those in the eastern pavilion are dedicated to summer and winter. The wall paintings in both pavilions are also linked. The rooms to the south show changes related to the seasons after Ovid's Metamorphoses . The northern chambers are dedicated to heroic deeds, depicted in the western pavilion by false reliefs of female figures and in the east by painted male busts.

On the upper floor of the western pavilion was the apartment of Electress Sophie in the east that of the Elector, which was used by his son and heir to the throne Georg Ludwig after Ernst August's death. Here the paintings repeat the program of the Fürstenspiegel, which experiences its final increase in the hall and ends in Ernst August's motto sola bona quae honesta ('Only good, what honorable'). The living rooms of the elector are tailored to the public and representation. The Electress's apartment is less official. The rooms facing the garden again show views of the expanse, structured by pseudo-architecture, into which the gods are integrated. The northern corner room, the cabinet of mirrors , is the most outstanding room. It has paneled, richly ornamented walls covered with mirrors and glass and is mainly painted in lacquer-colored red, gold and white. The room is an expression of Chinese fashion and an early German example of a cabinet that was used to display porcelain. Electress Sophie was inspired to furnish it by a visit to the porcelain chamber set up in Oranienburg Palace in 1695 . In 1706 Sophie received porcelain from Holland from her son-in-law King Friedrich I in Prussia to expand her collection, which she presented on wooden shelves. The porcelain collection and other items of equipment are no longer available today.


After 1705, the collection of frost-sensitive plants in Herrenhausen had become so extensive that the storage space in the gallery building was no longer sufficient and the usability of the gallery as a ballroom was too restricted. A solution to the problem was found in 1720 with the construction of a new orangery . Parallel to the gallery on the side facing away from the garden, court architect Johann Christian Böhm erected a broad, half - timbered building that had to be fundamentally repaired several times. The main features of the building are the strongly windowed south wall designed as a show facade. Behind it lies a plant room more than 87 meters long and 7 meters high, which is spanned by a 14 meters wide cantilever roof structure. The rooms at both ends and the corridor on the north wall, which was renovated in brick in 1739 and whose facade has been preserved to this day, served to heat the hall. In 1823 Georg Ludwig Friedrich Laves designed a redesign of the south and side facades. He had the half-timbered plastered, a plaster block created and gave the facades a classicist character. Since then, the orangery has given the appearance of a solid structure.

With the expansion of the mountain garden , the orangery lost its central function. It has been used for specialist and art exhibitions and classical concerts since 1969; Matinees are held in the foyer.


1717 was the north mansions Allee the Monbrillant castle built. The castle was demolished in 1857 and rebuilt in Georgsmarienhütte . Then the Welfenschloss was built on the same site and in 1879 it became the seat of the Technical University.

The garden

Vogelschauplan (prospectus): The Great Garden from the South, approx. 1725
Garden plan, ca.1725
Garden plan today

The approximately 450 meter wide and 800 meter long area of ​​the Great Garden (without graft) is made up of two square halves. Their respective structure goes back to the different development phases of the garden. The more detailed northern half is the older one, developed since 1666, the southern half the newer part of the garden created after 1696. The Herrenhausen Palace, together with the gallery building and the orangery to the east and a restaurant on the site of the former palace kitchen to the west, form the northern boundary of the garden. An artificially created moat, the graft , encloses the other sides of the not entirely regular rectangle of the garden.

The garden areas of the northern half include the separate gardens adjoining the palace wings. In front of the palace and the garden courtyard, the large ground floor, measuring almost 32,000 m², opens up . The swan ponds connect to the south. The ground floor and ponds are enclosed in a U-shape by a bosket zone . It consists of a sequence of rooms enclosed by hornbeam hedges on a square floor plan. To the west of the ground floor are the maze , the viewing terrace and the rehearsal stage, to the south the special gardens. The design highlight is the garden theater on the east side of the ground floor . The big fountain forms the center of the southern half . This part of the garden is designed exclusively as a bosket garden.

The reference point and starting point for the garden design is Herrenhausen Palace. The center of the castle defines the main axis that has evolved over time, towards which the garden floor plan is organized in mirror image. The dominant longitudinal axis begins outside the garden as an avenue leading to the castle from the mausoleum to the northeast in the Berggarten . It then leads across the courtyard through the palace portal and garden hall into the garden courtyard. Within the garden, the axis continues as a central main path, which is emphasized by its width, plants, and bell and large fountains. It ends at the southern garden border in a roundabout . Here the main line of sight is continued into the surrounding landscape. In the opposite direction, the main axis re-establishes the relationship between the garden and the palace. The parallel and intersecting, subordinate paths and lines of sight divide the Great Garden into its various design areas and their compartments. Hedges and avenues delimit the green spaces of the garden on this architectural floor plan. This basic framework has remained almost unchanged since the completion of the garden in 1708 until today. The design of the garden has been subject to various changes during its three hundred year history, which are respected and cared for as part of the history of the Great Garden monument .

Large ground floor

The great ground floor

The ground floor , which dominates the north half of the garden, measures 200 meters in width and 160 meters in length. It is divided into eight longitudinal beds. In between there are paths divided into three lanes by lawn carpets. The center of the ground floor is the bell fountain formed from 164 individual and illuminable water jets. Like the current design of the ground floor, it goes back to the garden renovation from 1936–37. The focus was not on a reconstruction of the paths and flower beds of the 18th century, but on a simplistic reinterpretation that was adapted to the tastes of the 1930s. To this end, Wilhelm Siepen has transferred two templates from a baroque sample book to the conditions in the Great Garden in his design . He designed the four middle ground floor fields as broderie parterres , the outer ones as simpler lawn parterres with only a few broderie patterns. Discounts with set Taxus and Buxus cut into a cone or spherical shape surround each compartment. They are used for seasonal floral decorations.

The basic concept of the ground floor used by Martin Charbonnier around 1700 is still recognizable. It was particularly effective in the supervision from the elevated position of the outside staircase of the castle. The latitude of the ground floor goes back, like the fountain basin in the center, to the earlier garden design around 1676. The ground floor in Herrenhausen thus contradicted the longitudinal orientation required by French garden theory. In order to suggest this, Charbonnier concealed the width of the paths through the inserted lawns, so that the ground floor fields visually move closer together. In addition, he let the lawn carpets run uninterruptedly in a north-south direction from the cross paths over the depth of the parter vineyards. In order to achieve a depth effect, the secondary axes from the grotto and cascade were continued over the ground floor to two hedge niches on the northern border of the southern half of the garden. In the 18th century, two arbors stood here as an architectural counterpoint . In the main axis the view went to the Great Fountain and further into the landscape.

Equipment: sculptures and sundial

The manor house on the ground floor was also an open-air representation room; therefore it was not only beautifully designed, but also richly decorated with sculptures between 1702 and 1710 . 32 sculptures made from Barsinghauser sandstone by various sculptors decorate the ground floor. They are painted white to suggest marble . The inspiration for the sculpture program came from Versailles . It was there in 1679 that Electress Sophie saw the cycle of statues designed by Charles Le Brun in 1674, the so-called “Grande Commande” for the Parterre d'Eau . In Herrenhausen, too, the sculptures not only serve as an allegorical representation of the cosmos, but are also symbols of the prince's position in the world order . The ground floor is marked out at its outer corners by the personifications of the four continents known at the time as the earth's circle . The four elements are represented several times in variations , for example in the mythological pairs of figures around the fountain, the magnificent vases at the crossroads to the west and by deities at the entrances to the cross paths. The splendid vases to the east of the fountain allegorize the four seasons, which are related to the four ages. Other deities and allegories allude to the virtues and privileges of the prince. Opposite the castle, on the north side of the parterre, two Hercules statues line the main path. The elector himself is reflected in the ideal of rulership symbolized by them and at the same time acts as the protector of the garden. The Europe set up on the northeast corner establishes the connection to Elector Georg Ludwig . At her feet lies an electoral hat, and the imperial double-headed eagle on the shield refers not only to the Holy Roman Empire , but also to Georg Ludwig's office as Imperial Treasurer.

In 1712, a sundial was installed directly at the transition from the garden courtyard of the palace to the ground floor . King George I had this replaced between 1722 and 1727 by today's brass clock, which watchmaker Jonathan Sisson had made in London. In Herrenhausen the clock was placed on a pedestal decorated with rocailles .

Grotto and cascade

Big cascade

As a cave and waterfall created by human hands, Marinus Cadart laid out a grotto and cascade in 1676 during the palace expansion . They were designed as massive sandstone shells, as they were one of the garden's water arts . Therefore, they were constantly at risk from moisture in their substance. This then also led to frequent repairs.

Both buildings function as garden-facing head structures of the adjacent castle side wings and were also accessible from their flat roofs. Models for their design can be found in the terraced gardens of Roman Renaissance villas. There grottos and cascades were set into the retaining walls of the terraces and had only one side to be seen. Cadart placed his buildings as direct quotations from these water features on the level of the Great Garden. This explains the contrast between the well-designed facades and the simple backs. In particular, the grotto was given an elaborate exterior and interior decoration made of ores, crystals, broken glass, as well as mussel and snail shells , thanks to the collaboration of the grotto maker Michael Riggus . This decoration was found as a connecting element on the cascade and the end faces of the adjacent side wings. Up until his recall, Cadart was busy maintaining and adding to the delicate decorations and changing the interior of the grotto. In 1700, the Wolfenbüttler court plasterer Giacomo Perinetti and the court architect Brand Westermann carried out a simplified repair of the facades.

The cascade, completed in 1685, is nevertheless a good example of the water features set up under Duke Johann Friedrich . They were designed in small pieces and showed an artistic character. Four six-tiered watercourses, the individual basins of which are adorned with dripstone-like pendants and shells, shape and structure the façade. They lie between five niches. The two lateral and central ones are filled with clam-adorned rock replicas. Larger-than-life sculptures are placed in the other two niches. The nude figures represent Venus and Leda . Curved flights of stairs frame the facade and enclose the fountain basin. Two reclining river deities decorate the rusticated cheeks. Small sculptures representing gods are placed on the parapet.

In 1848, the grotto was given its present-day, heavily rusticated facade made of slag and ore, based on a design by court architect Georg Heinrich Schuster . A last repair was carried out in 2002.

Design of the grotto by Niki de Saint Phalle

One of the last works by artist Niki de Saint Phalle is in the Great Garden . She redesigned the three-room grotto. Originally, the rooms decorated with crystals, minerals, glass and shells and equipped with water features served as a cooling retreat on hot summer days; the decorations should enchant visitors during their stay.

After the remains of the badly damaged decorations had been removed in the 18th century, the grotto was used as a storage room. Between 2001 and 2003 - the new opening year - employees of Niki de Saint Phalle refurbished the interior with glass and mirror mosaics as well as sculptures based on the artist's designs. The theme is "Human life". The octagonal central and entrance room, the walls and column of which are decorated in a spiral shape with alternating ribbons of colored broken glass, mirrors and pebbles, symbolizes spirituality . The mirrored room branching off to the left is dedicated to the subject of “day and life”, the right, blue room to the subject of “night and cosmos”. There is a small fountain with a statue on each side of the side rooms .

Separate gardens (apple piece, fig and flower garden, orange parterre)

Orange parterre, around 1725, copper engraving
Orange parterre and gallery building
Neptune fountain in front of the gallery building
flower garden

Four separate gardens, bordered by hedges and separated from one another, which were reserved for special plantings or uses , are immediately adjacent to the castle wing . Today's names go back to this. The two gardens adjoining the east wing of the palace were created as ornamental gardens . On the west side are the fig garden and the so-called apple piece. Both were originally kitchen gardens and served to supply the farm with local fruit, exotic fruits and special vegetables. Its successful cultivation and presentation on official occasions complemented the sensory experience of the Great Garden as a work of art and thus increased the prestige of the host and his court. According to the French garden theory around 1700, orchards and vegetable gardens should be hidden. The combination of ornamental and kitchen gardens goes back not only to the tradition of the Renaissance garden, but was also a design element of the Dutch baroque gardens . This inclusion also reflects Electress Sophie's preference for fruit.

The fig garden, located behind the grotto and visible from it, is used for gastronomy today. The restaurant building, built in 1999–2000 based on a design by Peter P. Schweger and Wolfgang Schneider , is located on the site of the former castle kitchen. In front of her there was originally a greenhouse in which fig trees were planted. Cold-sensitive espalier fruit was grown on the walls in front of it. The design of the café garden is intended to draw attention to the baroque kitchen garden, into which three preserved earth greenhouses from the 1830s and cold frames from the 1960s have been included.

The apple piece has served as a garden work yard since 1937. Wilhelm Siepen respected in his design the existing arrangement of the separate garden, which dates back to the 18th century. A garden pavilion from this period has been preserved on the western edge to this day. In the course of its use, the original complex was gradually built over and the quarter increasingly separated from the garden.

The flower garden behind the cascade was originally reserved for private use by the Princely House and was therefore also called the private garden. It was laid out as a small baroque garden. A flowerbed area corresponded to the ground floor . It was bordered at the side by avenues that led to the hedge bosque area with small cabinets. Only the northern area served as a connecting passage between the castle and the gallery building, shielded by a hedge. The glass foyer designed by Arne Jacobsen has bordered the garden here since 1964 . The cast iron corridor was built between 1861 and 1862 and is one of the few remaining design elements from the 19th century in the Great Garden. The flower garden served as a café garden for decades. After the opening of the restaurant in the Feigengarten, it was redesigned by Guido Hager . Hager reinterpreted the baroque design elements of the ground floor, bosket and avenue in a consciously modern design language.

The orange parterre is in front of the gallery building . It had a public and representative character. In summer it was also used to display the extensive collection of cold-sensitive plants. In 1714 it comprised over 400 orange trees as well as other potted plants such as oleander or pomegranate and a multitude of flowers kept in pots. In the 1730s, mainly citrus and laurel trees were placed in artistically painted plant boxes on the orange parterre. In the otherwise free space, the potted plants were arranged in rows according to a layout plan so that a cross around the central fountain basin and a walkway outside remained free. The impression was of an orange grove. At the same time, the orange ground floor expanded the hall of the gallery building with a level transition to the open air. Opposite the portal of the building, the Golden Gate leads to the garden theater. Thus the orange parterre belonged to the baroque festival rooms of the Great Garden.

Around 1965 the Orangenparterre received its current, baroque design based on a design by Karl Heinrich Meyer . He provided the space in the corners with four square shelves for orange trees. Their large central fields show a checkerboard-like pattern of dark and light decorative gravel, which is structured by box tree ornaments . These also adorn the four other bed compartments in the path axes. In the north-south axis they show the coats of arms of Elector Ernst August and the city of Hanover .

The Neptune Fountain in the center of the ground floor was officially inaugurated on April 28, 2008, the construction costs amounted to 320,000 EUR. The work was recreated after an architecture competition by the sculptor Magnus Kleine-Tebbe from Braunschweig using baroque brass fountain figures. The gargoyles from the 17th century stood on the balustrade of the grotto from 1849 to 1997 after the fountains in the Great Garden were restored around 1840 without decorative figures . With the creation of the Neptune Fountain, which can be recognized as a deliberate redesign, they returned to their perhaps original location.

Garden theater

Garden theater: auditorium and stage.
Stage with golden figures

The garden theater in Herrenhausen is one of the few baroque open-air theaters still in existence . It is therefore an outstanding monument to the history of garden art and theater. It was built between 1689 and 1692 and is still used today. In the form of the hedge theater , it implements the stage construction principle of the scenery stage developed in the 17th century in the open-air theater. The Herrenhausen Garden Theater is one of the earliest examples north of the Alps.

As the first project of the redesign of the summer residence initiated by Duke Ernst August , the theater was realized in the two bosket quarters east of the ground floor . The northern quarter, bordering the orange parterre, houses the Königsbusch and the auditorium , which - in reference to antiquity - is also known as an amphitheater . In the Herrenhausen Garden Theater there are two series of steps that rise from the parquet floor; first in slightly swinging back steps, then around a semicircular square. The putti on the parapets of the lower tier are allegories of the seasons, the parapets of the upper tier are empty today. Marinus Cadart is considered to be the designer of the auditorium . The model for the design of the amphitheater was that of André Le Nôtre 1664–1671, which no longer exists today in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris .

The design for the stage , according to baroque parlance the actual theater, is attributed to Johann Peter Wachter . The theater is separated from the amphitheater by the cross path leading from the bell fountain and occupies its own hedge area. The raised parquet level platform measures approximately 62 x 58 meters. The backdrop stage, on a gently sloping floor, is made up of hedge walls arranged in pairs on the left and right and staggered one behind the other. Their converging leading edges create the accelerated perspective of the set . The fountain at the end of the stage directs the view into the depths. Linden trees planted in front of the head ends of the hedges and the golden figures in front of them alternating with conical cut yew trees enrich the stage setting. Two gold-plated copies of the so-called Borghesian fencer , aligned with one another , accompanied by the sculptures of the goddesses Ceres and Luna , form the stage portal. Golden figures also frame the stairs to the corridors to the side of the scenery. At the southern end of the stage, a two-flight staircase encompasses the small cascade designed by Johann Friedrich de Münter . It was renewed in 1777 by master mason Johann Georg Täntzel.

A total of 18 of the originally 27 gold-plated figures form the glamorous decoration of the hedge theater. Most of them are replicas of antiquities . In addition to the Borghese fencers, there is also a Venus Medici among the sculptures, which in particular depict dancing and music- making figures from the entourage of Dionysus . Duke Ernst August had them obtained from Amsterdam around 1690, where they were made by the lead caster Barend Dronrijp based on models by the sculptors Georg and Willem Larson. Gilded lead castings in gardens of the 17th century often replaced the original sculptures that could not be obtained and were also cheaper than more durable bronze figures . After an extensive restoration between 2004 and 2009, 17 of the original lead statues can still be seen in Herrenhausen . In 1974 they were replaced by more weather-resistant bronze copies. Due to the sensitivity of their material, lead figures are now rare witnesses to this type of sophisticated baroque garden furniture. The figures lost today adorned the balustrade at the end of the stage and the parapet of the upper tier, so that the entire theater - auditorium and stage - was surrounded by golden figures and was perceived as a spatial whole, as a garden hall.

In the 18th century, the garden theater fulfilled the task of providing an outstanding setting for courtly representation. As part of the festival architecture of the Great Garden, it was not only used for ballet and theater performances, but was also the location for state receptions, balls and masquerades. The king's bush made the political demands of the ruling house clear. It encloses the outer wall of the amphitheater in the northern theater mosquito, which is made of brick and divided by sandstone niches. The center is a roundabout surrounded by hedge walls. The portrait sculptures of Dukes Georg , Ernst August and Georg Ludwig (Georg I) and Duchess Sophie displayed there illustrate the rise of the Welfenhaus . On the way between the ballroom in the gallery building and the garden theater as its outdoor counterpart, the Königsbusch is the most obvious and still preserved reference to the builder couple Ernst August and Sophie and their genealogy . This path and line of sight was dominated after 1694 by a now-lost cartouche of the coat of arms of the electorate above the central projections of the gallery building.

The repairs of the 20th century under Hermann Wernicke and Karl Heinrich Meyer brought on the one hand an approximation to the baroque archetype of garden theater, on the other hand it was adapted to modern theater. Additions include the orchestra pit and the green entrance portals on the side of the parquet. The former bosket rooms on the side of the stage were replaced by buildings for technology and cloakrooms, among other things. The garden theater can now accommodate around 1,000 spectators.

Maze, viewing terrace and rehearsal stage

The maze

In the 19th century, horticultural use in the northern half of the garden had disfigured the bosket zone. The typical baroque internal division of the individual quarters into corridors, niches and rooms by hornbeam hedges and the filling of the inaccessible areas with dense wood had disappeared. To the west of the Great Parterre, attempts were made in 1936–37 to compensate for the loss by creating a design counterpart to the garden theater.

The maze was created as a new attraction in the Great Garden . It is a modeled system based on a plan from 1674. The maze has an octagonal floor plan and a diameter of 38 meters. The wrong way is surrounded by hornbeam hedges , the length of which is 500 meters. A pavilion, which was originally provided with an aviary for exotic birds, forms the focal point. It is not known whether there was actually a maze in the Great Garden in the 17th century. In the side hedge cabinets there are casts of vases from the Berlin Monbijou garden .

City planning officer Karl Elkart provided the design for the viewing terrace . Your platform is shaded by a double row of box- shaped linden trees. The terrace was part of a more comprehensive plan that was not implemented any further. In 1965, a rehearsal stage for the garden theater was built on the remaining area of ​​the bosquet.

Swan ponds

The swan ponds

The four square swan ponds go back to two fish ponds that were created around 1665 . In the course of the garden expansion, they were divided after 1696, as the graft now mainly took over the function of draining the terrain and the water features. Due to the division, the ponds fit into the square structure of the old pleasure garden typical of Renaissance gardens. The water bodies, equipped with wooden houses and used for breeding ducks and swans, hardly appeared opposite the garden, as they were surrounded by hornbeam hedges in the 18th century. During the redesign in 1936–37, the previously lower-lying ponds were replaced by shallow water basins based on a design by Wilhelm Siepen and equipped with small fountains and lighting. Rows of lime trees in a strict box cut delimit the garden area. They can also be found as a defining design element in the linden pieces on the side.

Special gardens

The special gardens laid out in 1936–37 replace the baroque bosket quarters , also known as bushes , which have not been restored . Instead, eight show gardens were created on its square floor plan, which emulate garden designs from the 17th and 18th centuries as walk-in pictures. Typical design elements such as the ground floor , ornamentation and water feature were varied and enriched with small architecture and sculptures. The drafts were primarily provided by Wilhelm Siepen. The island garden was created based on a design by the painter Bernhard Dörries . The gardens have the following themes:

  • Low German rose garden
  • Lawn garden
  • Island garden
  • Renaissance garden
  • Baroque garden
  • Rococo garden
  • Low German flower garden
  • Spring water garden

The basic baroque shape has been restored in the two large hedgerows that adjoin the special gardens. The pavilions in the middle and the water basins in the hedge cabinets are, however, enrichments from the 1930s.

Southern half of the garden

Small fountain in the southern half of the garden
Sophia Monument

The southern half of the garden (also called "Nouveau Jardin") was laid out as a bosket garden on a geometrical floor plan from 1696 . The green spaces enclosed by hornbeam hedges, the Boskette, which are planted with trees, are characteristic of the garden area, which is enclosed by the side avenues of the Graft . The path system divides the almost square half of the garden into a total of 32 triangular woody compartments, which were originally called "triangles". For this purpose, the main avenue and an equally wide cross avenue divide the garden area into smaller squares. The intersection of the avenues in the middle of the Boskettgarten has been expanded to form a spacious star square, which is filled by the water basin of the Great Fountain. From here, diagonal paths radiate to the corner points of the square. This figure is repeated in the smaller squares. Here the two longitudinal axes extend the axes that delimit the ground floor from the bosquet zone in the northern half of the garden . Octagonal fountain basins decorate the small star places. Each bosket room has a portal located at the squares. At the east and west end of Querallee, semicircular squares and at the south end of Hauptallee a roundabout link the paths with the avenues of Graft. A semicircular square marks the transition of the main avenue from the northern to the southern half of the garden. Two flanking hedge niches emphasize this entrance situation. Originally there were garden pavilions here. In the eastern niche, the place where Electress Sophie died in 1714, there is the larger-than-life Sophia monument made in 1878 by Friederich Wilhelm Engelhard from Carrara marble . In the western niche, the castle's open staircase was erected around 1965.

In the 18th century most of the triangular bosket rooms were planted in a grid with fruit trees. The electoral court saw the blossoming and fruiting trees as an enrichment of the garden. He thus moved away from the theory of the French baroque garden , which specified a separation of pleasure and kitchen gardens. The southern half of the garden was used for fruit growing until the 20th century . It was not until 1936, after the city of Hanover took over the garden, that this use was felt to be incompatible with the ideal of the baroque garden. Hermann Wernicke had the fruit trees replaced by deciduous trees. They grew together to form a dense, unstructured mass of trees, which emphasizes the architecture and enhances the lines of sight in the paths. As a result, contrary to historical conditions, the southern half of the garden was given the character of a “parc” , a hunting ground based on the French model with aisles and avenues , but which had no hedges. The bosket rooms around the large fountain were given seats, which emphasized the aspect of the urban green recreational area .

Big fountain

Big fountain

The large fountain in the center of the southern half of the garden has been in operation since 1719. Your water jet today reaches a height of 81 meters when there is no wind. To do this, the water is pressed through a 4 millimeter wide, circular slot. It reaches a maximum speed of 140 km / h. Since the jet is hollow, the hourly water consumption of the fountain is only around 500 m³.

The construction of the Great Fountain began around 1700. Elector Georg Ludwig made the plan to create an imposing fountain jet his prestige project, which was intended to legitimize his claim to rule among the other German rulers as visible evidence. Baroque potentates therefore endeavored to associate their name with a sensational building project. The challenge in Herrenhausen was to generate sufficient water pressure on the plain without being able to use a natural gradient to operate a fountain that could also take on the 27 meter high water jet from the Bassin du Dragon in the park of Versailles . Georg Ludwig did not choose an architectural project, but a project that could only be realized through the use of innovative technology and that made him appear as a modern, future-oriented ruler. The choice of the southern half of the garden made it possible to stage the fountain as an absolute symbol of the ruler. Its jet of water, which defeats gravity and thus nature, symbolizes power. The fountain forms the center of the geometrically designed garden and dominates it like the prince, who is at the center of an orderly state and rules it. Since the bouncing jet should only be put into operation on special occasions in order to then draw everyone's attention, it resembled the appearance of the ruler in the circle of court society.

Commissioning and technical improvement of the large fountain

As a first step towards the modern expansion of the mansion water features, Pierre La Croix , who was brought from Paris to Hanover in 1700 after the death of the fountain master Pierre Denis, created the round sandstone basin for the large fountain. It has a diameter of over 50 meters. The technical implementation of the project, however, turned out to be more difficult than hoped. A conventional pump system installed on the river Leine in 1706 at the gates of Hanover and operated with a water wheel turned out to be too inefficient to operate a high fountain. Elector Georg Ludwig hoped that the use of steam engines would possibly bring a satisfactory solution. As a result of his candidate for the English throne, contacts with England grew stronger and stronger. From 1706, the German-speaking, politically ambitious English cleric and amateur architect William Benson sought the favor of the future king. After the accession to the throne (1714), Benson exposed himself as the inventor of water machines. King George I put his trust in him, but had Benson's information checked in 1717 by the machinery director Bernd Ripking and the best mining engineer from the Electorate of Hanover . They considered the constructions seen in England, which also included steam-driven pump systems in Cornwall's mines , to be suitable for use in Herrenhausen. In addition, it was hoped that the construction would provide basic technical knowledge that would be used to drain the mines in the Harz Mountains .

In 1718, Georg I. Benson commissioned a fee of 20,000 Reichstalers to install a water machine with an associated weir in the Leine southwest of the Great Garden. After more than twenty years, a proposal that was partially comparable to Leibniz's approach was implemented. Benson turned out to be less an inventor than a skilful broker who brought experts from England to Hanover to carry out the major engineering work for the 18th century. First came the mechanic Joseph Andrews. He was followed by the master carpenter Joseph Cleeves and nine other craftsmen. The royal house mostly provided soldiers as labor. In March 1718, the three-year excavation work began for the almost 900-meter-long drainage canal behind the planned water machine (today: Ernst-August-Kanal ). Four months later, work began on the 52-meter-long wooden weir across the current. It was supposed to dam the river 3.20 meters high. To regulate the water level, there were 46 wooden gates that could be operated from a pedestrian walkway. The half-timbered machine house was the core of the system. It housed five water wheels with a diameter of 9.4 meters and so-called "sweeping locks" for driving 40 pressure pumps. Three of the wheels were supposed to drive the pumps for the large fountain, two were intended for the operation of the older, small water features, which were to continue to be supplied by the old water reservoirs. For the first time in Herrenhausen, cast-iron pipes that withstand the high pressure were used for the pressure line to the fountain . In order to control the system, visual contact with the large fountain and the castle could be maintained from the accessible roof of the machine house. On September 21, 1719, a trial run of the three completed waterwheels took place in the presence of the king and the court. Instead of the hoped-for 20, the water jet from the fountain was only a disappointing 5 meters high.

In order to avoid a loss of prestige, everything was done to remedy the deficiencies. The machine director Bartels, who worked at the pumping systems of the Harz mines, and the Hanoverian court building clerk Junge had the 550-meter-long pipe string replaced by a double lead line of larger diameter, the two missing waterwheels completed and pumps made of cannon metal. The scholar and member of the Royal Society, John Theophilus Desaguliers (1683–1744), who came from a Huguenot family, recognized another mistake in the fact that the connecting pipe to the basin was not curved, but bent at right angles. In September 1720 the jet of the Great Fountain reached a height of 35 meters with no wind and with the use of all water wheels and pumps: King George I now had the most powerful spring jet of all European courts. For the Great Fountain, the expenditure totaled 220,000 thaler, a sum that is comparable to the 230,000 thalers construction costs of the Dresden Frauenkirche (1726–1734).

Joseph Cleeves and his son John were employed as machine supervisors to ensure the functionality of the vulnerable system in the long term. In the following years, the water art was expanded into a permanent construction. Among other things, two wheel chambers of the water machine still framed with piles were attached by the court architect Johann Paul Heumann with foundation walls made of sandstone blocks in 1742 . They are the only remaining traces of the old water machine. Also in 1742, the interruption in shipping traffic on the Leine, which had existed since 1717, was lifted by the construction of a temporary wooden lock. In 1766, the still-preserved massive chamber lock was built, which now enabled extensive cargo ship traffic over the drainage canal. In the second half of the 18th century, care and maintenance was concentrated on the water machine and the large fountain, which had established themselves as special attractions. The other water features in the Great Garden were neglected.

In the middle of the 19th century, work began on increasing the performance of the Great Fountain in order to make it the world's highest again. In 1856, the court building inspector Richard Auhagen shortened the line and replaced the lead pipes with cast iron pipes. Without any changes to the water machine, the spring jet now reached a height of 44 meters. In order to keep up with the competition, King Georg V commissioned the building councilor Heinrich Hagen in 1861 to design a new, still water-powered pump machine. The new pumps were manufactured by the Egestorff machine factory in Linden. Due to the technical progress, the drive by two wheels with a diameter of 8 meters was sufficient. The new machine house, built in 1862, was designed by court building officer Georg Heinrich Schuster and court building inspector Richard Auhagen. With the system completed in 1863, the large fountain reached a height of 45 meters with the pumping power of a water wheel. With both wheels in operation, the pumps delivered 400,000 liters of water per hour, which was sufficient to drive the jet up to 67 meters, making the Great Fountain the second highest garden fountain in Europe. The pumping machine, known as water art, is now a technical monument and is kept functional. It regulates the water level of the graft. An electrically operated pumping station has been supplying the Great Fountain with groundwater for permanent operation since 1956 . With that she reached her current jump height.

The graft

The Graft, on the right the Great Garden

The term Graft for the enclosure ditch that surrounds the Great Garden on three sides is derived from the Dutch word Gracht. The name suggests similar solutions in Dutch baroque gardens that Martin Charbonnier met during his study trip to the Netherlands. In the summer of 1697, earthworks began on the graft. The excavation earth was used to create the dikes surrounding the outside . You should protect the garden from the floods of the nearby Leine . The graft, completed around 1700, fulfills other planned practical and aesthetic functions in addition to the pragmatic purpose of draining. In a more subtle way than a fence or a wall, it delimits the area of ​​the garden artwork from the surroundings, which in the 18th century still consisted of an open landscape with meadows, meadows and fields and in the distance the city of Hanover was recognizable. The calm water of the Graft also forms a mirror surface for the rows of trees on the edge avenues and the corner pavilions. The three-row lime tree avenues on the garden side offer an approximately two kilometer long promenade with views of the surrounding area, which is optically integrated into the garden. Graft and avenues connect the former north with the later south half of the Great Garden.

In the early 18th century the graft offered the possibility of gondola rides as a special courtly pleasure. At the northwest end a landing stage and a boathouse for sheltering the gondolas were built in 1702 . A gondola specially hired from Venice was responsible for their operation and maintenance. In 1747 the dilapidated gondola house was demolished.

The Friederikenbrücke, built over the Graft in 1839–1840, provides direct access to the Georgengarten .

Corner pavilions

View from the south-east corner pavilion of the pavilion to the west
Corner pavilion at the graft of Louis Remy de la Fosse

The two pavilions were built between 1707 and 1708 based on a design by court architect Louis Remy de la Fosse in the south corners of the garden. Domed, richly decorated round pavilions rise above a stepped sandstone plinth. Above all, they should serve as the point de vue of the linden avenues and mark the extent of the garden. Both pavilions were built in wood. In 1752 the western one burned down and was rebuilt as a solid structure by Johann Paul Heumann . Compared to its eastern counterpart, the pavilion has since displayed slightly varied architectural decorations made by the court sculptor Johann Friedrich Ziesenis . In 1757 Ziesenis created eight portrait busts of Greek and Roman thinkers. They were intended for the wall niches inside the pavilions. The originals seized have now been replaced by copies.


International fireworks competition

International fireworks competition

The International Fireworks Competition takes place in the Great Garden every year. On five dates between May and September, pyrotechnicians from all over the world compete against each other. Since 2007, each participating nation has initially had to complete a compulsory program of specified musical accompaniment. Then the nations can present themselves in an individual freestyle. The fireworks are preceded by a diverse supporting program that offers a mixture of cabaret, music and garden theater.

Small party in the big garden

The small festival in the large garden has established itself as an international cabaret festival in Germany. The festival takes place every year in summer on different days and offers a wide range of artistic activities on many fixed and mobile stages. The Small Festival is now part of a series of cabaret festivals ; there are similar events in Bad Pyrmont , Ludwigslust , Clemenswerth and Evenburg .

Garden theater

In the summer months, which uses theater for Lower Saxony the Garden Theater of the Great Garden for musical - and theater performances .

KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen

Since 2010, the Herrenhausen KunstFestSpiele have held a cross-genre festival with concerts, theater, dance and performances as well as installations in the Great Garden, Court of Honor, Orangery and Gallery. The artistic formats are mainly developed specifically for the venues of the Herrenhausen Gardens. From 2010-2015 Elisabeth Schweeger was the artistic director of the Herrenhausen Art Festival. Ingo Metzmacher, who was born in Hanover, has been artistic director since 2016 .



arranged alphabetically by author

  • Udo von Alvensleben : Herrenhausen, The Summer Residence of the Welfs , Deutscher Kunstverlag , Berlin 1929 (dissertation with Erwin Panofsky 1927)
  • Nik Barlo Jr., Hanae Komachi, Henning Queren: Herrenhausen Gardens . Hinstorff Verlag, Rostock 2006 (illustrated book). ISBN 3-356-01153-7
  • Capital Hanover (Ed.): The Herrenhausen Gardens in Hanover. To celebrate its renewal on June 13, 1937. Jänecke, Hannover 1937.
  • Helmut Knocke , Hugo Thielen : Large garden . In: Hanover Art and Culture Lexicon . Pp. 138-144.
  • Kube: The historic gardens in Hanover-Herrenhausen . In: Die Gartenkunst 49 (1936), p. 183.
  • Friedrich Lindau : Hanover - the courtly area Herrenhausen. How the city deals with the monuments of its feudal era . Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich 2003. ISBN 3-422-06424-9
  • Axel-Dieter Mayen: The great garden in Herrenhausen. In 6 multicolored. u. 16 monochrome Recordings . Osterwald, Hanover 1937.
  • Cord Meckseper: Newer architecture between the university campus and the large garden . In: Marieanne von König (Hrsg.): Herrenhausen: The royal gardens in Hanover . Göttingen 2006. ISBN 978-3-8353-0053-8 , pp. 109-111.
  • Karl Heinrich Meyer: Royal gardens. Three hundred years of Herrenhausen. Torch-Bearer-Verlag, Hanover 1966.
  • Kurt Morawietz (ed.): The royal gardens. Glory and splendor of a residence. Steinbock-Verlag, Hanover 1963.
  • Heike Palm: The renewal of the Great Garden 1936/37 . In: Ronald Clark: … more magnificent and charming than ever…, 70 years of renovation of the Great Garden (exhibition catalog). April 1–13. May 2007, Hanover n.d., pp. 6-49.
  • Heike Palm: The History of the Great Garden . In: Marieanne von König (Hrsg.): Herrenhausen: The royal gardens in Hanover . Göttingen 2006. ISBN 978-3-8353-0053-8 , pp. 17-42.
  • Heike Palm: … more splendid and attractive than ever. The renewal of the Great Garden 1936/37 In: Ronald Clark: … more splendid and more attractive than ever ..., 70 years of renewal of the Great Garden (exhibition catalog). April 1–13. May 2007, Hanover n.d., pp. 147–150.
  • Hubert K. Rettich: The large garden in Hanover-Herrenhausen. The summer residence of the Guelphs in the change of their uses In: Die Gartenkunst 4 (2/1992), pp. 243-256.
  • Hubert Rettich, Michael Rohde: Great gardeners Herrenhausen In: Marieanne von König (Hrsg.): Herrenhausen: The royal gardens in Hanover . Göttingen 2006. ISBN 978-3-8353-0053-8 , pp. 271-277.
  • Waldemar R. Röhrbein: The rescue of the Herrenhausen Gardens . In: ders. (Ed.): Preserve your home, shape your home. Contributions to the 100th anniversary of the Heimatbund Lower Saxony. Hannover 2001, pp. 95-99
  • Hermann Wernicke: Herrenhausen and the garden art of the baroque . In: Die Gartenkunst 50 (1937), pp. 197–200
  • Eckard Schrader: The great garden at Herrenhausen, Hanover. With an introduction by Franz Rudolf Zankl . Action Committee for Herrenhausen eV (Ed.). Schlueter, Hannover 1985. ISBN 3-87706-196-6

Individual parts

arranged alphabetically by subject

  • Goerd Peschken: On the problem of renewing the avenue in the Herrenhausen Garden . In: Die Gartenkunst 3 (1/1991), p. 147f.
  • Waldemar R. Röhrbein : Herrenhausen: avenues, garden theater and the reconstruction of the castle - a discussion without end? In: ders. (Ed.): Preserve your home, shape your home. Contributions to the 100th anniversary of the Heimatbund Lower Saxony. Hanover 2001, pp. 118–126
  • Bernd Adam: The Herrenhausen Palace and the historic garden pavilions . In: Marieanne von König (Hrsg.): Herrenhausen: The royal gardens in Hanover . Göttingen 2006. ISBN 978-3-8353-0053-8 , pp. 95-100.
  • Urs Boeck: Two courtly festival rooms: garden theater and gallery building . In: Marieanne von König (Hrsg.): Herrenhausen: The royal gardens in Hanover . Göttingen 2006. ISBN 978-3-8353-0053-8 , pp. 67-78.
  • Stefan Amt: The grotto in the Great Garden in Herrenhausen . Garden art 13 (1/2001), pp. 119–129.
  • Niki de Saint Phalle (illustrations), City of Hanover, Department of Environment and Urban Greenery, Sprengel Museum Hanover (ed.): Niki de Saint Phalle. La grotto . Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern 2003, ISBN 3-7757-1308-5
  • Rolf-Jürgen Grote, Wolfram Kummer: The wall and ceiling paintings in the cabinets of the gallery building in Hanover-Herrenhausen . In: Hans-Herbert Möller (Ed.): Restoration of cultural monuments. Examples from the preservation of historical monuments in Lower Saxony = reports on the preservation of monuments , supplement 2. Niemeyer, Hameln 1989. ISBN 3-87585-152-8 , pp. 228-231.
  • Heike Palm: On the renewal of the Randallee in the Great Garden of Hanover-Herrenhausen, 1889-1894 - contemporary contributions to the discussion . In: Die Gartenkunst 3 (1/1991), pp. 148–150
  • Bernd Adam: The orangery and the courtly buildings on Alte Herrenhäuser Strasse . In: Marieanne von König (Ed.) 2006, pp. 103-108.
  • Urs Boeck : The sculpture ground floor . In: Marieanne von König (Hrsg.): Herrenhausen: The royal gardens in Hanover . Göttingen 2006. ISBN 978-3-8353-0053-8 , pp. 59-66.
  • Eugen Horti: The manor garden and its statues . Meaning, symbolism. Leibniz library , Bad Münder 1985, ISBN 3-925237-00-3
  • Gotthardt early morning care: theater , festivals, masquerades . In: Marieanne von König (Hrsg.): Herrenhausen: The royal gardens in Hanover . Göttingen 2006. ISBN 978-3-8353-0053-8 , pp. 79-94.
  • Bernd Adam: The mansions water arts . In: Marieanne von König (Hrsg.): Herrenhausen: The royal gardens in Hanover . Göttingen 2006. ISBN 978-3-8353-0053-8 , pp. 43-58.

Individual topics

arranged alphabetically by author

  • Ronald Clark: Festive room in a big city - On the usage requirements of the large garden in Herrenhausen . In: Die Gartendenkmalpflege 4 (2/1992), pp. 257–266.
  • Cord Meckseper: Visions for the location of the Herrenhausen Castle . In: Marieanne von König (Hrsg.): Herrenhausen: The royal gardens in Hanover . Göttingen 2006. ISBN 978-3-8353-0053-8 , pp. 101-102.

Web links

Commons : Großer Garten Hannover Herrenhausen  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Christina Steffani: Hannover Colibri Travel Guide, Compact Verlag, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-8174-4495-8
  2. Heike Palm: "The story ...", pp. 19-20.
  3. Urs Boeck: "Two courtly festival rooms ...", p. 67.
  4. a b c Helmut Knocke : Charbonnier , in: Hannoversches Biographisches Lexikon , p. 84, online via Google books
  5. Heike Palm: "The story ...", p. 20.
  6. Urs Boeck: "Two courtly festival rooms ...", p. 70.
  7. Heike Palm: “The story…”, pp. 20–21.
  8. Bernd Adam: "The mansions water arts", p. 47.
  9. See Teichert, Oscar, History of the ornamental gardens and the ornamental gardening in Germany during the rule of the regular (sic!) Garden style, Berlin, Verlag von Wygandt & Hempel, 1865, p. 208. Hannoversche Geschichtsblätter, Volume 7, Hahnsche Buchhandlung, Hanover 1904, p. 341.
  10. Bernd Adam: "The mansions of water arts", pp. 47–48.
  11. Bernd Adam: "The mansions water arts", p. 48.
  12. Heike Palm: "The story ...", pp. 23–24.
  13. Bernd Adam: "The Orangery ...", pp. 105, 108.
  14. Bernd Adam: "The Orangery ...", pp. 106-107.
  15. Heike Palm: "The story ...", pp. 31–32.
  16. a b Heike Palm: "The story ...", pp. 32–33.
  17. Heike Palm: "The story ...", pp. 33–34.
  18. Heike Palm: "The story ...", p. 35.
  19. a b Heike Palm: The story ... , pp. 36, 38.
  20. Heike Palm: "The Renewal ...", p. 44.
  21. ^ A b Gotthardt Frühsorge: “Theater, Feste, Maseraden”, pp. 90–92.
  22. Heike Palm: "The story ...", p. 38.
  23. Heike Palm: "The story ...", p. 17.
  24. ^ Website of the association "Friends of the Herrenhausen Gardens" , accessed on September 28, 2018
  26. ^ Cord Meckseper: "Newer Architecture ...", p. 109. Architects of the restaurant: Peter Schweger and Wolfgang Schneider
  27. Urs Boeck: "Two courtly festival rooms ...", pp. 68, 71–72.
  28. Bernd Adam: The mansion castle…. Pp. 98-99.
  29. a b c Heike Palm: "The story ...", p. 33.
  30. Bernd Adam: The mansion castle…. P. 99.
  31. Cord Meckseper: "Visions ...", p. 102.
  32. Florian Stark: Hanover's splendor: Herrenhausen Palace - risen from the ruins . In: THE WORLD . January 18, 2013 ( [accessed on May 6, 2018]).
  33. of January 18, 2013 ( memento of January 18, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on January 18, 2013
  34. HAZ topic page on the castle opening , accessed on January 25, 2013
  35. a b c Urs Boeck: "Two courtly festival rooms ...", pp. 71–72.
  36. a b Heike Palm: "The story ...", p. 28.
  37. ^ Gotthardt early care: theater, festivals, masquerades. Pp. 80-82.
  38. Cord Meckseper: "Newer Architecture ...", p. 111.
  39. Urs Boeck: "Two courtly festival rooms ...", pp. 71–73.
  40. a b Urs Boeck: "Two courtly festival rooms ...", p. 73.
  41. Urs Boeck: "Two courtly festival rooms ...", pp. 72–73.
  42. Heike Palm: "The story ...", pp. 28–29.
  43. Urs Boeck: "Two courtly festival rooms ...", p. 77.
  44. Urs Boeck: "Two courtly festival rooms ...", pp. 73–74.
  45. Urs Boeck: "Das Skulpturenparterre", pp. 63–64.
  46. Ellen Suchezky: The cast collections of Düsseldorf and Göttingen in the 18th century, Part II, 2019
  47. Urs Boeck: "Two courtly festival rooms ...", pp. 73–75.
  48. Urs Boeck: “A monument to the longing for Italy and power politics”. In: From the gardens. Information for friends of the Herrenhausen Gardens eV, 2.2012, p. 8.
  49. Urs Boeck: "Two courtly festival rooms ...", p. 78.
  50. Urs Boeck: "Two courtly festival rooms ...", pp. 75–76.
  51. Urs Boeck: "Two courtly festival rooms ...", pp. 76–77.
  52. Bernd Adam: "The Orangery ...", pp. 103-105.
  53. Heike Palm: "The story ...", pp. 23–24.
  54. Heike Palm: "The story ...", pp. 24-27.
  55. Heike Palm: "The story ...", pp. 22-23, 36.
  56. Heike Palm: "The story ...", pp. 36–38.
  57. Heike Palm: "The story ...", p. 25.
  58. Urs Boeck: “Das Skulpturenparterre”, pp. 59–63.
  59. Urs Boeck: "Das Skulpturenparterre", pp. 59, 65.
  60. Bernd Adam: "Herrenhäuser Wasserkünste", p. 44
  61. Bernd Adam: "Herrenhäuser Wasserkünste", pp. 44, 46
  62. Bernd Adam: "Herrenhäuser Wasserkünste", p. 46
  63. Urs Boeck: “The Sculpture Parterre”: pp. 62–64.
  64. Bernd Adam: "Herrenhäuser Wasserkünste", p. 56
  65. Heike Palm: "The story ...", pp. 30–31, 40.
  66. a b Heike Palm: "The story ...", p. 40.
  67. Heike Palm: "The Renewal ...", p. 36.
  68. Heike Palm: "The story ...", pp. 29–30, 40.
  69. a b Urs Boeck: "Two courtly festival rooms ...", pp. 68–70.
  70. Bernd Adam: "The mansions water arts", p. 54.
  71. a b c d (accessed January 25, 2013).
  72. Urs Boeck: "Two courtly festival rooms ...", pp. 69–70.
  73. Heike Palm: "The story ...", pp. 28–29.
  74. Urs Boeck: "Two courtly festival rooms ...", p. 69.
  75. Urs Boeck: "Two courtly festival rooms ...", p. 71.
  76. Heike Palm: "The Renewal ...", p. 28.
  77. a b Heike Palm: "The Renewal ...", pp. 34–35.
  78. a b c Heike Palm: "The story ...", p. 24.
  79. Bernd Adam: "The mansions of water arts", p. 49.
  80. Heike Palm: "The Renewal ...", pp. 26-27.
  81. Heike Palm: "The story ...", p. 38.
  82. Heike Palm: "The Renewal ...", pp. 28–29, 32.
  83. Heike Palm: "The Renewal ...", pp. 28-29.
  84. Urs Boeck: "The Sculpture Parterre", p. 63.
  85. Heike Palm: "The story ...", p. 37.
  86. Heike Palm: "The Renewal ...", pp. 38–39.
  87. Bernd Adam: The manor houses water arts. Pp. 53, 57.
  88. Bernd Adam: The manor houses water arts. Pp. 49-50.
  89. Bernd Adam: The manor houses water arts. Pp. 50-54.
  90. a b Bernd Adam: The manor houses water arts. Pp. 53-54.
  91. ^ A b Irmgard Lange-Kothe: The water art of Herrenhausen. Hannoversche Geschichtsblätter 1959.
  92. Bernd Adam: The manor houses water arts. P. 54.
  93. Bernd Adam: The manor houses water arts. Pp. 54-56.
  94. Bernd Adam: The manor houses water arts. Pp. 56-57.
  95. Bernd Adam: "The mansions water arts", pp. 48–49.
  96. Bernd Adam: “The mansions of water arts”, pp. 50, 56.
  97. Bernd Adam: The mansion castle…. Pp. 99-100.
  98. Urs Boeck: "The Sculpture Parterre", p. 65.
  99. About the KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen , accessed on July 21, 2019

Coordinates: 52 ° 23 ′ 15.6 "  N , 9 ° 41 ′ 47.5"  E