Wiepersdorf Castle

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Wiepersdorf Castle
Castle and orangery

Wiepersdorf Castle is located in Wiepersdorf , Niederer Fläming municipality , southeast of Jüterbog (State of Brandenburg ).

Wiepersdorf Castle occupies a special position in Germany in the history of the arts, especially literature.

As the former residence of Achim von Arnim and Bettina von Arnim , the important romantic poets , it has a long tradition as a place of intellectual exchange. After an eventful history, in 2006 the German Foundation for Monument Protection took on the task of maintaining the house as an artist's house with the support of the State of Brandenburg and the federal government. On August 1, 2019, the house was taken over by the Landes-Kulturstiftung.

Under the three aspects of preserving - promoting - conveying, the poets Achim and Bettina von Arnim are first remembered in the museum named after them and the history of the house is documented. In the traditional, listed artist house, work stays by artists from all disciplines from home and abroad are supported with grants. Public events, readings, concerts, colloquiums and exhibitions in the Künstlerhaus Schloss Wiepersdorf enable the audience to engage in dialogue on current issues relating to art, literature and the humanities.


One of the Callot characters

In place of today's castle , there was initially a mansion of the Leipzig noble family . In 1734 the Royal Prussian Major Gottfried Emanuel von Einsiedel (1690–1745) acquired the little country Bärwalde, which also included the Wiepersdorf manor. The mansion was probably expanded between 1734 and 1738, half solid, half made of wood. Remnants of the previous building were included, as can be seen, for example, in the room used as a wine cellar. There is a ribbed vault as it was common in the 16th century. In 1736 two sloping wing structures were added, but they were not yet connected to the main house. As a general fell out of favor with King Friedrich II of Prussia, Einsiedel died in Potsdam in 1745 and was buried in the crypt, which is located under the western part of the Wiepersdorf church . The general had this attached to the church together with a patronage box. His daughter Sofia Dorothea paid off her co-heirs and took over the seven villages of the country. She leased the estate in Bärwalde and from then on managed the Wiepersdorf estate. She was married to Freiherr von Grotthus for the second time. The two separated in 1778 and Sofia Dorotha decided to sell the land.

Arnim family

The Royal Prussian Chamberlain and diplomat Joachim Erdmann von Arnim (1741-1804) bought the little country Bärwalde with Wiepersdorf and other manors on February 10, 1780 for 98,000 thalers. Since he could not raise the purchase price himself, his mother-in-law K (C) aroline von Labes, daughter of the Berlin banker Daum, supported him. With the purchase, Karoline supported her daughter Amalie Caroline, who had been married to Joachim Erdmann von Arnim since 1777. Joachim Erdmann von Arnim had structural changes made to the manor house and connected it to the side wings with tower buildings. This created a curved assembly.

On January 26, 1781, the second child, the later poet Ludwig Achim von Arnim , was born in Berlin. In February, his mother died at the early age of 20 as a result of childbirth. Achim and his brother Carl Otto grew up with their maternal grandmother Caroline von Labes in Berlin and Zernikow. After the death of their father in 1804, both brothers became heirs of the little land. However, they could not settle the debts they had incurred in the meantime by selling the land, as Karoline von Labes had identified the property as a family entailment in her will .

Achim von Arnim married Bettina Brentano (1785-1859) in 1811, the sister of his friend and poet colleague Clemens Brentano . In 1814 they both moved to Gut Wiepersdorf. Achim moved the farm yard, which was in front of the castle, to the south side and had it built larger there.

While Bettina moved back to Berlin after three years with the children, Ludwig Achim stayed as a squire and poet in Wiepersdorf all his life. Apart from mutual visits, both lived separately from each other. This spatial separation was followed by an extensive correspondence, which is an important source in Arnim and Romanticism research, and also records cultural-historical events and village life at the beginning of the 19th century.

After his death, the older brother Carl Otto took over the estate, but leased it on. Ludwig Achim von Arnim died on January 21, 1831 in Wiepersdorf. He left seven children, of whom the eldest, Freimund, acquired Wiepersdorf again in 1844/1945 and took over the management of the property. In 1848 the first grandson of the poet couple, the later painter Achim von Arnim-Bärwalde , was born, who later took over the property and again had extensive changes made to the house and garden. So in 1877 his spacious studio was built in the northern part of the house on the remains of the demolished north wing. It is the largest room in the house, with a high ceiling that he has artistically painted along with the doors. Later he had the balcony and the semicircular swinging terrace added. The wide flight of stairs with a massive balustrade and vases ends in a sunken garden ground floor with a central bed. The orangery was built in 1888/1889 south of the garden parterre . Sandstone figures, statues from Greco-Roman legends and large vases that the painter brought back from his travels in Italy give the park a cheerful, southern flair. In front of the large studio window, five grotesque dwarf figures, whose origins have not been passed down, stand in a semicircle. A landscape garden was attached to the western part of the garden parterre . The house and park are now a listed building.

The formerly small church, which is located in the northern part of the front castle park, was also rebuilt in 1894/1895 according to the plans of the painter Achim von Arnim-Bärwalde and received its current appearance. The design of the family cemetery at the church was also carried out according to his plans. The couple and some of their descendants rest there. Today the church is a parish church and can only be visited during services or guided tours.

Since Achim remained childless, he appointed his nephew Erwin Kühnemund as heir. However, he took over the estate in Zernikow, which he had also received after the Labes line had died out. In contrast, Gut Wiepersdorf was taken over in 1891 by his younger brother, Annois Wilm, who died in an accident in 1928. One of his brothers, Ottmar von Arnim, made a bad investment in 1929 that could have led to the threat of bankruptcy. In order to settle the debts, he auctioned part of the estate of Achim and Bettina von Arnim. With the proceeds he was able to save his Blankenseer estate in the Uckermark. However, part of the estate is considered lost, another part was rescued by the Free Deutsche Hochstift and returned to the family property.

The time of National Socialism

The von Arnim family owned the castle and estate until 1945 . Friedmund von Arnim, great-grandson of the poet couple, who had to look after a large family and the indebted estates of Zernikow and Wiepersdorf, and his wife Clara von Arnim, née. Von Hagens, as the mother of six children, was fully occupied with running the large estate household, but could hardly look after the literary estate. They lived mainly in Zernikow.

In any case, not much could be achieved at that time, since the official German language and literature was completely dominated by the National Socialists . Friedmund von Arnim made sure, however, that his brother-in-law Walther Encke, who had lost his post as police major in Berlin on July 20, 1932 because of his resistance to the controversial assumption of power by von Papens in Prussia and was additionally endangered after the Nazis came to power, a first Took stock.

In Wiepersdorf Castle, where Friedmund's mother Agnes von Arnim born. von Baumbach lived, found u. a. the painter Fritz Kuhr, who was ostracized by the Nazis as a “ degenerate artist ”, and the Germanist Werner Milch, who was classified as a “ half-Jew ”, are a refuge. Werner Milch was able to start work there on his book The Young Bettine , which Peter Küpper completed after his death .

Pond and Callot figures at the castle

Friedmund von Arnim and his older sister Bettina Encke von Arnim contributed with their behavior, which had nothing to do with the literary estate, but which corresponded entirely to the thinking of their great-grandmother Bettina, to the fact that after the war, Wiepersdorf Castle and the treasures it contained could be saved from total destruction and annihilation: They gave shelter to a communist of Jewish origin, namely Iwan Katz , a former Reichstag member of the KPD and friend of Walther Encke. Friedmund von Arnim initially hid it on his property, while Bettina Encke von Arnim hid it in her apartment in Berlin during the war. Iwan Katz survived the Nazi regime and became a member of the Berlin magistrate after the end of World War II . They made their living mainly from agriculture. Friedmund showed, according to Hiltrud and Carsten Preuß in Die Guts- und Herrenhäuser im Landkreis Teltow-Fläming , an “enthusiasm for innovation” and bought an electric seed cleaning machine, a grain blower and a chopping machine. In addition to table potatoes, barley and oats were produced and sold at the weekly markets in Dahme / Mark and Jüterbog. Both the estate in Bärwalde and Wiepersdorf were growing stations for rye, which Ferdinand von Lochow from Petkus had grown to make it ready for the world market.

The time of the GDR

In 1945 the castle became the Soviet headquarters and accommodation for war refugees for a short time . Numerous furnishings and books in the valuable library have already been lost through looting . When it became apparent that resettlers would move into Wiepersdorf Castle as part of the land reform , this threatened further looting and neglect. But Bettina Encke von Arnim, with the support of Iwan Katz , who at the time worked as a department head and head of the planning department at the City of Berlin, as well as representatives of the Brandenburg provincial administration and the German Central Administration for Public Education, succeeded in building the neglected castle, which was threatened with demolition to save and to preserve it as a place of cultural and literary historical value. Likewise, the estate in Petkus tried in vain to keep Wiepersdorf upright as a cultivation station for rye, while the family was initially allowed to continue cultivating six hectares.

The Brandenburg Provincial Administration , the German Central Administration for National Education , the Cultural Association for the Democratic Renewal of Germany and the Association of German Authors established the German Poet Foundation in 1946 . V. with the purpose of "To offer poets and writers whose artistic achievement deserves a promotion a place for undisturbed and carefree work for a while, as well as deserving poets and writers as well as their survivors in the sense of the earlier Schiller Foundation and the emergency community of German literature through ongoing or to provide one-off support, in particular to the young and up-and-coming generation struggling for advancement. ” With Wiepersdorf Castle, they found a suitable place for this cultural claim. After the overhaul of the rooms and changes for the new purpose, which also included the installation of the necessary sanitary facilities, the first guests were invited in autumn 1947.

Bettina Encke von Arnim no longer experienced all of this in Wiepersdorf. After she was temporarily imprisoned by the NKVD in Luckenwalde , she and her mother and sisters left Wiepersdorf for good in September 1947 and moved to live with their relatives in West Germany . In doing so, it anticipated Order No. 60/80 of the Soviet Military Administration ( SMAD ) to expel all expropriated landowners from the communities, as they tried to undermine the land reform in order to prevent a division of the goods and agricultural land. She lived as a painter until her death in 1971 in Überlingen on Lake Constance .

After the politically motivated arrest of the managing director Werner Schendell in 1950, Edith Rost, wife of the Dutch writer Nico Rost , was appointed trustee in Wiepersdorf. Her husband was given the job of looking after the Arnim library and the manuscripts, which had been badly damaged. This library was then handed over to the Akademie der Künste Berlin in 1951 and is today in the Duchess Anna Amalia Library , the manuscripts in the Goethe and Schiller Archives , both in Weimar. A new small reference library was set up in Wiepersdorf, on which today's library is built. Wiepersdorf Castle was entered in the land register as the property of the people in 1948 , the house and library were placed under monument protection.

Construction measures were repeatedly carried out to improve the working and living conditions in the artists' home. The longest and most extensive construction project, however, which was carried out under the direction of the Institute for the Preservation of Monuments of the GDR, was from 1974 to 1980. The basis for this was the resolutions of the VIII. And IX. Party congress of the SED , which should lead to an improvement in the "material and cultural standard of living of all working people ". On May 10, 1980, Book Day in the GDR, the then Minister of Culture, Hans-Joachim Hoffmann , opened the converted castle. It was now available to the members of the five artists' associations and was named "Work and recreation center for writers and artists Bettina von Arnim" after it had previously been "Schloss Wiepersdorf, work center for intellectuals", then "Recreation center for intelligence - Wiepersdorf" and from the 180th birthday of Bettina von Arnim in 1965 the name "Bettina-von-Arnim-Heim, work and recreation center for cultural workers" was called. It was under the legal sponsorship of the Ministry of Culture of the GDR and, from 1979, the Kulturfonds of the GDR.

During the GDR era, numerous writers and artists such as Anna Seghers , Christa Wolf , Alfred Kantorowicz , Arnold Zweig , Max Zimmering , Volker Braun , Ernst Busch , Erich Schmitt , Maxi Wander , Steffie Spira , Jutta Wachowiak , Eva-Maria Hagen stayed in Wiepersdorf Castle , Christa Kozik , Thomas Rosenlöcher , Klaus Gysi , Kurt Masur , Herbert Sandberg , Friedrich Dieckmann , Annerose Schmidt and Rolf Hoppe z. T. repeats a few working weeks.

After the turn

After turning in the fall of 1989, the future of the house was initially unclear. Artists came only occasionally and the house was run as a hotel. In order to keep Wiepersdorf Castle and its literary tradition open to the public, Clara von Arnim, the wife of the last owner before 1945, Friedmund von Arnim, founded the Friends of Schloss Wiepersdorf - Achim Memorial Site in cooperation with the Goethe House in Frankfurt and with the support of the State of Brandenburg Bettina von Arnim e. V. (registered in the Frankfurt / Main register of associations; since 2014: Freundeskreis Schloss Wiepersdorf - Bettina and Achim von Arnim-Museum e.V.). The first chairwoman of the non-profit association founded on October 3, 1991 was Clara von Arnim, followed by Hartwig Schultz, head of the Brentano department at the Goethe House. In 2013 Ambassador a. D. Norbert Baas elected as his successor. In 1999, Federal President Rau presented Clara von Arnim with the Maecenas award from the Working Group of Independent Cultural Institutes. V. and acknowledged their commitment to the public cultural use of Wiepersdorf Castle. The Freundeskreis set up the Bettina and Achim von Arnim Museum in the castle.

The Kulturfonds Foundation , which was established in 1990 and emerged from the Kulturfonds der GDR, became the legal entity of the house and after a short renovation it was reopened on August 7, 1992 as the Künstlerhaus Schloss Wiepersdorf . Artists from all fields of art and from different countries lived and worked here in the house. You have received from various grant providers, including a. from the Kulturfonds Foundation, residency grants lasting several months. In 1998, the Free State of Saxony unilaterally terminated the state treaty that was concluded when the Kulturfonds Foundation was established, taking with it the share of the foundation's assets allocated to all participating states in this contract. At the end of 2004 this example was followed by the states of Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. As a result of the associated loss of capital, the Kulturfonds foundation had to go into liquidation . It was not possible to save the Künstlerhaus by taking over responsibility for the federal government, after a veto by Bavaria in the course of the debate on reforming federalism did not result in a merger of the Kulturstiftung der Länder with the Kulturstiftung des Bundes . At the end of 2004 all employees were given notice and the scholarship holders had to leave the castle by mid-December 2004. The future of the Schloss Wiepersdorf property was unclear at the time.

Even after the fall of the Wall, numerous writers, musicians and artists spent working stays in Wiepersdorf Castle. B. 1999 the writer Svetlana Alexandrovna Alexievich , who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2015. In 2000 the Belarusian writer Wassil Bykau lived in Wiepersdorf Castle.

The latest development

The von Arnim family cemetery
by the church

On July 1, 2006, work in the Künstlerhaus was resumed. The new sponsor was the German Foundation for Monument Protection (see beginning of article). It has taken on the task of maintaining the facility permanently as an artist house with the support of the state of Brandenburg and the federal government. The “Land Brandenburg-Fonds” is shown in the foundation capital for Schloss Wiepersdorf, and the foundation holds its assets in the amount of EUR 7,643,620.94 in trust.

At the Künstlerhaus Schloss Wiepersdorf, work stays by writers, visual artists, composers, humanities scholars and publicists from Germany and abroad are supported with grants. The granting of scholarships is the responsibility of various partner organizations, to which the applications must also be sent: some federal states, the Royal Danish Embassy , the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education , the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in cooperation with the German Student Union, the Hörmann- Group.

Public events such as readings, concerts, colloquiums, exhibitions and other formats in the Künstlerhaus Schloss Wiepersdorf are an invitation to the audience to engage in an exciting dialogue on current issues relating to art, music, literature and the humanities. The program focuses on the work of the scholarship holders, but also offers external artists and institutions a forum for presentation. In addition, the question Achim and Bettina von Arnim - today? encountered the couple of poets and the Romantic era in a transdisciplinary way and with a new reading.


  • Museum in the castle
In the Bettina and Achim von Arnim Museum, which was established in 1992 by the Freundeskreis Schloss Wiepersdorf in collaboration with the Free German Hochstift / Frankfurt Goethe Museum, the life and work of the poet couple are documented. At the same time there is a historical outline of the history of the former manor house and information about the circle of friends and talks of the poet couple at that time. a. Friedrich Carl von Savigny, Clemens Brentano and the Brothers Grimm belonged. In addition, pictures by the painter Achim von Arnim-Bärwalde are shown.
Callot figures
  • The von Arnim family cemetery by the church
  • Park and orangery
  • Callot figures
To the north of the castle there are still five of the originally six so-called Callot figures, named after Jacques Callot , who in 1616 at the court of Cosimo II in the engravings “Varie figure gobbi” depicted dwarfish alienated figures. The origin of the Wiepersdorfer dwarfs is not proven.

Literary processing

5 DM note with Bettina von Arnim, part of the Wiepersdorf estate in the background

In the Wiepersdorf cycle , which was created during a working week in the “state-owned castle”, Sarah Kirsch draws a miniature picture of her personal attitude towards life and the political situation in the GDR in the 1970s. The framework situation is the stay of a writer in the “venerable beautiful house [with the double roof”). She appreciates “the dear free land” as a contrast to the narrowness in the “high-rise in the hurtful square area” and creates impressions of the Wiepersdorf scenery: “The beautiful windows in the painting room”, “outside Mayfair park” with the “smile [the]” “ Steinbilder [n] ”and reflects on Bettina von Arnim's letters to Friedrich Wilhelm IV:“ Bettina! Here you sat with seven children [...] I should write to the king ”. For the poet, her retreat was surrounded by a "ban mile of beautiful, fresh forest" that she "laid around". But in the daylight change, the atmosphere changed (“In the evening I turn the devil blacker”), she became the “mistress of pictures and furniture” in the maze (“Here I drink the potions”) and her problems in the outside world consciously: "I only have myself, a tiny boy and the increasing number of years and now and then beautifully swimming cloud creatures". She sums up her private and political situation in a comparison: “Bettina, everything is the same. We are always alone when we write to kings, to those of the heart and to those of the state ”.

In his story Die Wiepersdorf Arrival , first published in 1997 , Alban Nikolai Herbst describes the stay of a writer in the castle in a humorous and sometimes crude way. Herbst himself stayed in Wiepersdorf in 1995 as a scholarship holder.

The love letters from Wiepersdorf by Peter Nell (1907–1957) come from 1957 and were published in 1958 by Volksverlag Weimar with a foreword by Anna Seghers and illustrations by Max Schwimmer .


  • Friederike Frach: Wiepersdorf Castle - The »Künstlerheim« under the influence of cultural politics in the GDR . Ch. Links Verlag, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-86153-674-1
  • Matthias Barth: Manor houses and country estates in Brandenburg and Berlin - from the Renaissance to Art Nouveau . Bergstadtverlag, Würzburg 2008, 2009
  • Doris Sossenheimer, Verena Nolte (Hrsg.): Wiepersdorf Castle: Artists' house in the Mark Brandenburg . Wallstein-Verlag, Göttingen 1997, ISBN 3-89244-251-7
  • Angelika Fischer (photos), Bernd Erhard Fischer (text): Wiepersdorf: Bettina and Achim von Arnim's castle and park; a search for clues . 2nd Edition. arani-Verlag, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-7605-8660-0
  • Hiltrud and Carsten Preuß: The manor houses and manors in the Teltow-Fläming district , Lukas Verlag für Kunst- und Geistesgeschichte, 1st edition, November 29, 2011, ISBN 978-3-86732-100-6 , p. 244

Web links

Commons : Wiepersdorf Castle  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Wiepersdorf Castle is now part of the Cultural Foundation . World online
  2. ^ Märkische Allgemeine, Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany: Wiepersdorf - summer festival in the artist house - MAZ - Märkische Allgemeine. In: Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung. Retrieved November 3, 2016 .
  3. ^ Svetlana Alexievich | Christian Jungeblodt. In: jungeblodt-com.photoshelter.com. Retrieved November 3, 2016 .
  4. ^ Bykau in Berlin in Neues Deutschland from February 4, 2000
  5. Markus Holubek, Eva Masthoff: Annual Report 2014. (PDF) (No longer available online.) German Foundation for Monument Protection, Bonn, August 2015, p. 40 f. , archived from the original on July 27, 2016 ; accessed on July 27, 2016 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.denkmalschutz.de
  6. Sarah Kirsch: Tailwind . Ebenhausen, 1977, pp. 18-29
  7. Sarah Kirsch: A conversation with students. In: Explanation of some things. Ebenhausen 1978, pp. 5-6, 11-12, 16-22.
  8. See Alban Nikolai Herbst: Selzers singing. Fantastic stories and those of strange morals. Kulturmaschinen Verlag, Berlin 2010, pp. 7–23.

Coordinates: 51 ° 52 ′ 57.1 ″  N , 13 ° 14 ′ 25.9 ″  E