Schloss Bothmer is the largest Baroque palace in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The assembly of several interconnected buildings with its warm red brick facades attracts many thousands of visitors each year. Bothmer Palace combines in its architecture many different European influences and makes thereby a unique monument to the Baroque style in North Germany.
The palace was designed by the architect Johann Friedrich Künnecke (died 1738) and built between 1726 and 1732. It was built by Count Hans Caspar von Bothmer (1656-1732) who had served as a diplomat for the Electorate of Hannover and had spent many years as Ambassador on long missions in several European courts. By clever negotiations, Bothmer helped his employer, Elector Georg Ludwig von Hannover, to become George 1st, King of England. George 1st showed his appreciation of Bothmer’s efforts in a special way. In1720, he gave his first minister for German affairs the use of a house in St. James’s park in London, where he could live until his death (1732). Thereafter the house was to become the official residence of the British Prime Ministers. However, between 1720 and 1732, No. 10 Downing Street was known as `Bothmar House´ after its then occupier. The King also showed financially his appreciation of his diplomat’s services.
In view of the various postings of the Count, it is not surprising that Bothmer Palace draws on English and Dutch influences, among others, the Dutch Castle Het Loo, Buckingham House in London, later to become the royal residence Buckingham Palace, and the Royal Brass Foundry in Greenwich, London. The former castle had been the representative and commercial centre point of the fertile `Klützer Winkel´, but was no longer in use when Hans Caspar von Bothmer inherited it, and in his will, left it to the benefit of the descendents of his brother Friedrich Johann. Bothmer died before the new palace was completed His nephew Hans Caspar Gottfried von Bothmer (1694-1765) and his wife Christina Margarethe von Bülow (1708-1786) were the first occupants of the house. Their plaster portrait medallions can still be seen over the fireplace in the entrance hall to the house.
The Bothmer family occupied the palace ensemble until 1945. After the war, the Palace was first used as an isolation hospital. Between 1948 and 1994, it was an old peoples home and the side wings were extensively altered. Only the main building and the Cavalier’s house on the adjoining east side remained largely unchanged. Here splendid stucco ceilings, richly decorated fireplaces, a precious inlaid cabinet and numerous wood panelled walls have survived.
Since 1st February 2008 the palace and park have been in the ownership of the State of Mecklenburg- Vorpommern. After failure to privatise the property, the State will, in the coming years, undertake an historically correct restoration of the Baroque ensemble and give it a new future. From the 1st March 2009, due to the start of renovation works, the palace is closed to the public until further notice. The park remains accessible.References:
Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.
The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.
In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.