The construction of the original Lütetsburg castle dates back to the East Frisian chieftain Lütet Manninga. He lost his ancestral home in Westel to devastating floods between 1373 and 1377. As a consequence, he expanded the family property Uthoff into the moated castle Lützborch.
Further outstanding castle lords and Knyphausen dynasty representatives followed, e.g. Dodo zu Innhausen und Knyphausen (1583-1636), who served the Swedish King Gustav Adolf in the Thirty Years’ War, and Wilhelm von Knyphausen, who in 1776 fought with the British against George Washington in America.The castle itself underwent many changes in its long history: theft and depredation during the Saxonian feud in 1517, ravages during the Thirty Years’ War, destruction by fire in 1893, and finally, partial destruction by aircraft bombs during the Second World War.
The present Lütetsburg castle is a modern, four-wing construction that was built 1956-1962 on the 1517 foundation walls. The family zu Inn- und Knyphausen continues to lives there today.
The simple, monumental brick building, consisting of a four-winged main body and two towers, was designed by Prince Wilhelm Edzard zu Inn- und Knyphausen and implemented by the architect Hans Heinrich von Oppeln.
The basic form of the outer ward goes back to the 15th century, and the impressive gate towers were built in the 17th century. The architectures integrate harmoniously into the landscape and exist in unison with the impressive park complex surrounding it. The castle interior is closed to visitors because it is a private residence.
Edzard Mauritz zu Inn- und Knyphausen (Earl from 1816 onwards) decided to transform the representative Baroque garden with its different parts into a naturally-formed, integrated landscape. He planted new foreign trees and shrubbery, dug canals and other streams and erected earth banks. He later added monuments and sculpted figures, so that the park gradually came to express his personal values and sentiments according to his experiences. We can see this in structures such as the stone pyramid in memory of his mother and his first wife, the friendship temple that he dedicated to a good friend, as well as in the Caroline Island with the Caroline memorial, which he dedicated to his deceased first daughter.
Following his death, Edzard Mauritz zu Inn- und Knyphausen’s children carried out very little structural change in the park. Yet alterations in its character did occur at that time, thanks to the extensive planting of rhododendrons and later azaleas, whose spectacular blossoms transformed the garden of quiet contemplation into a colourful, festive area.
The park continued to be cultivated as a monument steeped in history and picturesque natural space. Only in 1932 was it extensively redeveloped by Fürst Wilhelm Edzard zu Inn- und Knyphausen. After 1945, his commitment focused largely on clearing war damage and reconstructing the castle after a fire in 1956.
Castle Park counts today as one of the largest and most beautiful in northern Germany. Its 30 hectares and several kilometres of walking trails offers everyone, young an old, an oasis for regeneration. It is one of the few preserved examples of early Romantic garden types combining art and history as an integrative way of life.
The variety of over 150 exotic and native plant species, together with the vast expanse of the enclosure, make for the park’s charm. Here every visitor can find his or her own space and discover the park’s beauty for themselves. To this day, many characteristics of historical design have remained intact, so that you can still admire them in the park. For example, the ornate, affectionately inscribed benches invite every visitor to a moment of reposeReferences:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.