Marienburg Castle website cover

Inside Marienburg Castle: The Neuschwanstein of Germany’s North

No visit to Hanover or Lower Saxony is complete without a visit to the enchanting and beautifully preserved Marienburg Castle

There is something about castles. Their tall grey towers that conjure up images of princesses wishing to be saved, drawbridges clamping shut just before a group of villains arrive, or perhaps it’s just that castles are the real-life evidence, of fairy tales.

Marienburg Castle often referred to as the Neuschwanstein of Germany’s north definitely delivers on the fairy tale factor. The creation of the castle, perched between Hanover (the region’s capital) and Hildesheim, was a gift from King George V of Hanover to his wife Queen Marie. In 1866, while the castle was still being built he had to flee to Austria due to the annexation of the Kingdom of Prussia. When Queen Marie followed him a year later, their Castle, in true fairytale form, was left to fall into a long sleep.

Sleeping is the last thing you’ll want to be doing when visiting the 140 room and hall filled castle, which has virtually gone unchanged since it was left to doze all those years ago. Today in addition to being used as a private venue for weddings, celebrations and business events, it is open to the public. Although seeing each and every corner of the royal property isn’t possible, various tours are available including a one hour long Classic Castle Tour. This is well worth it to see the neo-Gothic castle – still considered one of the most important examples of this style in the country.


full_pkf6649The King’s Library – image by Patrice Kunte


The history of the castle is intertwined with its impressive interiors, full of detail and exceptional craftsmanship. In the Kings Library for example, the bookcases have each been fashioned from one whole piece of wood rather than various pieces. Looking up in the library is also essential, to take in the incredible paint work on the multi-arched ceiling in the centre of the room.  Along with the almost perfectly preserved interiors, and personal objects, the tour allows you to learn interesting facts about King George V and Queen Marie, their daughters Princess Marie and Princess Frederica, and the castle’s history. Like for example, the fact that portraits of King George V of Hanover never showed him full faced due to his blindness.


full_prinzessinnengang_c_patrice_kunteThe Princesses Hallway – image by Patrice Kunte


Around the corner from the Princesses shared study is the Princesses Hallway. The long, vaulted corridor is similar to a monastic cloister and makes it easy to imagine them pacing it together talking on a break from their books, or each seated reading beside one of the many light-filled window nooks.


full_historische_schlosskuche_detail_c_patrice_kunteThe endless baking tins in the castle’s kitchen – image by Patrice Kunte


For food lovers, the enormous castle kitchen downstairs is a paradise. Shelves and counters are lined with copper pots and baking ware – allegedly one cake baking tin was assigned for each day of the year. You’ll also be pleased to know that there is a real kitchen on site, the Castle Restaurant, housed in the former stables. The Classic Castle Tour ends with a trip to the Chapel (unless there is a wedding on), and when the weather permits you also have the option of climbing to the castle tower to see across the land just as the royal family would have during the year they lived there.

Whether fairytales are your thing or not, the castle is a must-visit for travellers to Hanover or the Lower Saxony region. You’ll gain a unique insight into 19th century royal life, architecture and design, as well as history. Today the Castle remains under the private ownership of the House of Hanover, the House of which ruled Britain for 123 years from 1714 to 1837.


The Marienburg Castle runs various tours including the Classic Castle Tour, as well as the option to ascend the castle tower. Audio guides are available for non-German speakers in English, French, Russian, Polish, Spanish and Swedish.

Bookings are essential. For details and prices, visit the castle website.

By Jen Curcio