Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

"This is not a pipe" - but it is a Castle, I insist.

Dear You,

"This", said the Flying Dutchman with a stubborn sub-tone in his voice, "this is NOT a castle!" 

Well - well - well - 
but IT IS

This is "Schloß Paretz" - a classicist castle in the little village Paretz (in Ketzin/Havel) which the Prussian King Wilhelm III. ordered to be buildt in 1797 (it was a manor before, so the Dutchman is right too).  
The King used it for himself and his wife as a summer residence when they wanted to be far away from the ceremonial life at the Court in Berlin. 

The interior was designed by David Gilly - it had fine unadorned furniture, made with good craftsmanship. 
Outstanding are the very beautiful(and soon famous) wallpapers which even survived the years of the GDR. (After the Red Army the GDR used the castle for the VFB Tierzucht (= animal breeding). 
Some wallpapers were imported from China, many came from Paris or Berlin,  
painted or printed, 

Schloß Paretz had beautiful castle grounds (after the English model)- a lot of it was torn down after 1945. 
Otherwise I would have liked to show you that - maybe in winter? - on a tour with one of the funny sledges 

- though, come to think of it: maybe today some other iconoclasts might throw this one into a river, so it is safer to choose the chaise or carriage: 

At least we are able to see the church: 
It stems from the Middle Ages, some frescoes are still there, but the church you see nowadays is from 1797/98. 

The contemporaries called castle Paretz "Schloss-Still-Im-Land" - Castle-Silent- in-the Country". 
The charming sleepy village Paretz is still ...silent. ..

But the King and his wife Luise could rest, and play. 
So they had fun - 
which I wish you too. 

Yours Truly, Britta 


  1. Beautiful. I love to learn the history of other countries. I recently read a series written by Oliver Pötzsch. It is about a hangman's daughter. The stories are novels of course but the Hangman is a real person. He was an ancestor of the author. Included in the books are descriptions of the people, customs, and places of Germany. I enjoyed them immensely.

    1. Thank you, Emma! Historical novels or tv-series are an interesting way to experience history.
      I wonder how everyday life in time of King Wilhelm III has been. (As visitors we could see no kitchen, only a few poorly furnished rooms - they are still restoring the castle).

  2. Is that a roulette wheel? I would love to see it in action.

  3. Dear Joanne, it is not a roulette wheel.
    I also looked for an explanation: this table is a loan from the Pfaueninsel-Schloss (Berlin) which belonged to King Wilhelm III too (and is closed for restauration now for some years).
    The game on the table was called "Colosseum- und Tunnelspiel", especially bought for rainy days in the castles. Up to 15 people could play it - the rules were invented before 1834, are known but still keep secret by Schloss Paretz - they ask us online whether we know how it was played. (When I tried to look the rules up I found very (!!!) strange articles that 100% were not what they did with this table :-)

  4. That schloss is what we would call a 'palace'.

  5. Oh, that is new for me, Tom. Thank you - as with the table-game I always learn something new through Blogger.

  6. Ha ha now I wonder: did your flying Dutchman call it a "kasteel" or a "paleis". It is going to be hot im Harz I think.

  7. That, dear Guusje, I will tell in my second post in a few days - here in Noordwijk it is also very hot - I am lazy - and enjoy the sea and sun en leaker eten - leuk!

  8. Did Einstein have a house there too in the grounds, or some connection with it?

    1. Wow, Rachel: yes, Einstein had a wood cabin near Potsdam, in Caputh - and Paretz is also near Potsdam. I'm impressed! (By the way: his Berlin home - destroyed in the war - was one street away from the street where I live.

  9. Some of the 'chateaux' here in France are no more than large houses; sometimes even quite modest.

    1. I love those French ones, Cro - and I also love the "plain" classicist style of the Prussian chateaus (Forerunners for the Biedermeier style ).