Castles & Palaces

Hambach Castle – a turning point in German history

Neustadt an der Weinstraße: Hambach Castle, at evening ©DZT (Photodesigner Mark Wohlrab)

High above the Rhine on the Palatinate Wine Route, a well-fortified castle with a colourful past stands tall above the forest. It made its mark in the German history books by providing the setting for the Hambach Festival.

From 1797 to 1815, the Palatinate belonged to France and stepped in line with the values of the French Revolution (liberty, equality and fraternity). The July Revolution in Paris in 1830 fuelled the desire for freedom in the Palatinate, with leading liberals and 30,000 citizens gathering at the castle for the Hamburg Festival. They demanded freedom of the press, assembly and speech as well as more civil rights, religious tolerance and national unity. It is on that basis that the Hambach Festival is now considered to be the cradle of German democracy.

It was also the first time that the black, red and gold tricolour flag was used as a symbol of future German unity. The 'Up, up, up to the castle!' exhibition looks more closely at the events around 1832 with a focus on the Hambach Festival. Flags, a printing press and historical documents transport visitors back to that time. Hambach Castle was – and indeed still is – a symbol of freedom, and its walls and towers are holders of history spanning almost a millennium.

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