Ludwigsburg is a young city. It did not grow organically over centuries, but was designed at the drawing table.
Discover how the Dukes of Württemberg imagined their ideal city 300 years ago and what happened to their plans. The exhibition presents ideas and visions, the people who created the city, and the problems that arose in the process. Ludwigsburg’s changing role as a garrison town, a cultural center, and a prosperous business location is examined and illustrated by unique objects that tell stories of the city and its inhabitants.
Applause – Giacomo Casanova introduced spontaneous applause for the first time at the Württemberg court. Previously, applause in the presence of the Duke had been frowned upon. Someone had objected to Casanova clapping and he was about to leave the theatre when Duke Charles Eugene stopped him with the following words: »It is your right to clap your hands as much as you wish.«
Books for all – In 1764, Duke Charles Eugene made his private library accessible to the public. It became the largest library in Germany at the time. The collection quickly grew to over 100,000 volumes, helped by the fact that every Ludwigsburg civil servant was obliged to provide copies of books to the library. The museum has taken up this idea and invited prominent personalities in Ludwigsburg and people who have just moved to the city to contribute a book of their choice to the new Ludwigsburg Library.
Café Lazaro — In 1725, Joseph Julius Lazaro opened the first café in the city at number 27 on Vordere Schlossstraße. It was ideally located across from Ludwigsburg Palace at the foot of the what is now known as Kaffeeberg, which actually owes its name to the coffee house. Ludwigsburg thus had a café before it had a church or a city hall!
Damask shoes — Giacomo Casanova reported on the preferences of the Duke of Württemberg, and particularly on his passion for Italian ballet: »The dancers were pretty girls, and they all took pride in having found his grace’s favour at least once….« Charles Eugene’s attentions were reserved not just for the dancers, but also for the numerous ladies-in-waiting at the court. However, he managed to keep track by allowing all ladies who had spent the night with him to wear blue damask shoes at court festivities.
Erotic cabinet — Duke Eberhard Louis’ extensive collection of paintings is now in the possession of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. Most of these paintings were originally on show in his Ludwigsburg residence. However, some of the paintings and drawings were not intended to be seen by everyone. There were 260 works of a more spicy nature on display in a side room. For example, he was glad to have »all sorts of different erotic postures … etched in copper« in this collection.
Footwear supplement — The Heinrich Franck Söhne chicory factory wanted its employees to live in the country. It paid them a monthly »footwear contribution of 1 mark and 50 pfennigs« as a compensation for the long distances they would then have to walk to work. The employees also received a supplement for train journeys. However, »if anyone gets up to mischief with the reduced train tickets and doesn’t use the tickets themselves, they will be dismissed immediately and will forfeit any pay or other sums that are due«.
General Winter — Before Karl Ludwig Wilhelm August von Phull went to serve Tsar Alexander I, he studied at the military academy in his home town of Ludwigsburg. It was Karl Ludwig’s strategy that drew Napoleon into the interior of the country during the invasion of Russia. Here, Napoleon’s army was caught unprepared for the harsh Russian winter and was effectively defeated by General Winter. The Tsar thanked Phull with the following words: »It is you who conceived the plan which, with the help of the Providence, had as a result the salvation of Russia and that of Europe.«
His own flesh and blood — Five of the recognised sons of Duke Charles Eugene were given the surname Franquemont. The Duke planned to assemble a regiment consisting of his sons born out of wedlock. All five Franquemonts did indeed serve as officers in the Württemberg army and were sent to the Dutch East Indies as part of the so-called Cape Regiment.
Jozzi, Sidotti und Aprile — The Ludwigsburg Opera was famous for the angelic singing of its male sopranos. After his visit to the Solitude Palace, the English music scholar Charles Burney reported that 15 castrati were being trained there and falsely assumed that their castration operations had been performed there too: »the court has two Bolognese surgeons who are experts in this operation.«
Kaspar's bribes — At the time of Duke Charles Eugene’s rule, important positions in Ludwigsburg went to the applicant who offered the most money rather than to the most capable applicant. Around 1760, Kaspar Lorenz Wittleder, the director of the consistory, was engaged in a lively trade in high offices. One morning, he found a donkey in front of his door with a sign around its neck saying »I would like a position!« People said the only reason that the donkey didn’t get a job was because he wasn’t able to tell Wittleder how much he was prepared to offer as a bribe.
Ludwigsburger Gschmäckle — The very particular roasting aroma from the Franck chicory factory could be smelt all over Ludwigsburg. Indeed, this odour can still sometimes be detected when westerly winds are blowing. In the Swabian dialect of German, the same word is used for both taste and smell – the word Gschmäckle is thus used to refer to the aroma of the Ludwigsburg coffee substitute.
Marstall Center — Criticism of the concrete architecture of the Marstall Center was already being voiced in 1972–1974 while the construction work was in progress. However, the suggestion made back then that the upper storeys of the building should be painted sky blue so that the building wouldn’t dominate the city as much was never acted upon.
Neckarflug — Totengräber Hartmayer war ein kleiner, ausgezehrter Mann. Um 1800 sah man ihn nachts durch die Schorndorfer Straße zum Friedhof ziehen. Unter dem zerschlissenen Mantel trug er Dinge zum Leichenhaus. Dort tüftelte er bei Laternenschein an einer Flugmaschine. Dass sie nie fertig wurde, konnte seine Fantasie nicht aufhalten: Der "Flugmayer" war davon überzeugt, in nächtlichen Runden über den Neckar zu schweben, seine Laterne fest in der Hand.
Opera house — To mark his birthday, Duke Charles Eugene had Europe’s largest opera house built in a period of three months in 1764–65 in the gardens of the Palace. Around 600 land tenants were obliged to work on its construction. The wooden interior decoration was ornate, incorporating mirrors and paintings. A total of 3,000 birthday guests saw an elaborate staging of Jommelli’s opera Demofoonte that marked the ceremonial inauguration of the building.
Pomeranzenkirche — When the city of Ludwigsburg was first founded, it didn’t have a church. For this reason, the small but steadily growing Evangelical congregation held its church services in the Palace. The services were initially held in the foyer of the Corps de Logis or in the hall of the Giants’ Building. However, the congregation soon moved into an Orangery building, which people soon started calling the Pomeranzenkirche or Bitter Orange Church.
Regiment goose — After a soldier saved a goose’s life in 1835, the goose subsequently never strayed far from the soldier’s side. The goose kept guard in front of the cavalry regiment barracks for almost 20 years. It moved base a number of times with the regiment, always greeted the soldiers enthusiastically and marched in perfect posture in front of the Trumpet Corps. When the goose finally died of natural causes at a ripe old age, it was stuffed and given a place of honour in the officers’ mess.
Sparrow money — In order to bring a plague of sparrows under control, Duke Eberhard Louis required every citizen to kill several dozen sparrows or else to contribute at least six kreutzers to the Duke’s building fund. In this way, the sparrows played an important part in the construction of Ludwigsburg Palace.
Teufel's bicycle — Fritz Teufel, who went on to become an activist in the student movement and one of the co-founders of the K1 commune in West Berlin in the late 1960s, didn’t just go to school in Ludwigsburg – he also learned how to ride a bicycle there! He was once involved in an accident while riding his aunt’s old bike. »I rammed into a truck on the Asperger Buckel. I had right of way and the driver’s insurance paid for my first proper bicycle.« However, he regretted one thing: »Unfortunately, I left the bike behind when I moved to Berlin in 1963.«
Unharmed by passing troops — In 1805, Elector Frederick came up with a plan to keep the French army away from Ludwigsburg. He carried out improvements to a minor route outside the city walls and, in this way, guided Napoleon’s forces, led by Marshal Ney, around the city. Frederick also managed to persuade the next set of troops under Marshal Landes to take the same route. Ludwigsburg escaped unharmed and this route was given the name Franzosensträßle.
Voltaire's loan — In order to help support his elaborate court, Duke Charles Eugene borrowed 260,000 guilders from the philosopher Voltaire. He offered the income from his territories west of the Rhine as collateral for this considerable loan. When he proved unable to repay his debts, these lands were seized. Ultimately, the city authorities in Stuttgart agreed to pay off the loan of its sovereign head.
Whole man decided by roll of dice — As a result of the alliance with Napoleon in 1805, Elector Frederick was obliged to send 10,000 Württemberg soldiers to fight in the war against Austria. Based on the population number, the district authority of Ludwigsburg was to provide 29 recruits. In particular, Hoheneck was to provide one-and-a-half soldiers and Oßweil was to provide two-and-two-thirds soldiers. The mayors rolled dice to decide who would »provide the whole man«. The dice determined how many men from each area would be sent to war.
You get the job! — Joseph Jakob Ringler found out about the secret recipe for porcelain as a result of his friendship with the daughter of the head of the porcelain manufacturing company in Vienna. Armed with this knowledge, he was appointed head of the porcelain factory in Ludwigsburg by Duke Charles Eugene in 1759.