300 years – 300 objects: Ludwigsburg – a planned City

The Ludwigsburg Museum preserves 25.000 objets in its collection pertaining to the cultural history of Württemberg. 300 of these objects are showcased in the permanent exhibition.

Ausstellung Ludwigsburg Museum – Museumsbuch für Kinder

Museum booklet for kids and mystery boxes


In each room, you'll find paper sheets designed by artists especially for you. Look, scribble, fold, think or build a stunning toilet paper flip book while going through the exhibition! At the end of your visit, you can clip together the sheets and take home your very own museum booklet. Explore the mysterious black boxes and the things hidden in them. You'll find out how people used to live in Luwigsburg and what's important in the city today. Who hides in the pictures in the stereoscope? Can you make a sound come out of the mouth harp? And how do you build a chicory bomb? The admission, the museum booklet and exploring the boxes: it's all free! 

Ausstellung Ludwigsburg Museum – Guter Fürst

The Good Prince

In 1704, Duke Eberhard Louis of Württemberg arranged for the laying of the foundation stone for Ludwigsburg Palace. Right up until his death, construction workers and craftsmen worked on what was to become one of the largest Baroque palace ensembles in Europe. Under Eberhard Louis and his successor Charles Eugene, the Palace served as the royal residence of Württemberg for a total of 28 years. With the Palace as their gesamtkunstwerk and the opulent festivals they organised, the Dukes put their unbounded power on display with no consideration for the finances of Württemberg. To them, their most important task was to bring fame and renown to the court of Württemberg and to compete with and outdo other European rulers in this regard.

Ausstellung Ludwigsburg Museum – Idealstadt

Ideal City

Duke Eberhard Louis planned to found an ideal city right beside Ludwigsburg Palace. From 1709 onwards, he tried to attract new residents to the city with a series of incentives: first he promised free plots of land and free building materials as well as fifteen years tax-free status, and later on he added freedom to practice one’s profession and religion to the list. However, the town only began to grow when it was granted city status in 1718 and became the royal residence and the capital city. Half of the inhabitants left the city after Eberhard Louis died, as his successor Duke Charles Alexander governed from Stuttgart again. Duke Charles Eugene chose Ludwigsburg as his residence again in 1764 and built the new Carlsstadt district to add to the existing Ludwigsstadt.

Ausstellung Ludwigsburg Museum – Musensitz

Intellectual Centre

Duke Eberhard Louis and Duke Charles Eugene both engaged outstanding artists to work at the Württemberg court. In particular, Charles Eugene made Ludwigsburg famous far beyond the borders of Württemberg with the construction of the largest opera house in Europe at the time, the first public library in Württemberg and the Academy of the Arts. This cultural infrastructure also facilitated the training and education of many artistic talents in the subsequent generations. The city is known as the place of birth and residence of numerous important authors from the 18th and 19th centuries: Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart, Friedrich Schiller, Justinus Kerner, Eduard Mörike, David Friedrich Strauss and Friedrich Theodor Vischer found inspiration here for many significant works.

Ausstellung Ludwigsburg Museum – Neuerfindung

Fresh Invention

When the rulers of Württemberg finally turned their backs on Ludwigsburg in 1816, the city’s cultural and commercial life came to a standstill and the city fell on leaner years. It was only when the railway arrived in 1846 that the city enjoyed something of a rebirth. Large companies set up their headquarters here – primary among these was the Franck coffee substitute company in 1868. The new entrepreneurs also became influential local figures who changed the face of the city. By 1900, nearly half the population of Ludwigsburg was employed in industry and commerce. They manufactured an astoundingly wide range of products that were sold all over the world.

Ausstellung Ludwigsburg Museum – Soldatenstadt

Garrison City

Ludwigsburg was a garrison city for over two-and-a-half centuries, from 1737 to 1994. Soldiers accounted for over one third of the population of the city at times, and their presence in the city was unmistakable: military commands in the streets, the thudding sounds of marching troops, clattering artillery vehicles and the clip-clop of horses’ hooves were common background noises in Ludwigsburg. The grand-scale architecture of the barracks buildings also shaped the appearance of the city. However, the rest of the population rarely got to see what went on behind the walls of the barracks: the garrison was essentially a city within a city. Nonetheless, almost everybody in Ludwigsburg had something to do with the military in their private or working lives. Alongside the military’s dramatic ceremonial appearance, the garrison thus also had a secondary presence in the residents’ everyday lives.

Ausstellung Ludwigsburg Museum - Bürgerstadt

Civic City

Ludwigsburg escaped largely unharmed in the Second World War. The French occupied the city in 1945, followed later by the American Allies. The numerous barracks have housed many different groups over the years: up to 50,000 Nazis awaiting trial were held in American internment camps here and were to be re-educated in democratic principles, while essential services were provided for “displaced persons” and refugees from all over Europe in barracks and military hospitals. However, the city wasn’t just a temporary stopover for some people, and the number of residents in Ludwigsburg soon doubled in just a few years.
The population of the city today is around 88,000. With their ideas and their interests, the inhabitants shape the city and make Ludwigsburg a multi-faceted place.

Haus als Exponat

The building itself as an exhibition piece

Buildings are historical objects in themselves. The typical Ludwigsburg building at Eberhardstrasse 1 was one of the first to be constructed in the town. Various authorities were based here over the course of almost 300 years. The building was converted on numerous occasions, and this type of biography will of course leave behind historical traces. The conversion work to turn the building into a museum revealed many interesting details, such as imperfections in the walls and changes to the room layout. Architecture that enjoys heritage protection status has now been rendered visible, alongside other modern additions and features. The building itself is the biggest exhibit in the museum!

ABC – A series of anecdotes


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 77 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.


Illumination — Under Duke Charles Eugene, large sums were spent on lighting for the Palace. For example, over 200,000 candles and lamps were used at festivities. Nonetheless, the rooms were still nowhere near as bright as they are today with modern electric lighting. The light in this room is dimmed to 50 lux to protect the valuable drawings. This corresponds to the light given off by around 50 candles.


Jozzi, Sidotti and 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.


Ludwigsburg »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 there is low pressure. 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.


 New rural inhabitants  »An appeal to our workers …! We beseech our … workers to see to it that they … move out of the city, as, under certain circumstances, we will make their continued employment dependent on their staying in the country or moving to the country. … Move to where the conditions suit you and make your lives easier and more pleasant!« The Heinrich Franck Söhne company, 1880


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«.


Quick change of season — Numerous tree-lined roads connect Ludwigsburg with its surroundings. It is said that Duke Charles Eugene arranged for a thick layer of salt to be strewn on the Solitudeallee avenue, which is 13,032.14 metres long, so that a sleigh ride could be held in the summe


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 6 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 population numbers, 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 numbers on 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.