An idyllic Biedermeier-era treasure on Lake Constance

Meersburg Prince’s Little House

Meersburg Prince's Little House, bust of Annette von Droste-Hülshoff; image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Bernhard Wrobel
We have a winner

Anecdotes:

Purchasing the house

Luckily for the garden house, a famous poet took an interest in it. Who knows if it would have survived to this day if she hadn't purchased it at auction. Before she bought it, it had stood empty for decades following secularization!

Meersburg Prince's Little House; image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Bernhard Wrobel

The house was to be auctioned.

Vineyard with garden house and panoramic view for 400 Reichsthaler

Jenny, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff's sister, lived in Meersburg Castle with her husband, Joseph von Laßberg. The poet visited them three times and stayed for several months each time. In 1843, she heard about an auction at which the prince-bishop's garden house and surrounding vineyards were to be auctioned off.

Porcelain cup and goblet at the Meersburg Prince's Little House; image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Markus Schwerer

A garden house owned by margraves.

Meersburg as home?

The garden house had been in possession of the Margraves of Baden since 1803. As part of secularization, they had acquired all worldly property previously belonging to the church dignitaries. The house then stood empty for several decades. In November 1843, it was auctioned off. The poet from Westphalia saw Meersburg as her "second home" and greatly enjoyed being there. She liked the idea of purchasing a little house and some property on Lake Constance for her old age!

Meersburg Prince's Little House, bust of Annette von Droste-Hülshoff; image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Bernhard Wrobel

The house was a lucky find for Droste-Hülshoff.

Great opportunity for the poet

All of Meersburg's prominent society—anyone who was anyone, including vintners—attended the auction. When Annette von Droste-Hülshoff expressed an interest in participating, something surprising happened: everyone else stopped bidding. Thus it was that, after only a few minutes, the poet won the bid. On top of that, the price of 400 Reichsthaler was more than reasonable for the large property. In her letters telling of her purchase of the Prince's Little House, she expressed her surprise at her good luck.

The view is almost too beautiful

The poet raved about her new property: She called the Prince's Little House her "swallow's nest," the same name she'd given her attic hideaway, where she could be alone. In 1843, she wrote to her friend, Elise Rüdiger: "And now I have to tell you that I have been a grand land owner for the past eight days. I have purchased (...) the bright Prince's Little House and its vineyards, and for how much? For 400 Reichsthaler! The view is almost too beautiful; the view of my immediate surroundings is almost too vibrant, the distant view almost too boundless."

Weinberg mit Blick auf Stadt Meersburg und Bodensee; Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Markus Schwerer

The picturesque view from the Prince's Little House looks over the vineyards, the town and the lake.

Learn more

Art & spaces
Stylistic eras

Please select a maximum of 5 keywords.