An idyllic Biedermeier-era treasure on Lake Constance

Meersburg Prince’s Little House

Meersburg Prince's Little House. Image: Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg, Amt Ravensburg, Herbert Neidhardt
Garden house and workspace

The structure

The Prince's Little House was built more than 400 years ago, for enjoying the beautiful landscape around Lake Constance. In the 19th century, the famous poet, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, renovated it as her workspace. The Prince's Little House is still reminiscent of her.

Vineyard with a view of Meersburg. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Markus Schwerer

Above the vineyard, the Prince's Little House looks out over Meersburg.

A princely garden house above the historic town

High above Meersburg's upper town, the Prince's Little House looks out toward the New Palace. A hill of vines: This was what the hill vineyard looked like when the house was built. It was constructed around 1600 for Canon Jakob Fugger, who became Prince-Bishop Jakob Fugger shortly thereafter. This is where this garden house gets its name. The prince-bishops used the garden house until the early 19th century, when the secular residence in Meersburg was abolished.

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

The famous owner: Annette von Droste-Hülshoff.

Property of a famous poet

At the time of the Droste, there was a "parade room" and a kitchen on the ground floor. The poet describes in a letter the parade room "with an oriel in which the canapé with table and some chairs have enough room... one sits there like in a glass box, a window in the back and two to the sides". A simple wooden staircase led up from the kitchen. The poet described the central room on the upper floor as a swallow's nest. Her bedroom and a room for the Kammerjungfer were next to it.

Meersburg Prince's Little House, state room. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Carla Mueller

Couch with a table and a few chairs.

Droste-Hülshoff settles in

In Droste's time, the ground floor consisted of the "state room" and a kitchen. The poet described the state room in a letter as having "an alcove that can accommodate a couch, a table and a few chairs... where you sit as if in a glass case, with a window to your back and one to either side." Simple wooden stairs lead from the kitchen to the second floor. The poet called the central room on the second floor the "swallow's nest"; next to it, her bedroom and a chamber maid's room.

View of Lake Constance from the Meersburg Prince's Little House. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Markus Schwerer

An addition completes the original building.

The poet's heirs

What happened to the house and the vineyard after Droste's death? In the early 20th century, her youngest nephew, Carl von Droste-Hülshoff, and his wife, Marie, built an addition to the house. He added a long wing to the original building and relocated the entrance. This made the house much roomier than it had been in the poet's time. Today, this added wing houses the visitor's center.

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

Visible from afar: The little house stands on the hill for all to see.

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