Nymphenburg Palace - History and Facts | History Hit

Nymphenburg Palace

Munich, Bavaria, Germany

Nymphenburg Palace is a grand baroque palace in Munich and one the city’s most famous sites.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Nymphenburg Palace

Nymphenburg Palace (Schloss Nymphenburg) is a grand baroque palace in Munich and one the city’s most famous sites.

Originally built in the seventeenth century, Nymphenburg Palace was constructed in celebration the birth of Max Emanuel, the son and heir of Bavarian Elector Ferdinand Maria and his wife, Henriette Adelaide of Savoy.

Nymphenburg Palace history

Begun in 1664, most of Nymphenburg Palace was complete by 1679, but would later be added to significantly by Max Emanuel himself as well as by later rulers.

A site on the edge of the court lands, to the west of the city and the Residenz, was chosen for the new building – a location which, at that time, was still some way out of Munich surrounded by open countryside.

The palace was designed by Italian architect Agostino Barelli, who also designed Munich’s Theatine Church.

Initially, the Italianate “Nymphenburg summer residence” was a mighty cubic pavilion, flanked by the court church, several outbuildings and a small, walled, geometrical garden. By 1679 the palace complex, in its first incarnation, had nearly been finished.

Nymphenburg Palace acquired its present-day dimensions under the elector Max Emanuel. Under the direction of court architect Henrico Zuccalli, in 1701, pavilions were built on each side of the existing structure, to the north and south, linked to the central edifice by galleries.

The Spanish War of Succession halted construction work on the palace as Max Emanuel had to spend time outside Bavaria, from 1704 to 1715.

About 1715, the court architect Joseph Effner, together with the French landscape architect Dominique Girard, designed an overall plan for Nymphenburg and the subsequent extension was carried out in accordance with this plan. Of the measures that were implemented then, the following are the most notable: the central pavilion as the focal point of the ensemble was redesigned, the royal apartments were furnished and decorated, the annexes, situated in front of the main palace, were rebuilt as residences for court officials and the crescent was constructed with a circular wall and five pairs of pavilions.

When Bavaria became a kingdom, in the early nineteenth century, Nymphenburg resumed its important function. Elector Maximilian IV Joseph, who, as Maximilian I Joseph, was the first King of Bavaria (reigned 1806–25), ordered some of the rooms to be redesigned and appointed with noble Neoclassical furniture. The superintendent of the royal gardens, Friedrich Ludwig Sckell, transformed the geometrical French gardens into a landscape garden in the English style.

King Maximilian I Joseph died at Nymphenburg in 1825. In subsequent years the palace remained a favourite residence of the Bavarian royal family. King Ludwig II of Bavaria (reigned 1864-1886) was born here on 25 August 1845.

Nymphenburg Palace today

With its beautiful baroque style, stunning gardens and opulent interiors, Nymphenburg Palace is worth a visit. It is also home to the Museum of carriages and sleighs, which showcases an impressive collection dating from the eighteenth century, and the Museum of Nymphenburg Porcelain.

Getting to Nymphenburg Palace

The palace is located in the west part of Munich and is easily accessible by public transport.