Drachenburg Castle (Germany)

Built in record time between 1882 and 1884, in an artistic movement called historicism (drawing its source from the past), this German castle was to serve as the private residence of its owner, a Parisian trader and financier named Stephan von Sarter (later Baron).

This was never the case: the stock market speculator and collaborator of Ferdinand de Lesseps (who built the Suez Canal) lived in Paris until his death in 1902.

From 1942 on, the castle was used to train future Nazi leaders from the Köln-Aachen region. The school was named after Adolf Hitler.

After the war, left empty for several years, looted and vandalized, … the government shows its intention to demolish it to replace it by a modern office building.

It is a citizen’s mobilization, supported by a few politicians and the unfailing commitment of the historian Theo Hardenberg, that will save the castle.

A few years later, in 1971, the entrepreneur Paul Spinat bought it with the firm intention of restoring it. He invested several millions (of Marks) and two years later opened it to the public.

Passionate about culture and art, the new owner revived the building through an eclectic decoration and various animations. We note for example the arrival of Andy Warhol who painted one of the facades (painting sold at auction in 2014 by Sotheby’s New York – estimate: 240-280,000 dollars).

Among the events that forged the legend of the castle and its owner: the organ concerts that Paul Spinat regularly gave in front of an audience amazed by such talent. Until his death, when it was discovered that the organ was in fact unusable. But the tape recorder that played the melodies in its place was not!

Drachenburg Castle, located in Königswinter (less than 20 kilometers from Bonn), is normally open to visitors.

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