A truly bucolic idyll in the midst of unspoiled nature and surrounded by the relaxing rustle of the leaves of forest trees: Reinhardsbrunn Palace in the State of Thuringia with its adjacent parkland is a gem of a heritage site and cultural monument with an importance that resonates beyond the borders of the state itself. Architectural splendour and historic diversity come together on what is currently a largely deserted spot. This extensive venue is in the centre of the northwest corner of the Thuringian Forest, at the very core of Germany’s green heart. The elegant complex located near the picturesque spa town of Friedrichroda and close to the residential city of Gotha is also just 20 miles as the crow flies from the state capital Erfurt. This unique area has been dubbed the “Cradle of medieval Thuringia”, has a history reaching back more than 1000 years and has witnessed the changes wrought by the many epochs since 1085.
Deciding to adopt a procedure exceptional in Germany, the Free State of Thuringia expropriated this jewel, the structure of which was at risk due to ongoing neglect. The historic estate here has since been secured and renovated using state governments funds in such a way that its potential usage has yet to be specified. This applies to both the listed structures here and the expansive parkland that extends to nearly 37 acres.
The objective is to generate a sustainable development strategy for Reinhardsbrunn through a broad-based consultation process. The idea is to draft a suitable utilisation concept in active dialogue with various interested parties from a wide range of social groups and to implement this with effect from 2024.
On Friday, 9 June 2023, some 60 invited experts and representatives of stakeholder groups met in the AHORN Berghotel in Friedrichroda. During the associated conference, the next stages of the utilisation definition process for Reinhardsbrunn Palace were discussed in detail, the results of the discourse between specialists were presented and a specific plan for the development strategy was approved. Following introductory addresses by Bodo Ramelow, the Minister-President of Thuringia, and Tina Beer, the Secretary of State for Culture, the LEG Thüringen project team provided a detailed report on the site. Frank Sonnabend, who had acquired the old defensive barracks in Erfurt, gave a talk on his development of this site as a recent best practice example.
Phase 1 - Q2/2023
Kickoff event in Friedrichroda: conference of experts to discuss future utilisation
Description of the site with tour, relationship of the location with the local region and the Free State of Thuringia, specialist talks by experts, podium discussion with local political representatives, outlining of future processes and mutual approval of the development strategy.
PHASE 2 - Q4/2023
The utilisation definition process
Collection, compiling and evaluation of the various concepts for utilisation taking into account the special situation of the site and consultation with various interested parties from a wide range of social groups
Major milestone dates:
1 September 2023 - publication of the assignment white paper
6 October 2023 - submission of ideas for utilisation
18 October 2023 - jury session to select the concept
The 45-minute documentary "“Schloss Reinhardsbrunn - Thüringens verlorenes Paradies” from the TV series “Der Osten - Entdecke wo du lebst” shot for the MDR Fernsehen television channel provides evocative images and insight into the history of Reinhardsbrunn Palace.