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Napoleonic Museum Thurgau - Switzerland

Founded in the year 1906, the Napoleonic museum is the only German-language museum dedicated to Napoleonic history. It covers events from the period of the French Revolution right through to the time of the First World War. By the way – Napoleon III spent his childhood here!

Photo credit: Napoleonic Museum Thurgau

The loveliest palace on Lake Constance

Records prove that there has been an east-west orientated palace complex on the hill (nowadays known as the Arenenberg) between Ermatigen, Mannenbach and Salenstein at least since the middle of the 15th century. Arenenberg was an “Estate of Konstanz”, which meant that it was owned by a number of aristocratic families who had settled in the Thurgau region. In 1817 Johann Baptist von Streng sold his family seat to Hortense de Beauharnais, who was staying in Konstanz.

Thurgau Napoleonic Museum on the interactive map

Hortense de Beauharnais

In February 1817, Hortense de Beauharnais, the ex-queen of Holland, acquired possession of the Arenenberg. She brought with her from France to Lake Constance not only her family’s exclusive predilection for works of art and palaces, but also a love of horticulture.

The palace park 1817 - 1906

It is now impossible to prove conclusively who may have been responsible for designing the Arenenberg complex’s garden. It is possible, however, that the Lady ran her ideas past Louis-Martin Berthault, France’s eminent horticulturist, before putting them into practice some months later. After 1834 her son, Louis Napoleon, together with Hermann von Pueckler-Muskau, reinvented the park, giving it the appearance it has today.

The Thurgau Napoleon museum, Arenenberg palace and park, was founded in 1906, and is the only German-language museum dedicated to Napoleonic history. Today the house is as open and friendly as it has always been, and present-day visitors should also feel like Hortense’s welcome guests.

The Emperor of Lake Constance

Rumour has it that when, on 9th January 1873, the last French monarch passed away, he had on him (in addition to a farewell note from his mother, written 36 years earlier at the Arenenberg palace in Thurgau) a second document, which proclaimed him to be quite unmistakeably a Swiss citizen. What nicer way could there be of proving a person’s love for his homeland?

Born on 20th April 1808 in Paris, the man later destined to become emperor of France lived between 1815 and 1817 in Konstanz under the name of Prince Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. Subsequently moving to Augsburg, he returned in 1823 to finally establish his permanent residence on Lake Constance. The Arenenberg palace in the canton of Thurgau was his parental home, and the nearby town of Konstanz served as his “official city of court”. It was here that he completed his further education and was strongly influenced by the area.

Winter opening times

24th October 2016 – 2nd April 2017
Tuesday to Sunday: 10.00 to 17.00
Last entries: 16.30
Closed Mondays

Summer opening times

3rd  April to 22nd October 2017
Monday to Sunday: 10.00 to 17.00
Last entries: 16.30

Schloss und Park Arenenberg
CH - 8268 Salenstein

Tel.: 0041 (0)58 345 74 10
Fax.: 0041 (0)58 345 74 11


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