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Hunting palace and summer residence with glorious views

Solitude Palace

Citizens take over the palace

The end of the monarchy

On November 9, 1918, the republic was proclaimed, including in Baden and Württemberg. The monarchies abdicated and democracy began in Germany. At the same time, many residential palaces were turned into museums and public spaces.

SOLITUDE PALACE AS A PLACE FOR WOUNDED SOLDERS

It had been a long time since Solitude Palace stood for monarchy and royalty. Nonetheless, it was closely connected to the events at the end of World War I. The palace buildings in the secluded hills around Stuttgart were used as a military hospital, a tradition that had been practiced for more than a century, since the "Wars of Liberation" in the struggle against Napoleon's rule. A memorial plaque in the Solitude cemetery commemorates this function as a military hospital. It names the 23 soldiers who died in the hospital at Solitude during World War I.

WHILE IN NEARBY STUTTGART...

In contrast to Solitude Palace and its hospital, the palaces in Stuttgart's city center were in the midst of the November Revolution in Württemberg. Like many other places in Germany, the revolutionaries founded the "Peoples' State of Württemberg" on November 9, 1918, influenced by the news from Berlin. King Wilhelm II of Württemberg left the city when the unrest reached critical mass and retreated to the royal hunting lodge in Bebenhausen.

Bebenhausen Palace, King Wilhelm II and Queen Charlotte. Image: Landesmedienzentrum, author unknown

The royal couple in Bebenhausen.

The end of the monarchy

On November 30, 1918, King Wilhelm II abdicated. Upon renouncing the throne, he assumed the title of a duke of Württemberg. Three years later, he died in Bebenhausen; his wife, Charlotte, lived in Bebenhausen Palace until her death in 1946.

A CENTURY OF PALACE STORIES

Many palaces had not been used by the old ruling families as residences or even government seats for 100 years. The transformation had started long ago: as museums or tourist attractions, as archives or administrative centers. With the end of the monarchy, this transformation became permanent. Only those palaces that were part of the former rulers' private estates remained in their possession. All other palaces became property of the state and many have remained worthwhile sites, managed by the State Palaces and Gardens of Baden-Württemberg.