The House of Wittelsbach is an integral part of European cultural history. Its members were admired and adored far beyond the borders of Bavaria for their relentless creative drive, their appreciation of art and their patronage.

Bavaria’s dukes, prince-electors and kings had a marked influence on the architecture of the Free State. The legacy of the cultural activities of the Wittelsbach family can still be felt today all over Bavaria.

King Ludwig I shaped the face of his city of residence, Munich, and, being a great admirer of Ancient Greece, wanted the city to gleam with classical magnificence. He commissioned Leo von Klenze to build the Hofgartentor in the Court Garden. This was followed by the Glyptothek for Ludwig’s collection of antique sculptures, as well as by the world-famous (Alte and Neue) Pinakotheken. Other urban development concepts were also driven forward under his reign and completed in dazzling fashion with the construction of Odeonsplatz, Königsplatz and the Munich Residenz. He also had numerous monuments and buildings constructed in all areas of Bavaria, such as the Walhalla memorial in Donaustauf, the Befreiungshalle monument and the Ludwigskanal in Kelheim, the Pompejanum replica Roman villa in Aschaffenburg and Villa Ludwigshöhe in the Palatinate.

His son, King Maximilian II, an avowed promoter of science and research, drove forward the industrialisation of Bavaria and had the Munich Glass Palace – one of the most modern buildings of its time – built to mark the First General German Industrial Exhibition in 1854. Maximilian’s accomplishments in transforming traditional dress and customs into unifying elements of Bavarian culture resulted in him being considered as a down-to-earth regent who held the closest of ties to his homeland.

King Ludwig II is one of the most fascinating personalities in the colourful history of the House of Wittelsbach. His world-famous royal castles and palaces – Neuschwanstein, Herrenchiemsee and Linderhof – transformed the Bavarian foothills of the Alps into one of the most important tourist locations in Europe.

Much like his son Ludwig III, Prince Regent Luitpold played a crucial role in Munich’s Golden Age at the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century, a period during which not only art and culture, but also agriculture and industry, enjoyed their heyday. The influence of the Wittelsbachs extended well beyond the borders of Bavaria. Other members of the family also reigned as Counts Palatine of the Rhine, some Counts of Holland, Kings of Hungary, Denmark-Norway-Sweden and Greece, two Kings of Germany, two Kings of Bohemia and several Kings of Sweden, as well as a King and two Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire.


King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria

King Ludwig I of Bavaria

King Maximilian II of Bavaria

King Ludwig II of Bavaria

Prince Regent Luitpold of Bavaria

King Ludwig III of Bavaria

Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria

Duke Albrecht of Bavaria

Duke Franz of Bavaria

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