One of the most enchanting sights in Munich, Germany is Nymphenburg Palace. It certainly is attractive enough for Canaletto to paint it in the 18th century. The swans on the man-made lake are sure to charm, no matter what time of year you visit here.
The land on which the palace was built was given to Henrietta Adelaide of Savoy, the wife of Elector Ferdinand Marie of Bavaria as a thank-you gift from her husband on the birth of an heir after 10 years of marriage and several daughters. Eleven years later, in 1675, the palace was completed and became for generations the summer palace of the rulers of Bavaria. Extensive additions were made by the succeeding generations of Wittelsbach rulers to create the palace that exists today.
The Festival Hall is the first room you visit. The ceiling is worth taking a long look at. It is decorated with frescoes done by Johann Baptiste Zimmermann, who was the most important Rococo fresco artist working in Munich during this period. The rooms to the right side of the hall are the Electors, the north wing, set up in the typical Baroque fashion and to the left, the south wing, the Electress. These include bedrooms, formal rooms and sitting rooms. In the hallway on both sides are studies of different Wittelsbach castles.
In the north wing is the famous Gallery of Beauties.This collection of 36 portraits was the brainchild of Ludwig I who had all the most beautiful women of his time painted and hung in his gallery. These are not all women of the court; one is the daughter of a Greek freedom fighter, one a cobbler’s daughter. Among the court ladies is his daughter-in-law and his mistress, Lola Montez.
The Amilienberg located in the park is a little jewel box of a hunting lodge. It was the retreat of the Electress Amalia. She was known to have hunted from the roof and the kennel room has beautiful tiles and cages for lots of dogs. It is only about six rooms but every one of them is a gem. It is the only one of the houses in the park that is open in the winter.
In the summer you can visit the Podenburg a retreat in the Chinese style, the Badenburg an early heated bath house and Magdaleneklause built as a retreat for Max Emmanuel. None of these were open when we visited in January.
The Stable Museum has a collection of carriages and sleighs. In the collection can be found two carriages that belonged to the son of the Empress Josephine, Eugene Beauharnais. He was the husband of Princess Augusta daughter of Maximilian I of Bavaria which explains how these carriages came into the collection. Of particular beauty was a carriage that could be turned into a sleigh that belonging to Ludwig II. Upstairs there is a particularly fine collection of Nymphenburg porcelain.
If you want to purchase some modern Nymphenburg porcelain, there is a store right alongside the front park. You had better have a huge credit line though the prices are quite shocking. This writer didn’t see any pieces under 100 euros, but did see a 700-Euro teapot.
The easiest way to reach the Palace is to take the S-Bahn 16 from the Haupbahnhof toward Amelianburgstrasse. Get off at the Schloss Nymphenburg stop not the Romanplatz as the tourist brochure directs.