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Paretz Palace Chateau Paretz.JPG
Paretz Palace

Paretz is a village in the German state of Brandenburg in the district of Havelland, west of Berlin. Recently, a district reform made Paretz into a borough of the city of Ketzin. It has a population of approximately 400. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries the village was the summer residence King Frederick William III of Prussia and of his wife Queen Louise.

Brandenburg State in Germany

Brandenburg is a state of Germany.

Havelland (district) District in Brandenburg, Germany

Havelland is a district or county in Brandenburg, Germany. It is bounded by the districts of Ostprignitz-Ruppin and Oberhavel, the city-state of Berlin, the district of Potsdam-Mittelmark, the city of Brandenburg and the state of Saxony-Anhalt.

Ketzin Place in Brandenburg, Germany

Ketzin is a town in the Havelland district, in Brandenburg, Germany. It is situated on the river Havel, 17 km northwest of Potsdam, and 40 km west of Berlin.


Paretz Palace

The manorial estate of Paretz was originally property of the von Bredow family from whom, in 1677, the Brandenburg diplomat Christoph Caspar von Blumenthal bought it. It was from here that his daughter Wilhelmina eloped with Ernst Christian von Weiler, a married man, in 1689. The estate was inherited by Count Hans von Blumenthal, former commander of the Gardes du Corps, who in retirement was tutor to the Crown Prince Frederick William (later King Frederick William III of Prussia).

Gardes du Corps (Prussia)

The Gardes du Corps was the personal bodyguard of the king of Prussia and, after 1871, of the German emperor. The unit was founded in 1740 by Frederick the Great. Its first commander was Friedrich von Blumenthal, who died unexpectedly in 1745; his brother Hans von Blumenthal, who, with the other officers of the regiment had won the Pour le Mérite in its first action at the battle of Hohenfriedberg, assumed command in 1747. Hans von Blumenthal was badly wounded leading the regiment in a successful cavalry charge in the battle of Lobositz and had to retire from the military.

Frederick William III of Prussia King of Prussia

Frederick William III was king of Prussia from 1797 to 1840. He ruled Prussia during the difficult times of the Napoleonic Wars and the end of the Holy Roman Empire. Steering a careful course between France and her enemies, after a major military defeat in 1806, he eventually and reluctantly joined the coalition against Napoleon in the Befreiungskriege. Following Napoleon's defeat he was King of Prussia during the Congress of Vienna, which assembled to settle the political questions arising from the new, post-Napoleonic order in Europe. He was determined to unify the Protestant churches, to homogenize their liturgy, their organization and even their architecture. The long-term goal was to have fully centralized royal control of all the Protestant churches in the Prussian Union of Churches.

Gate houses Paretz Ortseingang.jpg
Gate houses

The Crown Prince had a sad childhood, but he was always happy staying with his tutor at Paretz. For this reason, in 1795 he bought the estate of Paretz from his tutor's son, his former playmate Count Heinrich von Blumenthal, for 80,000 Thalers (approximately €120,000 as of 2005). The Berlin architect David Gilly was put in charge of the construction of the building and it was planned to become a country palace. "Just remember always that you are building for a poor farmer", the crown prince is said to have told the architect. Flanking the palace were placed two barn buildings each, on the left and right, (one on each side to house animals) thus forming a semi circular yard. In 1804 the royal couple had the entire village rebuilt to conform to David Gilly's designs but the uniform style is hardly recognizable anymore today.

Thaler silver coin used throughout Europe for almost four hundred years

The thaler was a silver coin used throughout Europe for almost four hundred years. Its name lives on in the many currencies called dollar and the Samoan tālā, and, until recently, also in the Slovenian tolar.

David Gilly German architect

David Gilly was a German architect and architecture-tutor in Prussia, known as the father of the architect Friedrich Gilly.

Facade detail Chateau Paretz Facade.jpg
Facade detail

After the death of Queen Louise in 1810 the palace was left unchanged until 1840 when Frederick William IV had the wallpaper and furniture replaced in several rooms. The appeal of the Schloss-Still-im-Land was lost however and the palace remained untouched and empty until early in the 20th century.

Frederick William IV of Prussia King of Prussia

Frederick William IV, the eldest son and successor of Frederick William III of Prussia, reigned as King of Prussia from 1840 to 1861. Also referred to as the "romanticist on the throne", he is best remembered for the many buildings he had constructed in Berlin and Potsdam, as well as for the completion of the Gothic Cologne Cathedral. In politics, he was a conservative, and in 1849 rejected the title of Emperor of the Germans offered by the Frankfurt Parliament as not the Parliament's to give. In 1857, he suffered a stroke and was left incapacitated until his death. His brother Wilhelm served as regent for the rest of his reign and then succeeded him as King.

The palace continued to be owned by the Hohenzollern until 1945: King Frederick William IV had passed the palace on to King Wilhelm I who became Emperor of Germany in 1871. In 1888 Prince Heinrich took over the palace and his wife Princess Irene of Hesse and by Rhine continued after his death in 1929.

Princess Irene of Hesse and by Rhine Daughter of Ludwig IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, wife of Prince Albert Wilhelm Heinrich of Prussia

Princess Irene of Hesse and by Rhine was the third child and third daughter of Princess Alice of the United Kingdom and Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine. Her maternal grandparents were Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Her paternal grandparents were Prince Charles of Hesse and by Rhine and Princess Elizabeth of Prussia. She was the wife of Prince Henry of Prussia, a younger brother of Wilhelm II, German Emperor and her first cousin. The SS Prinzessin Irene, a liner of the North German Lloyd was named after her.

In April 1945 the Red Army took possession of the grounds and the troops didn't leave until halfway through 1946. A year later, refugees moved into the buildings and in 1948 ownership of the palace was transferred to the Zentrale Verwaltung der gegenseitigen Bauernhilfe (ZVdgB) ("Central Administration of Mutual Aid to Farmers"). Modifications to the complex through 1950 completely changed the look of the palace and farm.

Red Army 1917–1946 ground and air warfare branch of the Soviet Unions military

The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, frequently shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established immediately after the 1917 October Revolution. The Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; taking the official name of "Soviet Army", until its dissolution in December 1991.

A refugee, generally speaking, is a displaced person who has been forced to cross national boundaries and who cannot return home safely. Such a person may be called an asylum seeker until granted refugee status by the contracting state or the UNHCR if they formally make a claim for asylum. The lead international agency coordinating refugee protection is the United Nations Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The United Nations have a second Office for refugees, the UNRWA, which is solely responsible for supporting the large majority of Palestinian refugees.

Special attractions of the palace are the tapestries that are adorned with exotic plant motives, bird renditions and depictions of landscapes in the Potsdam area. The tapestries survived World War II as they had been removed and kept in the New Palace in Potsdam for safe keeping.

Gothic House

Gothic House Paretz Gotisches Haus.jpg
Gothic House

The Gothic House is a former royal forge. It is notable as the only neo-Gothic structure among the other rather simple buildings. Currently, a restaurant is being operated in the building.

Paretzer Erdlöcher

During the 19th century the production of bricks was an important industry for the area as they could be sold to the ever-growing city of Berlin. Therefore, many villages had several tile producing companies. To make the bricks, clay was needed and mined from the clay ground common to the area.

When the business slowed down after World War I, the clay mines filled with ground water and turned into small lakes, the Erdlöcher or "holes in the ground". After World War II, some holes were backfilled with rubble from bombed Berlin (in a peculiar kind of material cycle), today most of them however are home to numerous water fowl and have been placed under environmental protection.

Theodor Fontane

Fontane in Paretz.jpg

The German poet and author Theodor Fontane liked the village a lot and came to visit Paretz three times: in the spring of 1861, 1869 and in May 1870. He describes the farm Paretz in his Wanderungen durch die Mark Brandenburg in vivid colors:

"Uetz and Paretz are separated by little more than half a mile. On a summer afternoon this is an inspiring walk. The path leads through the meadows and the smell of hay is present from the fields all around us. A thin, fog lit by the sun marks the spot where the wide Havel with its many bays and lakes lies. Paretz itself does not appear to us until the very last."
"Finally the path turns into a levee and instead of the fruit trees that so far have kept us company there are tall poplars and royal buildings everywhere until we cross a light and elegant bridge, called the Infantenbrücke, and reach the village road. The road takes us through the park then grows wider just after going around a bend and we are there."


Paretz lies on the River Havel between the cities of Potsdam and Brandenburg, and the junction of that river with two canals is nearby. Both canals were built to provide alternative routes to the river, but for rather different ulterior purposes. [1]

In the 1870s, the Sacrow–Paretz Canal was constructed to link Paretz with the Jungfernsee, near Potsdam, thus providing a shorter navigation route to Berlin and points upstream for vessels navigating the River Havel. In the 1950s, the Havel Canal was constructed to link Paretz with Hennigsdorf, significantly further upstream than Potsdam and avoiding a passage through the reach of the River Havel that was under the political control of West Berlin. Both canals are still in use, providing shorter routes for shipping from the west to Berlin and to the Oder–Havel Canal and Poland. [1]

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Sacrow–Paretz Canal

The Sacrow–Paretz Canal, or Sacrow-Paretzer-Kanal in German, is a canal in the German state of Brandenburg. It provides a short cut for vessels navigating the River Havel, linking the Jungfernsee, near Potsdam, with Paretz.

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This article is based on a translation of an article from the German Wikipedia .

  1. 1 2 Sheffield, Barry (1995). Inland Waterways of Germany. St Ives: Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson. p. 100. ISBN   0-85288-283-1.

Coordinates: 52°28′N12°53′E / 52.467°N 12.883°E / 52.467; 12.883