Nibelung Room

“Heroes and heroines, everything in splendid harmony with the rest of the artistic designs in this room which no visitor will ever forget”.
(Drachenfels and Schloss Drachenburg at Königswinter on the Rhine, undated, c. 1904.)

The “Nibelung Room” gets its name from the subject matter of the large-scale wall paintings by Frank Kirchbach (1859-1912) depicting ten key scenes from the Song of the Nibelungs. The glass paintings for the windows once showed protagonists and motifs from the Germanic saga. Indirectly conveying the intentions of the castle owner – by reflecting the notions of (state) loyalty, political conviction, manhood and martial virtues – the mural also points to the function of the room as a kind of gentlemen’s lounge. It was the conversation room or smoking room to which the men withdrew after dinner for political discussion or a simple chat. At the same time, the medieval ambience of the room served the lord of the manor as a kind of haven – the place for a fantasy journey into the past.

Over the course of the castle’s changing history, the Nibelung Room served a number of purposes and was redesigned accordingly. Until 1930, the room could be viewed in its pristine condition. From 1931 to 1938, it served as a school staffroom for the Christian Brothers. During the Second World War, the glass paintings and parts of the interior decoration were destroyed. After the war, in 1948, the college accommodated at the castle by the German Railways Board used the room as the Principal’s Office and, when the castle stood empty during the 1960s, the wall paintings suffered severe damage whether in the form of water or theft by degrees. However, with the coming of the Spinat era from 1971 onwards, the fittings and furnishings saw some return to former Gründerzeit splendour. Parts missing from the canvas were replaced.

Fluctuations in temperature, damp and unprofessional handling also beset the woodwork and the paintings. And so, in 2006, to preserve these unique witnesses to the 19th century, the entire Nibelung Room was meticulously restored with close reference to the way it looked at the time of building – i.e. lovingly restored and historically refurnished.