About the Restoration of Grünsberg Castle

Grünsberg Castle is already standing since at least 800 years. The oldest documented mentioning of 1231 already includes a major repair, meaning that it must have been built much earlier than 1231. During the wars of 1504 and around 1555 at least the Palas had been burnt down to its foundations and then has been reconstructed in 1561 in the architectural appearance of today.
In the last days of World War II the castle had been no man's land and due to this received several hits. The corresponding damages were poorly repaired. Apart from that, generations of owners have fiddled about with the buildings without taking account of static necessities and/or the intentions of the original architects. Many things they had improved, but others they had worsened.
Geological investigations had revealed that the castle in fact had been erected on a sandstone outcrop. However, over the centuries, this sandstone had turned into plain sand. Hence, underpinnings of the foundations were required and the hill had to be prevented from sliding. Apart from that, the adjoining buildings had to be re-roofed and the "Palas" needed a wall tempering to protect the valuable inventory.
Given all this, a general restoration of the entire ensemble became unavoidable and its execution eventually was decided in 1993. Grünsberg Castle is a monument of European importance carrying the emblem of the "The Hague convention for the protection of cultural property in armed conflicts ". With this, it enjoys the highest imaginable level of monument protection overall. Among others this means that already during the times of private ownership actually every driving in of a nail required an official approval. Now, since the castle belongs to a public trust we are even more obliged to only do things for the purpose of maintaining it. Private interests have to stand back.

In 1997, the last owner, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Freiherr Stromer von Reichenbach, launched the general restoration of the entire ensemble. In the first phase out of two, BAI, emphasis was put on the static protection of the important museal "Palas", the main building. Due to the variety of reconstructions over the centuries and the World War II damage it was in danger to break-down.
Furthermore, the tiles having been used in 1969 for re-roofing turned out to be wasters. The baroque tithe barn at the village square opposite to the castle had to be renovated urgently as well. The "Verwaltershaus" (Caretaker's House) showed damages in wood- and wall-work caused by a cracked-off corner and the age-long accommodation of horses in its groined vault byre. BAI consumed about 750,000 Euros, 69% of which had been taken over by the public authorities always keeping in mind that some day the castle would be part of a public trust and that a second restoration phase, BAII, was to follow.
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Freiherr Stromer von Reichenbach died in 1999. At this point, his daughter Rotraut von Stromer-Baumbauer took over the role of her father. The trust was founded in the year 2000. Rotraut von Stromer-Baumbauer became the administrator of the trust. BAI ended in 2001. BAII took from mid 2005 until the end of 2009.

During the long phase of pre-investigations on construction activities and financing for BAII, emergency measures had already been taken were necessary. They were pre-financed by the then existing trust. This included for instance the restoration of the highest wall of the "Himmelgarten" (Heaven's Garden) which was in imminent danger of collapse.
The budget of BAII amounted to 2.25 Mio Euros. Primarily, this money had to be spent for the static stabilization of foundations, walls and roofs of the various buildings as well as some improvements of the infrastructure like public toilet, tempering of "Palas" and "Burgkapelle" and establishing the habitability of the "Pächtershaus". Most of the wooden parts of baroque bell tower of the "Burgkapelle" had been devoured by hornets or destroyed by wrongly built acoustical jalousies and penetrating rain water. Many wooden elements had to be rebuilt based on the model of the old ones. The new wainscoting around it now provides louvres for better sound and air ventilation. The zinc sheeting of its onion-shaped roof has been renewed as well as the mandatory weather vane. The reconditioned baroque clock, bell and bell-ringer are again fully functional. Ringing the bell had not been possible for 35 years.
No luxary was forseen, not even minor repairs like the renewal of the colour and the filling of cracks of the stucco. An extension of the public toilet and one of the second escape routes had to be cancelled, because money from the "Große Städtebauförderung" had been cancelled and this kind of measures does not belong to the category of monument conservation. The public's share of the budget for BAII was 46%. Contributors included
. Entschädigungsfond des Landesamts für Denkmalpflege
. Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz
. Bayerische Landesstiftung
. Landkreis Nürnberger Land
. Stadt Altdorf
The share of 54% had and still has to be afforded by the trust. This could primarily be realized by selling development land. The remaining 10% of the equity ratio was covered by low-interest loans. The trust has to repay these loans for the next 20 years.

Eventually, in 2009 the budget for BAII was exhausted. The substantial portions of the general restoration could be completed. They will ensure the continuance of the castle for the next 200 years. However, it was not possbible to complete some less urgent works like replacing the pavement of the driveway, arranging the inner yard and repairing the beams of the raftered ceiling of the "Hintere Werkstatt". Today, the trust has to afford the regular building maintenance. Pending work like the above is carried out as the budget allows. The Friend's Association as well as donations of various private persons and institutions are a strong support in this. There is hope that the successful general restoration ensures, that many coming generations can enjoy this treasure provided by the "Nürnberger Land".

⇒ pictures of the construction work