Walhalla memorial

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Walhalla, seen from the Danube
File:Walhalla Aussen2.jpg
Exterior view from northwest
File:Walhalla 360.jpg
360 degrees panorama view inside the Walhalla memorial, Germany

The Walhalla is a hall of fame that honors laudable and distinguished people in German history – "politicians, sovereigns, scientists and artists of the German tongue";[1] thus the celebrities honored are drawn from a wider area than today's Germany. The hall is a neo-classical building above the Danube River, east of Regensburg in Bavaria.

The Walhalla is named for the Valhalla of Norse mythology. It was conceived in 1807 by Crown Prince Ludwig in order to support the then-gathering momentum for the unification of the many German states. Following his accession to the throne of Bavaria, construction took place between 1830 and 1842 under the supervision of the architect Leo von Klenze.

The memorial displays some 65 plaques and 130 busts covering 2,000 years of history, beginning with Arminius, victor at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD.


File:Walhalla innen.jpg
Walhalla main hall

By 1806 Napoleon's First French Empire had annexed German lands along the Rhine River and the North Sea. Central German states formed the Confederation of the Rhine, which sided with Napoleon. Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor, then formally dissolved the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (6 August 1806) and instead styled himself Emperor of Austria. The War of the Fourth Coalition (1806-1807) pitted German forces on both sides against each other, and Napoleon again prevailed.

In 1807, 20-year-old Crown Prince Ludwig of the Kingdom of Bavaria (newly elevated from Electorate to Kingdom by Napoleon in 1806), had the idea of reminding all Germans of their common heritage – of the great figures and events in ethnic German history. He commissioned several sculptors to create busts of famous individuals of his choice. Johann Gottfried Schadow's bust of Nicolaus Copernicus became one of the first completed, in 1807. Further suggestions for individuals to be honored were solicited in 1808 from Swiss historian Johannes von Müller.

By the time of Crown Prince Ludwig's coronation as King Ludwig I of Bavaria in 1825, 60 busts had been completed. In 1826 Ludwig commissioned the construction of a memorial above the Danube River, near Regensburg, modeled after the Parthenon in Athens. The southern pediment frieze features the 1815 creation of the German Confederation; the northern, scenes from the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest of 9 AD.[2] According to Pictorial Travels Continentally Described (circa 1892), the construction of the building cost £666,666.

At Walhalla's inauguration on October 18, 1842, there were 96 busts, plus 64 plaques for persons or events of which no portrait was available on which to model a sculpture. As being "of the German tongue" was the main selection criterion for the original 160 persons representing the 1,800 years of German history, the King included persons from, or who had been active in, modern-day Sweden, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland and the Baltic States.

Whereas the Valhalla of Norse mythology served as home to those gloriously slain in battle, Ludwig intended his Walhalla not only for warriors but also for scientists, writers, and clerics, and specifically included both men and women. Decades before the foundation of the modern German state in 1871, "German" was understood as "Germanic", and included Gothic, Langobardic, Anglo-Saxon, Austrian, Dutch and Swiss German figures, as well as persons who had gained fame mainly in non-German-speaking contexts.

Beginning in 1933, when Kraft durch Freude and other National Socialist organizations promoted trips to Walhalla, visitor numbers increased exponentially. In 1937, when Hitler unveiled a Bruckner bust, 131.520 were counted. In April 1945, General George Smith Patton, Jr. stood there, as men of his 3rd Army were crossing the Danube River.[3]

As successor to the King, the government of Bavaria decides on additions. Anyone may propose a name, but candidates must have died at least 20 years before becoming eligible (doubled in 1912). Only 31 busts have been added since its opening, on an irregular basis, for a total of 191, twelve of them female. A number of the additions since the Second World War are of people who had been opposed to the National Socialists, and an especially prominent place at the end of the series is allotted to Sophie Scholl, a Munich student who was executed in 1943 for her non-violent resistance to Hitler's régime.

In Munich, King Ludwig I established an additional Hall of Fame for Bavarians in 1853 – the Ruhmeshalle München. Nine of the Bavarian enshrinees have since become Walhalla enshrinees. Thus, their busts in the Ruhmeshalle, which were destroyed in 1944 during World War II, have not been recreated. Instead, a plaque with their names tells of their transfer to Walhalla. King Ludwig I himself, who commissioned the Befreiungshalle and other monuments, was also enshrined both at Walhalla and in the Ruhmeshalle.

List of people

Commemorative plaques

Statue of King Ludwig I (no. 63, 1890), builder of the hall
File:Walhalla Halle1.jpg
Fritigern, Leader of the Visigoths (second plaque from the top left)

Plaques were made for people (or acts) of which no portraits or descriptions were available to model sculptures after. The timeline spans from Arminius a.k.a. Hermann der Cherusker (born 17 BC) to watchmaker Peter Henlein, who died in 1542. In 2003 a plaque was added to commemorate well-known and unknown German Resistance fighters against Nazi Germany.

  1. Alaric I – king of the Visigoths
  2. Albertus Magnus – philosopher and theologian
  3. Alboin – king of the Lombards
  4. Alfred the Great – King of Wessex
  5. AlcuinCharlemagne's leading advisor on ecclesiastical and educational affairs
  6. Arnulf of CarinthiaHoly Roman Emperor
  7. Arnulf, Duke of BavariaArnulf the Bad, confiscated church property for defense
  8. Athaulf – king of the Visigoths
  9. Bede – monk and scholar
  10. Bernward of HildesheimBishop of Hildesheim
  11. Saint Boniface – Patron saint of Germany
  12. Adrian von Bubenberg – Swiss knight and general
  13. Clovis I – King of the Franks
  14. Julius Civilis (* 25), leader of Germanic rebellion against Rome in 69
  15. Egbert of Wessex (770–839), considered the first de facto King of England, grandfather of Alfred the Great
  16. Eginhard – historian
  17. Elisabeth of Hungary – Saint and Hungarian princess
  18. Emmeram of Regensburg – Saint
  19. Engelbert II of Berg – Saint
  20. Friediger
  21. Frederick I of Austria (Habsburg) Duke of Austria and King of the Romans
  22. Geiseric – King of the Vandals and Alans
  23. Gerhard von Rile – architect of the Cologne Cathedral
  24. Peter Henlein – inventor of the watch
  25. Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor
  26. Hengest – king
  27. Heribert of CologneArchbishop of Cologne and Chancellor of Emperor Otto III
  28. Ermanaric – King of the Ostrogoths
  29. Hermann der Cherusker – victor in the Battle of Teutoburg Forest
  30. Hermann von Salza – fourth Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights
  31. Hildegard von Bingen a German magistra,[1] monastic leader, mystic, author, and composer of music.
  32. Horsa – fifth century warrior, brother of Hengest
  33. Hrosvit – a twelfth century canoness, Latin language poet, and pioneer dramatist of Gandersheim Abbey, Lower Saxony
  34. Charles Martelthe Hammer, defeated the Arabs at the Battle of Tours
  35. Charlemagne – founder of the Holy Roman Empire
  36. Lambrecht von Aschaffenburg
  37. Leopold VI, Duke of Austria
  38. Marbod – king of the Marcomanni
  39. Mechtilde – Saint
  40. The writer of the Nibelungenlied
  41. Odoacer – chieftain of the Germanic, deposed the last Western Roman Emperor
  42. Otto II Wittelsbach, Duke of Bavaria
  43. Otto of Bamberg – canonized medieval German bishop who as papal legate converted much of Pomerania to Christianity.
  44. Otto of FreisingBishop of Freising
  45. Otto I Wittelsbach, Duke of Bavaria
  46. Pippin of Herstal, Mayor of the Palace
  47. Pippin the Younger, Mayor of the Palace
  48. Rabanus Maurus, Benedictine monk, archbishop of Mainz
  49. The three of the Rütli-Schwur (Swiss confederation)
  50. Theudelinde
  51. Theodoric I – King of the Visigoths
  52. Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths and of the Visigoths
  53. Arnold zum Turm
  54. Totila, king of the Ostrogoths
  55. Ulfilas, Gothic bishop, missionary, and translator.
  56. Veleda, prophetess of the Bructeri during the Batavian rebellion
  57. Walther von der Vogelweide, celebrated poet of Middle High German lyric
  58. Bruno von Warendorp – mayor of Lübeck
  59. Paul WarnefriedPaul the Deacon
  60. Meister Wilhelm von Köln
  61. Saint Willibrord, Northumbrian missionary, known as the Apostle to the Frisians
  62. Arnold von Winkelried, hero of the Swiss
  63. Widukind – duke of Saxony and antagonist of Charlemagne during the Saxon Wars
  64. Wolfram von Eschenbach, a German knight, Minnesinger and epic poet
  65. Widerstand – German Resistance fighters against Nazi Germany. Added in 2003


The original busts are arranged in rows by date of death, beginning with Henry the Fowler (born 876 AD) and ending with Goethe (died 1832).

Original busts (before 1847)

File:Walhalla Halle5.jpg
Marble busts No. 6-14, Mozart in the bottom center
Copernicus, by Schadow (1807, No. 52)
File:Walhalla Halle3.jpg
The fifth bust group (No. 90 to 110)
  1. Amalie Elisabeth – Countess of Hesse-Kassel during the Thirty Years' War
  2. August II the StrongElector of Saxony and King of Poland
  3. Michael Andreas Barclay de TollyRussian Field Marshal from Baltic German family of Scottish descent
  4. Ludwig van Beethoven – German composer from the classical period
  5. Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar – general in the Thirty Years' War
  6. Gebhard Leberecht von BlücherPrussian Generalfeldmarschall
  7. Herman Boerhaave – Dutch humanist and physician
  8. Gottfried August Bürger – poet
  9. Christoph, Duke of Württemberg – Duke of Württemberg
  10. Johann von DalbergBishop of Worms
  11. Hans Karl von DiebitschRussian field marshal, born in Silesia
  12. Albrecht Dürerprintmaker and painter
  13. Anthony van Dyck – Flemish painter and etcher
  14. Eberhard I. of Württemberg – Duke of Württemberg
  15. Julius Echter von MespelbrunnBishop of Würzburg
  16. Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff – poet
  17. Erasmus of Rotterdam – Dutch humanist
  18. Ernst I – Duke of Saxe-Gotha and Saxe-Altenburg during the Thirty Years' War
  19. Jan van Eyck – Flemish painter
  20. Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick-LüneburgPrussian Generalfeldmarschall
  21. Frederick I, Elector Palatinethe Victorious, Elector of the Palatinate
  22. Frederick I, Holy Roman EmperorBarbarossa
  23. Frederick II, Holy Roman EmperorStupor mundi
  24. Frederick II of PrussiaFrederick the Great
  25. Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburgthe Great Elector
  26. Georg von FrundsbergKnight and leader of Landsknechts
  27. Jakob Fuggerthe Rich, merchant in Augsburg
  28. Ernst Gideon Freiherr von Laudon – Austrian field marshal from Livonia
  29. Christoph Willibald Gluck – composer
  30. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – poet and polymath
  31. Johann Joseph von Görres – writer
  32. Hugo Grotius – Dutch jurist
  33. Otto von Guericke – German scientist and inventor
  34. Johannes Gutenberg – inventor of movable type
  35. Albrecht von Haller – Swiss anatomist and physiologist
  36. Hans von Hallwyl – Swiss commander at the Battle of Morat
  37. Georg Friedrich Händel – German baroque composer
  38. Joseph Haydn – Austrian composer from the classical period
  39. Henry the Lion – Duke of Saxony and Bavaria
  40. Henry the Fowler – Duke of Saxony and King of the Germans
  41. Johann Jakob Wilhelm Heinse – German author
  42. Berthold von Henneberg – Elector and Archbishop of Mainz
  43. Johann Gottfried Herder – German poet, critic, and theologian
  44. Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel – German astronomer and composer
  45. Hans Holbein the Younger – German painter
  46. Ulrich von Hutten – German knight and Humanist
  47. Friedrich Ludwig Jahn – German patriot and father of gymnastics
  48. Immanuel Kant – German philosopher from the classical period
  49. Archduke Charles of Austria – Austrian military commander
  50. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
  51. Charles V, Duke of Lorraine
  52. Charles X Gustav of Sweden – King of Sweden
  53. Catherine II of Russia, Catherine the Great – Tsarina of Russia
  54. Johannes Kepler – German mathematician and astronomer
  55. Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock – German poet
  56. Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor
  57. Nicolaus Copernicus – Polish astronomer, the first to thoroughly calculate a heliocentric model of the universe
  58. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – German philosopher and mathematician
  59. Gotthold Ephraim Lessing – German poet from the age of enlightenment
  60. Justus von Liebig – German chemist
  61. Paris Graf von LodronArchbishop of Salzburg
  62. Ludwig Wilhelm von BadenTürkenlouis, Imperial commander
  63. Ludwig I – King of Bavaria
  64. Maria Theresia – Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia
  65. Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
  66. Maximilian I – Prince-elector of Bavaria
  67. Hans Memling – Flemish painter
  68. Raphael Mengs – Bohemian painter
  69. Maurice of Orange – Dutch captain-general of the army of the Dutch Republic
  70. Maurice of Saxony – German commander and military strategist
  71. Justus Möser – German historian
  72. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Austrian composer from the classical period
  73. Johannes Müller (Regiomontanus) – German astronomer and mathematician
  74. Johannes von MüllerSwiss historian
  75. Burkhard Christoph Graf von Münnich – German field marshal in Russian service
  76. August Graf Neidhardt von Gneisenau – Prussian field marshal
  77. Nicholas of Flue – Swiss hermit, ascetic and mystic
  78. Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor
  79. Theophrast von Hohenheim Paracelsus – 17th century Swiss physician and alchemist
  80. Jean Paul – German humorist
  81. Max von Pettenkofer – German chemist and hygienist
  82. Wolter von Plettenberg – German Master of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword
  83. Johannes von Reuchlin – German philosopher and humanist
  84. Peter Paul Rubens – Flemish painter
  85. Rudolf I of Habsburg – German king
  86. Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter – Dutch admiral
  87. Gerhard von Scharnhorst – Prussian general
  88. Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling – German philosopher
  89. Friedrich von Schiller – German poet and exponent of Sturm und Drang
  90. Johann Philipp von SchönbornArchbishop and Prince-elector of Mainz
  91. Karl Philipp Fürst zu Schwarzenberg – Austrian field marshal
  92. Franz von Sickingen – leader of the knighthood in Rhineland and Swabia
  93. Frans Snyders – Flemish painter
  94. Karl vom und zum Stein – Prussian politician
  95. Erwin von Steinbach – German architect of the Straßburger Münster
  96. Adalbert Stifter – Austrian author
  97. Johannes Aventinus (Johann Georg Turmair) – Bavarian scholar and historian
  98. Maximilian von und zu Trauttmansdorff – Austrian diplomat that negotiated the Peace of Westphalia
  99. Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp – Dutch admiral
  100. Aegidius Tschudi – Swiss composer
  101. Peter Vischer the elder – German Sculptor
  102. Albrecht von Wallenstein – Bohemian general in the Thirty Years' War
  103. Christoph Martin Wieland – German Poet
  104. Wilhelm Graf zu Schaumburg-Lippe – Commander of his army in the Seven Years' War and for Portugal
  105. William I of Orange – Dutch leader of the Eighty Years' War for the Dutch independence from Spain
  106. William III of Orange – Dutch Stadtholder and king of England, Scotland, and Ireland
  107. Johann Joachim Winckelmann – German archeologist and art writer
  108. Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf – German religious and social reformer, bishop of the Moravian Church

Later additions (after 1847)

File:Walhalla Halle4.jpg
Marble busts No. 125-128, Sophie Scholl in the bottom center
sorted chronologically by year of addition
  1. Martin Luther (1848) – Leader of the Protestant Reformation, translator of the Bible into German; Heinrich Heine had remarked upon this omission.
  2. Josef Wenzel Graf Radetzky von Radetz (1853) – Bohemian military leader
  3. Wilhelm I (1898) – German Emperor
  4. Otto von Bismarck (1908) – Chancellor of North German Confederation and then of the German Empire
  5. Helmuth Graf von Moltke (1910) – German Generalfeldmarschall
  6. Richard Wagner (1913) – German composer of operas
  7. Johann Sebastian Bach (1916) – composer
  8. Franz Peter Schubert (1928) – Austrian Romantic composer
  9. Anton Bruckner (1937) – Austrian composer
  10. Max Reger (1948) – German composer and organist of the late romantic period
  11. Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (1959) – German physicist
  12. Richard Strauss (1973) – German composer
  13. Carl Maria von Weber (1978) – German composer
  14. Gregor Joh. Mendel (1983) – Silesian Augustinian monk and naturalist[4]
  15. Albert Einstein (1990) – physicist
  16. Karolina Gerhardinger (1998) – founder of the School Sisters of Notre Dame
  17. Konrad Adenauer (1999) – first Chancellor of West Germany
  18. Johannes Brahms (2000) – Composer
  19. Sophie Scholl (2003) – German passive resistance activist against the Nazi regime.[5]
  20. Carl Friedrich Gauss (2007) – mathematician, astronomer, and physicist[6]
  21. Edith Stein (2008) – philosopher and saint
  22. Heinrich Heine (2009) – German Romantic poet

Song for the opening of Walhalla memorial

When the memorial was opened in 1842, Joseph Hartmann Stuntz authored a poem about Germany's greatness which was set to music by Joseph Hartmann Stuntz.[7] The lyrics are:

German[8] English

Brüder vom teutschen Bunde,
Höret die Freudenkunde,
Neu erklingt der Bardengesang,
Der von je für Tugend erklang!

Brothers from the German Union,
Hear the song of joy,
Anew the bard's choir sings
And represents, as always, virtue!

Teutscher Brust entströmen Lieder,
Jubel tönt der Hörner Schall;
Und es tönt sein Echo wieder
Zur Walhalla aus dem Thal.

Songs arise from the German bosom,
The horns' sound is exultation;
And its echo reverberates
From the valley back to Walhalla.

Teutsch begrüßt er teutsche Helden,
Aus dem nah und fernen Gau,
Welche einst zu Teutschland zählten,
Hier vereint bei Weiß und Blau.

It greets, in German manner, German heroes
From areas near and far
That once belonged to Germany
And are united here by the colours White and Blue.

Dort in Walhalla's Höhen
Sollt ihr Teutschland sehen.
König L u d w i g ' s mächtiges Wort
Weihte teutscher Größe den Ort.

Aloft, where Walhalla stands,
You shall see Germany.
The mighty word of King Ludwig
Sanctified the location for German greatness.

Hier die Manen hehrer Krieger
Seien euch ein Musterbild;
Führen euch vom Kampf als Sieger,
Sind des teutschen Nahmens Schild.

The manes of noble warriors
Shall here be a role model to you;
They lead you to victorious battle
And protect the German name.

Diesen Kern aus altem Stamme,
Bei Gefahr, mein Teutschland, schau';
Dann erblüht in Kraft dein Name
Durch den Schild bei Weiß und Blau.

This is the core of our old tribes
That thou, Germany, shalt look at when in danger;
Then thy name shall blossom and become powerful
Owing to the protection granted by the colours White and Blue.

Töchter und teutsche Söhne
Pflegt auch das sanfte Schöne!
König Ludwig's mächtiges Wort
Weihte teutscher Größe den Ort.

But, German daughters and sons,
Cultivate fine arts, too!
The mighty word of King Ludwig
Sanctified the location for German greatness.

Ihr erblickt auch hier Gestalten,
Die zu Ruhm und Glanz erhob
Teutschen Geistes friedlich Walten,
Und ein Herz, werth Preis und Lob.

You will see here people, too,
Who have contributed to the glory and brightness
Of the peaceful deeds of German spirit,
And their heart worthy of encomium.

Von den Blüthen, Teutschland, pflücke
Edle Früchte jederzeit,
Dann erhebt zu vollem Glücke
Dich dein Schild für Ewigkeit!

Pick, Germany, from these blossom
At all times precious fruits,
And then thy shield will for all eternity
Elevate thee to full happiness.

See also


  • Walhalla, official guide booklet, translated by Helen Stellner and David Hiley, Bernhard Bosse Verlag Regensburg, 2002
  • Adalbert Müller: Donaustauf and Walhalla (1846) at archive.org


  1. Official Guide booklet, 2002, p. 3
  2. Official Guide booklet, 2002, p. 6
  3. Anna Rosmus Hitlers Nibelungen, Samples Grafenau 2015, p. 178
  4. Hynčice lie in Silesia.
  5. The bust of Sophie Scholl was inaugurated on February 22, 2003, the 60th anniversary of her execution. It is also intended as a representative of all the members of the Widerstand (the German Resistance against Nazi Germany), who have been honored with an additional plaque.
  6. http://www.stmwfk.bayern.de/downloads/aviso/2004_1_aviso_48-49.pdf
  7. Institute of Bavarian History
  8. Oesterreichischer Beobachter auf das Jahr 1842. Zweiter Band Juli bis Ende December. Wien: 1842, p. 1,176.

External links

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