A Brief History of the Palace
Documents indicate that a palatial country estate built along an east-west axis on the promontory called Arenenberg and located between Ermatingen, Mannenbach, and Salenstein has been around since at least the middle of the 15th century.
Arenenberg was a “Constance Estate,” in other words, under the ownership of different patrician families from that venerable city who had taken up residence in Thurgau.
In 1817, Johann Baptist von Streng sold the family property to Hortense de Beauharnais who was dwelling in Constance at that time.
Hortense had the late gothic palace rebuilt in the empire style by the Constance master builder John Baptist Wehrle from 1817-1820. She completely redesigned Arenenberg in the French fashion. Even the interior was decorated with wallpapers, furniture, statues, and paintings commemorating Napoleon I.
After the death of Hortense, her son Louis Napoleon sold the palace in 1837.
In 1855, he repurchased the estate as Emperor Napoleon III.
Out of gratitude, Eugénie donated the manor to the Canton of Thurgau in 1906. The Canton has been managing the palace grounds with the Napoleon Museum and the BBZ (Educational and Advisory Center) since then.
The Napoleon Museum Thurgau at Arenenberg Palace and Park, which was founded in 1906, is the only museum in the German-speaking realms dedicated to Napoleonic history. Just like in the past, it continues to be an open, friendly house in which today’s visitors feel as welcome as if they were the guests of Hortense.
Short portrait of Arenenberg Castle here (in German)