The top sights to visit in Bückeburg include the palace with Schaumburg-Lippe mausoleum, the helicopter museum, and the Weser-Renaissance Stadtkirche.
The top sights to see in Bückeburg near Hanover in Lower Saxony, Germany, are the Weser-Renaissance and Baroque Schloss Bückeburg with its mews (royal stables and riding school), park, and the magnificent Neo-Romanesque Schaumburg-Lippe family mausoleum. Further highlights in Bückeburg include the Helicopter Museum (Hubschraubermuseum) and the Stadtkirche — an important early protestant Weser-Renaissance church. Bückeburg is easily reached on public transportation from Hannover.
Bückeburg in Schaumburg-Lippe
Bückeburg is a relatively small town of fewer than 20,000 in the modern German state of Lower Saxony. Its development and history were closely related to various branches of the Schaumburg noble family, who built a castle surrounded by a water moat (Wasserburg) here around 1300 and upgraded it in the mid-16th century to a four-wing palace.
Bückeburg expanded after Count Ernst zu Holstein Schaumburg decided to establish his principal residence here in 1607. The palace buildings and town expanded including the construction of the Weser-Renaissance Stadtkirche — an important example for other protestant churches in the region, including Corvey.
The County Schaumburg-Lippe was formed in 1647 and survived various family disputes, wars, the unification of Germany, the end of the monarchy, and even the Second World War as an independent state. It was forced by the British into the large federal state of Lower Saxony in 1946. With a population of around 45,000 shortly before the First World War, it was the smallest state in terms of population in the German Empire.
See also the Schaumburg-Lippe Mausoleum for more on the family and history of the region.
Bückeburg has long been an import town for military auxiliary services including a British military Hospital following the Second World War. The nearby military airfield with army aviators school largely contributed to the establishment of the helicopter museum in the center of Bückeburg. It also had an important army music school where amongst others James Last learned to play the bass.
Top Sights to Visit in Bückeburg
The top sighs to see in Bückeburg are all within the center of the old town:
- Schloss with Marstall (royal riding school and stables)
- Mausoleum of the Schaumburg-Lippe family in the Schlosspark
- Helicopter Museum
- Local History Museum
Visit Schloss Bückeburg
Schloss Bückeburg’s history goes back to around 1300 when a castle surrounded by a water-filled moat (Wasserschloss) was erected here. The current palace is still surrounded by water but visitors may freely cross the fixed bridge for a close-up look of the various wings of the complex.
The Weser-Renaissance palace of the 16th century was largely destroyed in a fire and the current four-wing palace has a mostly Baroque appearance from the 1730s. It is usually possible to walk into the large open courtyard area to see the various wings close up.
The interior is mostly in the historicist style popular during the late 19th century. It may be seen on compulsory guided tours that include the grand reception room and palace chapel. Not open is the west wing, which is still inhabited by the Schaumburg-Lippe family.
Visitors to the Schloss may also see the royal stables (Marstall) and the riding school (Fürstliche Hofreitschule) where riding demonstrations are sometimes held in the former ballroom. (Performances are usually weekends at 15:00 — additional charge.)
Most of the Schlosspark, now in an English landscape style, is always open and freely accessible.
It is worth strolling to the huge neo-romanesque Mausoleum of the Schaumburg-Lippe family. It was built in 1911-15 and only in use less than three years before the end of the monarchy. At 43 m high and 27 m wide it is the largest family mausoleum in Europe and the largest one still in private use in the world. The interior — mostly open on weekends only — is worth seeing.
See also the Schaumburg-Lippe Mausoleum for more details on this remarkable building.
Schloss Bückeburg Visitors Information
The following ticket options are available for seeing the sights associated with Schloss Bückeburg:
- Schlosspark — the palace park is free and always open
- Mausoleum — €4 (weekends only)
- Entdeckerticket — €9.50 including the palace guided tour (compulsory) and admission to the Marstallmuseum (available on weekdays only)
- Erlebnisticket — €12.50 including the palace guided tour (compulsory), admission to the Marstallmuseum, and Mausoleum (available on weekends only)
- Erlebins-BonusKarte — €22 — a product of the local tourist office including the palace guided tour (compulsory), admission to the Marstallmuseum, Mausoleum, Helicopter Museum, and a coffee with cake in the palace café. It gives a small saving but only makes sense if able to use it on weekends when the Mausoleum is open.
Helicopter Museum (Hubschraubermuseum) in Bückeburg
A surprise just a block off the historic market square with Rathaus in Bückeburg is a large glass-and-steel cube. It is part of the Helicopter Museum (Hubschraubermuseum) — the only museum in Germany dedicated to rotary-wing flight.
The museum is spread over three buildings, as space is necessary to display around 50 full-size rotary-wing aircraft (helicopters to most of us). The museum website has a comprehensive list of the single-rotor helicopters, multi-rotor helicopters, gyrocopters, and gyrodynes on display. It furthermore has many models and other related information. A helicopter simulator may be flown for around €10 per 10 minutes.
The Hubschraubermuseum in Bückeburg is open daily from 10:00 to 17:00. I tis only closed on December 24, 25, and 31, as well as on New Year’s Day. Admission is €8.50 (€4 for children 6 to 16).
The large German Tank Museum in Munster near Soltau (to the south of Hamburg, not the better-known city Münster) is similarly a large and interesting specialized museum located in a small rural town due to the proximity of a relevant army training school.
Visit the Stadtkirche in Bückeburg
The Bückeburger Stadtkirche is quite a remarkable building. This church early Protestant church, erected between 1611 and 1615 is considered one of the finest examples of non-secular Weser Renaissance architecture.
The late Renaissance, early Baroque facade features in large letters EXEMPLUM RELIGIONIS NON STRUCTURAE — An Example of Piety, Not of Architecture — with the name of the sponsor highlighted in golden: ERNST. Count Ernst of Schaumburg erected the church as part of his efforts to change Bückeburg into a glamorous residential city.
The triple-nave interior maintained late-gothic cross vaulting while the decorations are mostly Renaissance or early Baroque. It served as an example for many further churches including Corvey in the Weser Valley.
The organ box, which is in the front of the church rather than in the rear as in most older churches, is a copy of the original from 1617 that was destroyed by an arsonist in 1965. The organ itself is modern by Rudolf Janke and has 47 stops and three manuals plus pedals.
Outside is a statue of Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803), the theologian and writer who was employed here for a few years. He cooperated with Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach (1732-1795) — third son of JS — who worked in various musical posts at the court in Bückeburg his entire adult life.
The Stadtkirche is open mid-April to mid-October Tuesday to Friday from 10:30 to noon, and Tuesday to Sunday from 14:30 to 16:30. From mid-October to mid-April, the church is only open Wednesday and Friday to Sunday from 14:30 to 16:00.
See the Weser-Renaissance Stadtkirche in Bückeburg for more on this interesting church.
The small Museum Bückeburg für Stadtgeschichte und Schaumburg-Lippische Landesgeschichte describes itself fully in the title. It is the local history museum for Bückeburg and the Schaumburg-Lippe territory.
The museum covers local history from prehistory and dinosaur tracks to well-known people who worked or visited Bückeburg. A large section is dedicated to local traditional costumes (Trachten).
The museum is open year-round from Wednesday to Sunday from 13:00 to 17:00. Admission is free.
The museum is housed in the Schaumburger Hof from 1564. The nearby Weser-Renaissance town hall (Rathaus) is historicist — it was only erected in 1906.
Transportation to Bückeburg
Getting to Bückeburg is easy by car or train. The town is on the border between North-Rhine Westphalia and Lower Saxony and just off the Autobahn A2 in between Hannover and Bielefeld.
Bückeburg joined the railway line early and still has good railway connections — see Bückeburg timetables at German Railways. Direct trains to Hannover take around 45 minutes on S-Bahn train S1 or on the WestphalenBahn regional trains (Bielefeld, Minden, Hannover, Braunschweig) — both are regional trains so the same fare and state tickets (Ländertickets) are valid but only if remaining in the specific state. Travelers from other cities should usually change in either Minden or Hanover.
Bückeburg has only a few hotels but these may be pleasant options and offer good deals in comparison to those in bigger cities. Hiking, cycling, and canoeing are very popular in this part of Germany making Bückeburg a pleasant cultural stopover when traveling in the Weserbergland region.