Dagstuhl Castle was built around 1760 in the town of Wadern, in southern Germany. Situated in lush, vibrant forest surrounded by hills and a sprawling village, the castle has a long and fascinating history.
The town of Dagstuhl began with a great fortress, built in 1290, remnants of which can still be seen to this day. In the 1700’s, Count Josef Anton began investing heavily in the town, transforming it into a bustling cultural and aristocratic community. Under his guidance, order and cleanliness guidelines came into place, establishing such modern concepts as annual chimney and safety inspections, the building of permanent homes, crop rotation and “freehold” farmers who owned the land, and a garbage disposal system.
Under Count Josef’s rule, Wadern grew into a commercial center whose fabric industry, nobility, and justice system enjoyed widespread fame.
Count Josef even built his own brewery, to provide an endless supply of beer for his legendary parties and celebrations. The brewery remains can still be seen today!
Ownership of the castle has changed hands many times over the centuries, but one of it’s most famous residents was the “Painting Countess,” Octavie De Lasalle, who renovated the chapel and took it upon herself to personally paint the interior. It took her 40 years to complete the work, and her fame grew in the meantime as she also produced beautiful works in her artist’s cottage, built in the old fortress remains. To this day, many of her paintings can be seen in museums across the area, always signed with her initials O.v.L.L., or a tiny red robin.
For many decades the castle was owned by a third Order of Franciscan nuns, who expanded the grounds and renovated it to create a residential home for the elderly. Eventually they left the castle and moved into town, to a building near the hospital in Wadern, and the state Government of the Saarland took over ownership of the property. With help from the Rhineland-Palatine Government, they converted Schloss Dagstuhl into the International Research Center for Computer Science, which continues to host conferences and groups from across the globe.