Hoary walls made of big uncut stones joined for powerful protection and defiance: that’s how King Dagobert’s Tower greets the visitors from the centre of Meersburg Castle. With pride it bears the name of its builder, the Merovingian King Dagobert I, said to have founded the castle in the 7th century. Located high above Lake Constance, the “Meersburg” as it is called has witnessed more than one thousand years of European history: kings, emperors, bishops have added to its construction. After the Merovingians came the Carolingians, the Guelfs and Hohenstaufens and, from 1268, the prince bishops of Constance owned the castle.
No one has ever been able to take the Meersburg. In 1334, it withstood a siege of 14 weeks although the first gunpowder cannons on German territory were fired at it. The castle’s lord had seen to its safety with farsightedness and cunning, of which one can get a clear picture up to the present day.
Owing to the great expense of maintaining the Meersburg, it was put up for sale or demolition by way of tender in 1838. Since then, it has been privately owned. Ever since 1878 it can be visited as a museum on a well-explained tour. This includes the room where Annette von Droste-Hülshoff worked and died. The German poetess was a welcome guest of her sister Jenny who was married to Joseph Baron von Lassberg, the lord of the castle. Annette von Droste-Hülshoff was so enchanted by the castle and the lake that the period she spent at the Meersburg ranks high in her works. Large parts of her works edited in 1844 were written here during the winter of 1841/42 alone.