Welcome to Friends of the Humboldt Castle Burgörner-Hettstedt

Humboldt Castle in Burgörner

Humboldt Castle in Burgörner was the home of young Wilhelm von Humboldt. He grew up in Berlin and studied in Göttingen. In 1791 he married Caroline von Dacheröden and the young couple lived in Burgörner for a number of years, before Wilhelm was appointed as the Prussian ambassador to Rome. At the time, the castle in Burgörner was in the possession of Caroline’s father next to another site in Auleben near Nordhausen. The site remained in the possession of the Humboldt family until the middle of the 19th century.

Caroline and Wilhelm von Humboldt were close friends to interesting people of their time like Schiller and Goethe. This puts Burgörner Castle firmly on the map of German Idealism and the Romantic movement. Weimar, Jena and Bad Lauchstädt, where Goethe acted as theatre producer, are within 100 km of Burgörner. In Wiederstedt, 5 km down the road, was the birthplace of Friedrich von Hardenberg, better known as the poet Novalis.

Wilhelm von Humboldt was recognized as an important statesmen and researches during his lifetime. He was part of the Prussian delegation to the Vienna Congress after the Napoleonic Wars. He is known as the founder of the central Berlin university and as the reformer of the education system in Prussia. The Humboldt family is even better known internationally through the achievements of his younger brother Alexander von Humboldt, who explored South and Central America with the eye of the modern scientist. Unfortunately there is no proof that Alexander ever visited Burgörner, but it his very likely that he maintained close contact to his brother during this time.

Burgörner is located at the heart of the Mansfeld copper mining region, which gained in importance during the early industrialization at the end of the 18th century. The first German steam engine was installed near the castle and it was used to pump water from the mines. Caroline and Wilhelm von Humboldt witnessed these early industrial development and they talk about it in their letters. The following two centuries brought enormous growth to the industrial activity around the castle. This history is documented by the Mansfeld Museum, which occupies most of the castle today. The history of the Humboldt family is documented in an exhibit on the second floor of the castle.

The German Humboldt Society, based in Mannheim, honored the importance of the building in May 2011. On this occasion, the building was officially rechristened to “Humboldt Schloss”, documented by a plaque next to the entrance. Burgörner Castle, together with Auleben and Berlin-Tegel, is one of the essential places in Germany, where the life and work of Wilhelm von Humboldt can be traced.

Today the hamlet of Burgörner is part of the city of Hettstedt, whose name is closely linked to the Mansfeld mining tradition. While the mining itself had to explore deeper and more southern geographies approaching the city of Sangerhausen, Hettstedt remained the location for copper milling to this date. The city and landscape are defined by heavy industry. The achievements of the region were recognized by the VDI, the Association of German Engineers, who erected a monument to the first German steam engine at the original site.

The Friends of Humboldt Castle are working to preserve the legacy of the Humboldt family in the area of Hettstedt. We are in close cooperation with the City of Hettstedt, the county Mansfeld-Südharz and the German Humboldt Society. We are open to contributions of all kinds, please get in touch.

This website is under continuous review and reconstruction, please visit again.