We visited a French-style Baroque chateau near Solothurn during the second year of the “Schweizer Schlössertag” (The Swiss Castle Day), which took place on the first Sunday of October. That day eighteen Swiss castles offered visitors a varied program and other interesting activities. Schloss Waldegg was no exception.
How to get there
Schloss Waldegg is located near the town of Solothurn, in the village of Feldbrunnen-St.Niklaus. From the center of Solothurn it´s half an hour walk (well, according to the map we didn´t try it :)). Right next to the castle there is an unpaid parking lot.
A bit of history
The chateau was built as the summer residence of the Solothurn patrician family of Johann Viktor von Besenval and his wife Marie Margarita von Sury. At the time of the French Revolution, the Waldegg Chateau served as a haven for commander Peter Viktor von Besenval, who was born here and was involved in the Revolution. When the family of Besenval was extinct, the castle was abandoned until Joseph von Sury von Besenval bought it in 1865.
The new owner rebuilt the garden of the original French style with Italian elements, to the English park. At present, its form has returned to the original French style.
In 1963, the chateau moved under the Waldegg Chateau Foundation and in 1975 became the headquarters of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue, an organization that promotes understanding between the different languages and cultures of Switzerland. After extensive renovations and repairs that have been underway since 1985, there was a museum opened in 1991. This attracts visitors to the Baroque-style salons and oil paintings, documenting the former everyday life of the then inhabitants. *
The chateau is a Swiss monument of national importance and is also a cultural and conference center where many interesting events are held.
The Swiss Castle Day
One of the events was the “Schweizer Schlössertag” – the day of Swiss castles. At the Waldegg Chateau, a program for children was set up – a crazy scientist, with her time machine, guided small visitors through the history of the castle and its inhabitants.
I must say that the tour was a huge success with our children. I’m very happy with this type of kid´s tours because I think the “classic” tour wouldn´t have been so much fun, but thanks to this tour they could learn something new in a fun way.
A visit to the castle can be combined with a tour of the city of Solothurn (I definitely recommend guided tours organized by the local tourist office), or walk through the “Verenaschlucht“(Verena Gorge) – the path that leads to the hermitage and the chapels among the rocks.