Mannheim Baroque Palace, historical photograph of the main courtyard

Citizens take over the palaceThe end of the monarchy

On November 9, 1918, the republic was proclaimed, including in Baden and Württemberg. The monarchies abdicated and democracy began in Germany. At the same time, many residential palaces were turned into museums and public spaces.

Portrait of Grand Duchess Stéphanie von Baden, first half of the 19th century, replica by Schmitt of François Gérard, likely the court painter of Karlsruhe

Stéphanie von Baden was the last inhabitant of the palace.


At the beginning of the 20th century, Mannheim Baroque Palace had long since ceased to be a residence and seat of government. In 1778, Carl Theodor, then still a count palatine and prince-elector of the Palatinate left Mannheim and moved to Munich due to his inheritance of the Bavarian Electorate. In 1802, the residence of the Electoral Palatinate became the property of the House of Baden. As the dower house of Stéphanie von Baden, the palace had a noble inhabitant in the bel étage one last time. After the death of the grand duchess, the palace changed completely and became the headquarters of many officials. Not only the Commission for Navigation on the Rhine, but also the High Court of Baden and the regional and local court were housed here.


Although Mannheim Palace was no longer a seat of government, it became a target for unrest at the beginning of 1919. During a demonstration in February, workers' and soldiers' councils proclaimed a soviet republic in Mannheim. Some of the speakers demanded specific action: Up to 1,000 demonstrators stormed Mannheim Palace and destroyed the officials' rooms over the course of several hours. They also opened the jail cells in the cellar and freed both political prisoners and criminals. The proclamation of the soviet republic was revoked by the rulers from the house of Baden in the following days. The tradition of museums in Mannheim Palace began in 1926, when a palace museum was opened to the public.

Barockschloss Mannheim, Historische Aufnahme Hofbibliothek um 1897
Barockschloss Mannheim, Historische Aufnahme Detail Hofbibliothek um 1897

Historical photograph of the magnificent library in the eastern wing of Mannheim Baroque Palace.


Many palaces had not been used by the old ruling families as residences or even government seats for 100 years. The transformation had started long ago: as museums or tourist attractions, as archives or administrative centers. With the end of the monarchy, this transformation became permanent. Only those palaces that were part of the former rulers' private estates remained in their possession. All other palaces became property of the state and many have remained worthwhile sites, managed by the State Palaces and Gardens of Baden-Württemberg.