The Kaiserhaus – a non-imperial residence of the Habsburgs
“I inspected the house we are supposed to live in and must admit quite openly to you that I find it as uninhabitable for the present time as it is incapable of any practical improvement.” This sentence was written by Empress Maria Ludovica to her spouse Emperor Francis I after having been shown, in June 1813, the new quarters for the annual imperial family sojourn in Baden. The protest was in vain. The princely Esterházy Palais on Hauptplatz designed for Nicholas II by the French architect Charles de Moreau became the Kaiserhaus. Francis I ordered its purchase “for my usage” and spent practically every summer there until his death in 1835.
The house attained international historical significance in the First World War, when the Army High Command of the Imperial and Royal Monarchy was stationed in Baden from 1917 to 1918 and Kaiser Karl I – Emperor Charles – commanded his army from the first floor of the Kaiserhaus. Afterwards the Kaiserhaus, like the Sleeping Beauty in the fairy tale, lapsed into a state of hibernation.
Today the revitalised palais shines out in new brilliance, and the imperial apartment on the bel étage functions as an illustrious ambience for temporary exhibitions.