Königswinter Drachenburg Castle has been a blaze of bright colours again since Friday evening. The organisers want to beat last year’s visitor numbers, when 16,400 visitors came.
Drachenburg Castle has been lit up again. The old walls high above Königswinter have been bathed in mystical shades of red and violet since Friday evening, while the arches of the doors and windows shine in an intense yellow. It almost looks as if the city landmark is on fire. In fact light artist Wolfgang Flammersfeld has ignited a veritable firework of colours for the fifth edition of the “Castle Lights”. And the best thing is that the fireworks do not fizzle out, but continue to light up. The magic of the lights will enchant visitors for another four weekends.
Colourful flowers that bloom in the middle of winter, letters that shower the walls, ghostly faces that float spookily in space, flying light houses that tell fairytales - Flammersfeld has again come up with imaginative ideas to showcase the castle and park. Three of his light installations are being premiered in Königswinter and have not been seen before at any other project by the artist, who is active throughout Germany.
In the music room, Flammersfeld makes individual rays from a light beam visible using a smoke machine and mirrors. In the reception hall, he has not only blended in a bookshelf from a well-known Swedish furniture manufacturer using a matching colour, but the individual compartments also have an exciting life of their own. And in the art gallery, visitors can witness a fantastic optical illusion: three geometric figures installed one behind the other appear from a distance to merge into one.
All the rooms in the castle shine in a special light and can be visited during the Castle Lights. For example, the “Sequin Man” in the boudoir provides a wow effect: the ceiling, walls, floor and furniture all glitter as if they were covered in diamonds. Those wanting to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the spectacle can do so from the 36 metre high north tower. Those fit enough for a second ascent can also climb the 130 steps up to the main tower during the Castle Lights. This is home to strange water creatures that one would not normally expect to find high up but rather deep below sea level: grinning fish, for example.
You also feel somehow unreal and touched by fairytales when walking through the castle park. Talking light houses floating above the ground tell the tale of the “Three Little Pigs” – an experience especially for young visitors. “Yesterday, lots of children stood amazed and wide-eyed in front of them,” says Alexandra von dem Brinke, who is in charge of the planning and organisation for the event, smiling. The way back to the castle is through a spooky alley. It almost seems as if the icy breath of Hans Christian Andersen’s “Snow Queen” has frozen the trees under a white layer of frost.
Fortunately, the sleet forecast for Friday evening did not arrive and so despite the unpleasant weather on the opening day, crowds flocked up to the castle and the Nibelungen Halle, which is also part of the light spectacle. On Saturday there were even more people who wanted to see the Castle Lights.
“Experience has shown that it increases even more from weekend to weekend,” says von dem Brinke. There were 16,400 visitors in 2018 – a number that they would naturally like to reach again this year. The Castle Lights can be viewed until the end of February.
(Original text: Gabriela Quarg. Translation: kc)