Trautenfels Castle

The History of Schloss Trautenfels

Historisches Darstellung (Kuperstich) des Schloss Trautenfels, das auf einem Hügel steht. Unterhalb davon sind viele Häuser und ein See mit Bäumen. Darüber steht der alte Name von Schloss Trautenfels "Neuhaus im Ennstall 1649" Historisches Darstellung (Kuperstich) des Schloss Trautenfels, das auf einem Hügel steht. Unterhalb davon sind viele Häuser und ein See mit Bäumen. Darüber steht der alte Name von Schloss Trautenfels "Neuhaus im Ennstall 1649"


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Middle Ages

1261: First mentioned in the records as Burg Neuhaus (castrum novum [= new castle] in the Enns Valley).

1282: Burg Neuhaus passed into the possession of the Archbishop of Salzburg by way of exchange for Burg Strechau. The castle was reconstructed after having been reconquered and destroyed in battles against the Duke of Styria at the end of the 13th century.

1460: Wolfgang Praun of the Hallinger family (= influential leaseholders of the brine boiling pans), who was appointed as pfleger (ruler of the castle), is expressly described as Herr (Lord) of Neuhaus in the records.

1493 - 1594: The ownership of the castle passed to the Hoffmanns who were one of the most powerful and wealthy Styrian noble families as well as staunch and hugely influential supporters of the Protestant faith. Neuhaus developed into a centre of the Reformation in the Enns Valley. The castle was duly extended.

1574: The Hoffmanns erected an Evangelical Church that was demolished by the Reformation Commission as early as 1599. Located within 20 minutes’ walking distance towards the Grimming mountain, the foundations of the church, which were excavated in 1992, now serve as a memorial to commemorate those turbulent times.

1594/1600 to 1652: The Protestant Praunfalk family was initially holder of pledge and later owner of Neuhaus before going into exile to Nuremberg on religious grounds.


Fotografie von einer Kirchenruine. Nur noch die Grundmauern stehen. Im Hintergrund sind Bäume und ein blauer Himmel mit Wolken.



1664: Count Siegmund Friedrich von Trauttmansdorff acquired the building, converted and refurbished it, naming it Trautenfels. Carpoforo Tencalla painted the high-quality frescoes on the second floor and in the castle’s chapel around 1670, while Alessandro Sereni created the stuccos. The Trauttmansdorffs owned the castle until 1815.



The 19th century

1878: Count Josef Lamberg finally bought the property after the castle had changed hands several times. His wife Anna’s dowry, daughter of Steyr-based armaments manufacturer Josef Werndl, together with his own fortune, enabled him to renovate the rather neglected castle and furnish it comfortably.

An old wedding photo. The bride wears a dark dress and holds a large bouquet of flowers. The man is standing behind there and is wearing a dark suit. They both smile very slightly.



Old photograph of Trautenfels Castle. The castle stands in front of the Grimming mountain. The photo is coloured yellow.
Schloss Trautenfels with Grimming, around 1872


photograph of a room with a fireplace. There are antlers and a painting on the wall. There are plants everywhere
Schloss Trautenfels, large atrium with hunting-lodge furniture, 1901


 Photograph of a large hall. Many paintings hang on the walls. There are statues and large wooden furniture in the room.
Schloss Trautenfels, Marble Hall, 1901


Hunting room of the Lord of the Castle

Antler furniture was in fashion in the 19th century. Count Josef Lamberg had
the hunting room furnishing done by a craftsman from the region. It is particularly striking because of its careful, mosaic-type workmanship.

The 20th century

1904: After the Count’s death, his widow Countess Anna Lamberg-Werndl managed the estate. During the interwar years, however, growing economic problems began to severely affect the castle’s proper maintenance.

1941: With the help of her four adult children, Countess Anna Lamberg-Werndl sold the castle to German Reichspost. Due to the war however, the planned training centre for executive staff, including the international centre for communications engineering and the European Post Association were never realised.

1945: After the collapse of National-Socialist rule, the British Occupation Forces in Austria ran the Germanowned building. During the first post-war years, the castle served additionally as temporary accommodation for up to 300 refugees. Subsequently, the Republic of Austria became owner of the building complex.

1950: The Styrian Youth Hostel Association moved into the castle, using the rooms on the ground floor, intermediate floor and third floor.

Black and white photograph of Trautenfels Castle. In the foreground is a lake. The sky is cloudy.


1951: The Province of Styria rented the representation rooms on the first floor of the building and commissioned Karl Haiding to develop a museum for the District of Liezen. Prior to special exhibitions, he collected objects and documentation on the topics of beekeeping and gingerbread making, forestry and timber and Alpine pasture farming in Styria.

Haiding, Karl (1906-1985); during the Nazi era, the Folkloristics expert held a high post, amongst others, in the Amt Rosenberg. Cf. Mindler Ursula, “…although I hadn’t made any concessions at all and my colleagues must have been aware of my pan-German attitude…” Notes on Karl Haiding (1906-1985). In: Österreichische
Zeitschrift für Volkskunde, NS Volume LXIV, No.2
(2010), p.179-202. (Available in the shop).

A large part of the folkloristic collections at Museum Trautenfels is owed to Karl Haiding’s commitment. From 1955 on, he shaped the Museum’s concept – his activities prior to 1945 and his involvement in National Socialism remained unmentioned for a long time. This led to a debate in the media at the beginning of the 21st century, followed by an academic discussion on Haiding himself and his legacy.

1959: The Republic of Austria sold Schloss Trautenfels together with its grounds for a token sum of 750,000 Schilling, “donating” it, as it were, to the Youth Hostel Association on the condition that the new owner would be obliged to renovate the bastions. That renovation work was carried out from 1960 to 1962.

The Heimatmuseum was officially opened on 9th August as a local museum for the District of Liezen and as a department of the multidisciplinary museum Joanneum (founded by Archduke Johann in 1811).

In 1971, Schloss Trautenfels was renamed “Landschaftsmuseum Schloss Trautenfels” and since 2011, the Museum Department is called Schloss Trautenfels. The permanent exhibition continued as a Landschaftsmuseum.


Utilisation and general renovation

 A man with a hat pulls a handcart on which wrapped objects lie. In the background one sees mountains and forests.
Karl Haiding collecting museum objects, Pichl Kainisch, 1957


A black and white photograph. On the right of the picture is a man giving a speech. On the left, adults are sitting and standing and listening to the speaker. Some of the audience are wearing traditional clothes.
Grand museum opening: Univ. Dr. Hanns Koren declares the Heimatmuseum open on August 9th, 1959


Black and white photograph of a wall. Various museum objects (mainly shovels) and photographs are attached to it.
Exhibition room in the Heimatmuseum. Objects for fishing and a collection of plough blades, 1962


 Black and white photograph of a group of people. They are standing and looking at a man who is speaking. Many are wearing traditional costumes, there is one child.
Opening of the special exhibition "Styrian Salt", 1975


A black and white photograph of young people, in a courtyard. One group is in the foreground on the left, another continues to sit on a staircase.
Guests of the youth hostel in the front courtyard, 1970


Photograph of a construction site. On the right side are tools and hoses. In the middle, a man sits on a red vehicle in a ditch.
Construction work on the intermediate floor, 1991


 Photograph of Trautenfels Castle. There is scaffolding on the castle walls. On the roof there are workmen who are redoing the roof. Parts of the roof are already light brown with new shingles, parts are still dark brown with old shingles.
Schloss Trautenfels, south façade, October 1984


1982: Despite the youth hostel’s high popularity (up to 30,000 overnight stays per year), growing financial problems and urgently required repairs to the roof, façade and interiors resulted in the hostel’s closure. The boarding school for agriculture and forestry, which had been housed in some parts of the building complex since 1969, relocated to Gröbming.

A Rescue Committee for Schloss Trautenfels formed around Museum director and initiator Volker Hänsel and the Verein Schloss Trautenfels association was constituted in December 1983. Regional politicians supported the preservation of Schloss Trautenfels as a “national and international cultural centre with a museum for the District of Liezen”.

1983: The municipality of Pürgg-Trautenfels purchased the castle for a token sum of one Schilling with the aid of the Province of Styria. The municipality then leased the castle to Verein Schloss Trautenfels, which aimed to renovate and maintain the castle as well as to promote and support the Landschaftsmuseum Joanneum.

1984–1989: In order to literally “rescue the castle from dilapidation”, urgently needed renovation work to the roof, façade and windows were funded and implemented through subsidies and donations.

Modern architecture by Manfred Wolff-Plottegg

Photo of a concrete and metal staircase in a narrow wooden tower
Tower staircase


White staircase with metal banister. Two columns in the foreground
Staircase in the great atrium


Photograph of a room with a vaulted ceiling. Frescoes in bright colours are painted on the ceiling.
Frescoed room


1990–1992: Schloss Trautenfels was chosen to stage the Styrian Provincial Exhibition Lust und Leid. Barocke Kunst, barocker Alltag (Joy and Sorrow. Baroque Art, Baroque Life). The necessary funding for the building’s total renovation and a modern infrastructure concept for the Museum and exhibition area was released. The castle’s complete refurbishment was planned and implemented in 20th century-style by architect Manfred Wolff-Plottegg in collaboration with the Federal Monuments Office and the clients.

Planning was based on 1) what renovation and restoration work the building demanded, 2) what was necessary for a new utilisation, and 3) what had been developed in the design from an architectural perspective, i.e. “building in existing structures”. The building’s entire accessibility and circulation concept for visitor flows leads from the entrance hall through the Felsengang (rock corridor) to the second main staircase with an elevator up to the stairwell in the watchtower, and finally to the exit area with the new exit gate located near the eastern terrace. Additional individual interventions include the ticket office in the entrance hall, new sanitary facilities, and the roofing of both atria and separation thereof from the new seminar area. The entire building was equipped with a building envelope-related temperature control system and its sanitary and electrical installations were renewed. Exterior extensions include an in-house workshop whose greened roof now additionally facilitates a walkabout around the castle.

1992: Layers of colour began to emerge in the course of renovation work on the intermediate floor. From 1997 to 1999, those 16th century murals were uncovered. The so-called “frescoed room” was then made accessible to the public.

1994: The municipality of Pürgg-Trautenfels let Schloss Trautenfels to the Province of Styria – Landesmuseum Joanneum.

1998: Opening of the new Landschaftsmuseum featuring 13 topical rooms arranged in the form of a kaleidoscope presenting the cultural and natural history of the Styrian Enns Valley and Ausseerland.

The 21th century

2006–2007: Woodland on the castle hill was cleared, revealing the whole complex with its impressive bastions and the castle’s base wall masonry, and thus restoring a historically significant situation.

2007–2010: A large section of the south-western bastion collapsed, leading to a structural investigation of the entire wall and subsequent closure of the access road for safety reasons – necessitating the construction of a temporary access road. Following funding approval by the Provincial Government of Styria in 2009, a comprehensive restoration was undertaken, and structural security established by means of self-supporting ground anchors in order to preserve the historical building fabric, ultimately. By night, outdoor lighting additionally accentuates the historical building as a visual landmark.

Since an approximately 30-metre section of Schloss Trautenfels’s bastion wall was in acute danger of collapsing, the access road alongside the wall had to be closed as of Christmas 2007. In the course of investigations, it was established that the entire bastion wall was in an extremely bad state of repair, which would entail developing an overall renovation plan. Following funding approval given by the Provincial Government of Styria, comprehensive renovation work commenced in July 2009 and ended in early summer 2010.

European Patent, EP2141287: A new structural system was provided by absorbing the earth pressure behind the retaining wall. This was carried out by filling load distribution cavities with mortar to form a load distribution body that was firmly anchored by means of ground anchors. In that way, loads other than its own weight were removed from the existing structure, thus enabling its preservation.

2015: In the course of the communal structure reform, the municipalities of Pürgg-Trautenfels and Stainach merged to form Stainach-Pürgg, which now possesses Schloss Trautenfels. The new municipality lets the building to Universalmuseum Joanneum, which is responsible for the maintenance and administration of the building. The whole castle is used as a museum and for cultural events and is accessible to visitors in its entirety, including the watchtower.

As a stunningly multifaceted location of art and culture whose collections encompass more than 40,000 artefacts, Schloss Trautenfels, a department of Universalmuseum Joanneum, stands for the history, culture and natural environment of the District of Liezen. Discussions on specific regional topics lead to contexts on a national and international level.

Renovations in the 21st century

 Castle wall with many broken stones and broken spots.
Collapse at the south-western bastion, spring 2009


 Castle wall with scaffolding
Renovation work on the south-west bastion, summer 2009


An excavator is standing in front of the castle entrance and pipes are being laid.
Excavation work in the front courtyard, autumn 2009


Aerial view of the castle courtyard where paving stones are being laid.
Paving work in the front courtyard, 2010


Freshly renovated wall and painted castle building.
South side. Bastion wall with outbuilding after the renovation, 2010


Freshly renovated wall with the castle in the background.
South-western bastion after the renovation, 2010


Photography of Trautenfels Castle in front of Mount Grimming



Trautenfels Castle

History of Schloss Trautenfels

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