Feldbrunnen-St. Niklaus, SO show Website
Beautifully located in a recreational area near Feldbrunnen-St.Niklaus near the historical centre of Solothurn and the Verena Gorge, Waldegg Castle has a glamorous history. It was built during the 17th century by the patrician family von Besenval and used as a summer residence complete with Baroque gardens, an orangery and a kitchen garden. The lavishly furnished castle museum gives insight into Solothurn's glory days, when the city was home to the ambassadors of the king of France.
Schloss Waldegg - experience nature and culture
Among the many country estates maintained by Solothurn's patrician families, Waldegg Castle is the largest and most beautiful. Two tree-lined roads lead up to the manor and its Baroque gardens. Built as a summer residence by Johann Viktor I von Besenval between 1682 and 1686, Canton Solothurn gained ownership of Waldegg Castle in 1963. Since 1991 the manor is open to the public and serves as a museum and cultural centre. Visitors can rest or enjoy a stroll in the idyllic courtyard with its 300-year old linden trees, the Baroque gardens as well as the orangerie and kitchen gardens. The museum with its richly decorated salons and its paintings and furniture from the 17th to 19th centuries still illustrates the lavish French-style culture of Solothurn's ruling families.
Glamorous evidence of Solothurn’s patrician families
Hosting the embassy from the 16th to the 18th centuries, Solothurn played a key role in the cultural, political and economic relationships between the Old Confederacy and the Kingdom of France. Many of the city’s ruling families acquired considerable wealth and power during this time. An impressive testament to the good fortunes of patrician families whose influence was based on their close relationship with the French court, Waldegg Castle was built as a summer residence by the von Besenval family in 1686. This gorgeous country house combines French and Italian elements with the strict architectural style of a Solothurn "Türmlihaus" [turret architecture].
1865 Joseph von Sury-Bussy bought the property and had the former summer home converted into a permanent residence. In 1963 Canton Solothurn was able to acquire the castle through the generosity of the siblings Marguerite, Charles and Victor von Sury-Bussy as a trust under public law and the castle was extensively restored between 1985 and 1991.
Ambassadors and patricians in Solothurn
Newly installed in 2013 the museum's permanent exhibition "Who is pulling the strings? Ambassadors and patricians in Solothurn" covers an important topic in the city’s history and shows how the French ambassadors and the city’s ruling élites fought for power and influence but also profited from each other - before their eventual downfall. Some of the highlights at the castle are an audio installation and two mechanical theatres that illustrate the relationship between France, the old Confederacy and Solothurn. Equipped with a key, children can explore the castle and discover interesting and amusing details locked away in special drawers for them to find. In addition an audio-visual guide offers further insight into the history of the castle and its former residents.
A social and cultural centre
Guided tours, special exhibitions and lectures illustrate the castle's history and cultural events such as a Baroque opera, a school theatre week and various concerts attract many visitors every year. In addition, the gardens, the barn, the orangery and main courtyard can be booked for private events.
Verena Gorge and hermitage, Solothurn's weekly market, bike rides along the River Aare
A visit to Waldegg Castle is ideally combined with a short trip to the Verena Gorge and the hermitage nearby. On a hot summer’s day, a stroll through the shady forest provides a peaceful and quiet break from daily life. On Saturday mornings a visit to the city’s charming market is highly recommended. Moreover, a bike trail leads along the River Aare from Solothurn to Biel, past the stork's nests in Altreu and the former cultural and natural landscape called "Witi" in Grenchen. Solothurn is also a great starting place for a boat tour on Lake Biel.
The museum is open from 1 April to 31 October. It is closed on Mondays and Fridays.
- Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday: 2 - 5 pm
- Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm
The opening hours also apply to the gardens.
Guided tours outside the opening hours are available on request.
From 1 November to 20 December:
Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm
General public holidays: 2 - 5 pm
Closed Easter Sunday, Labour Day, Pentecost Saturday
- Adults: CHF 6.-
- Apprentices and students: CHF 4.-
- Senior citizens / military: CHF 4.-
- Family (1 or 2 adults with children up to age 16): CHF 10.-
- as from 10 people: CHF 4.- per person
- Children up to age 7
- Schools accompanied by their teachers
- Swiss Museums Pass and Raiffeisen Member Cards
- Admission to the café and the garden
There is a barbecue area not far from the castle.
Dogs are not allowed on the castle grounds.
The museum and Baroque gardens are wheelchair accessible.
Take the train to Solothurn, central station, and then either:
- Take the train to Solothurn, central station, and then either:
- Bus no. 4 to Rüttennen, get off at: St. Niklaus SO; approximately 10 minutes' walk to the castle (via St. Niklaus church)
- Take the Solothurn-Niederbippbahn (Bipperlisi) to Langenthal, get off at: Feldbrunnen; 15 minutes' walk to the castle
- Bus no. 1219 to Balm b. Günsberg, get off at: Feldbrunnen Bahnhof, 15 minutes' walk to the castle
By car to Solothurn, then follow signs to Feldbrunnen-St. Niklaus via St. Niklausstrasse. Waldegg Castle has its own public car park.
- Take the new cable car up to Weissenstein
- Cycle path along the River Aare, ideal for family outings
- Walk through the historical town centre of Solothurn
- Solothurner Megalithweg [Solothurn megalithic trail]: circuit trail to 13 erratic blocks (starting point: Schloss Waldegg).
- By boat from Solothurn to Biel