Wilhelm II never intended to turn Haut-Koenigsbourg into his own
personal residence, and he never actually slept there. At the same
time, he wanted to do more than just stop the castle ruins from
falling into even greater disrepair, so he ordered that the castle
be completely restored. He took a very close interest in the
project and visited the site every year.
His vision was an ambitious one. He wanted to bring the age of
knights in armour back to life and create a museum of the Middle
Ages. To attract visitors, he intended to bring the château back to
the height of its glory, as it would have been around about the
year 1500. Right from the start, opening the château to the public
and developing the castle as a tourist attraction were an integral
part of the restoration project. There were also political reasons
behind the restoration of the castle. This new property gave
Wilhelm II an excellent opportunity to legitimize his control of
Alsace, which had been annexed in 1871.
The goals of the project
The Kaiser's goals were simple: to literally set in stone the
idea that Alsace was and would always remain German territory. New
construction projects in Strasbourg (the place de la république,
the Gallia building and the main building of the university of
Strasbourg, the palais universitaire) together with the restoration
of the château du Haut-Koenigsbourg were an
integral part of this vision.
Moreover, carving his coat of arms on the restored main entrance
together with that of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, was a way
of staking his claim to be the legitimate successor to this
prestigious emperor, who had once owned the château.
The castle became a symbol of the western borders of his empire,
in the same way that the castle of Marienburg (Malbork), now in
Poland, used to symbolize its eastern frontiers.