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The Walhalla is a hall of fame for "laudable and distinguished Germans" resp. "famous personalities in German history – politicians, sovereigns, scientists and artists" "of the German tongue", housed in a neo-classical building above the Danube River east of Regensburg, in Bavaria, Germany. It was conceived in 1807 by Crown Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria, when he had become King, and was built between 1830 and 1842 by the architect Leo von Klenze. The Walhalla hosts about 65 placques and 130 busts of persons, covering 2000 years of history; as the oldest person honored is Arminius, victor in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in the year 9.
By 1806, Napoleon's First French Empire had annexed German lands along the Rhine and the North Sea, and Central German states formed the Confederation of the Rhine, which sided with Napoleon. As a result of this, Emperor Francis II formally dissolved the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and styled himself Austrian Emperor instead. The War of the Fourth Coalition pitted German forces on both sides, and Napoleon prevailed once again.
In 1807, 20-year-old Crown Prince Ludwig I of the Kingdom of Bavaria, newly elevated by Napoleon, had the idea to remind all Germans of common heritage, of great figures and events in ethnic German history. He ordered several sculptors to create busts of famous persons of his choice, and Johann Gottfried Schadow's bust of Nicolaus Copernicus was one of the first to be finished, in 1807. For further advice, Ludwig contacted Swiss historian Johannes von Müller in 1808.
By the time of King Ludwig I's coronation in 1825, 60 busts had been completed. In 1826, he commissioned a temple above the Danube near Regensburg, modeled after the Parthenon in Athens. The southern pediment frieze features the 1815 creation of the German Confederation; the northern shows scenes from the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.
On the Walhalla's inauguration on October 18, 1842, there were 96 busts, plus 64 plaques for persons or events of which no portrait was available on which to model a sculpture. As being "of the German tongue" was the main selection criterion for the original 160 persons representing the 1,800 years, the King included persons from or active in modern-day Sweden, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland and the Baltic States.
Whereas the Valhalla of Norse mythology was home to those gloriously slain in battle, Ludwig's Walhalla was intended not only for warriors but also for scientists, writers, clerics and specifically also for women. Decades before the German Empire was founded in 1871, "German" was understood as "Germanic," since Gothic, Langobardic, Anglo-Saxon, Dutch and Swiss German figures were included, as well as persons who had gained fame mainly in other countries or for non-German governments.
As successor to the King, the government of Bavaria decides on additions. Proposals may be made by anyone, but only persons who have been dead at least 20 years are eligible (this had been doubled in 1912). Only 31 busts have been added since, on an irregular basis, for a total of 191, twelve of them female.
In Munich, an additional Hall of Fame for Bavarians was established in 1853 — the Ruhmeshalle München. Nine of the Bavarian enshrinees have since been made Walhalla enshrinees. Thus, their Ruhmeshalle busts, which were destroyed in 1944 during World War II, have not been recreated. Instead, a plaque with their names tells of their transfer to Walhalla. Additionally, King Ludwig I, who also commissioned the Befreiungshalle and other monuments, is enshrined both at Walhalla and the Ruhmeshalle.
List of persons
Plaques were made for persons (or acts) of which no portraits or descriptions were available to model sculptures after. The timeline spans from Arminis a.k.a. Hermann der Cherusker (born 17 BC) to watchmaker Peter Henlein, who died in 1542. In 2003 a plaque was added to commemorate well-known and unknown German Resistance fighters against Nazi Germany.
- Alaric I - king of the Visigoths
- Albertus Magnus - philosopher and theologian
- Alboin - king of the Lombards
- Alfred the Great - King of Wessex
- Alcuin - Charlemagne's leading advisor on ecclesiastical and educational affairs
- Arnulf of Carinthia - Holy Roman Emperor
- Arnulf, Duke of Bavaria - Arnulf the Bad, confiscated church property for defense
- Athaulf - king of the Visigoths
- Beda Venerabilis - monk and scholar
- Bernward of Hildesheim - Bishop of Hildesheim
- Saint Boniface - Patron saint of Germany
- Adrian von Bubenberg - Swiss knight and general
- Clovis I - King of the Franks
- Julius Civilis (* 25), leader of Germanic rebellion against Rome in 69
- Egbert of Wessex (770–839), considered the first de facto King of England, grandfather of Alfred the Great
- Eginhard - historian
- Elisabeth of Hungary - Saint and Hungarian princess
- Emmeram of Regensburg - Saint
- Engelbert II of Berg - Saint
- Frederick I of Austria (Habsburg) Duke of Austria and King of the Romans
- Geiseric - King of the Vandals and Alans
- Gerhard von Rile - architect of the Cologne Cathedral
- Peter Henlein - inventor of the watch
- Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor
- Hengest - king
- Heribert of Cologne - Archbishop of Cologne and Chancellor of Emperor Otto III.
- Ermanaric - King of the Ostrogoths
- Hermann der Cherusker -, victor in the Battle of Teutoburg Forest
- Hermann von Salza - fourth Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights
- Hildegard von Bingen a German magistra, monastic leader, mystic, author, and composer of music.
- Horsa - fifth century warrior, brother of Hengest
- Hrosvit - a twelfth century canoness, Latin language poet, and pioneer dramatist of Gandersheim Abbey, Lower Saxony
- Charles Martel - the Hammer, defeated the Arabs at the Battle of Tours
- Charlemagne - founder of the Holy Roman Empire
- Lambrecht von Aschaffenburg
- Leopold VI, Duke of Austria
- Marbod - king of the Marcomanni
- Mechtilde - Saint
- The writer of the Nibelungenlied
- Odoacer - chieftain of the Germanic, deposed the last Western Roman Emperor
- Otto II Wittelsbach, Duke of Bavaria
- Otto of Bamberg - canonized medieval German bishop who as papal legate converted much of Pomerania to Christianity.
- Otto of Freising - Bishop of Freising
- Otto I Wittelsbach, Duke of Bavaria
- Pippin of Herstal, Mayor of the Palace
- Pippin the Younger, Mayor of the Palace
- Rabanus Maurus, Benedictine monk, archbishop of Mainz
- The three men of the Rütli-Schwur - Swiss confederation
- Theodoric I - King of the Visigoths
- Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths and of the Visigoths
- Arnold von Thurn
- Totila, king of the Ostrogoths
- Ulfilas, Gothic bishop, missionary, and translator.
- Veleda, prophetess of the Bructeri during the Batavian rebellion
- Walther von der Vogelweide, celebrated poet of Middle High German lyric
- Bruno von Warendorp - mayor of Lübeck
- Paul Warnefried - Paul the Deacon
- Meister Wilhelm von Köln
- Saint Willibrord, Northumbrian missionary, known as the Apostle to the Frisians
- Arnold von Winkelried, hero of the Swiss
- Widukind - duke of Saxony and antagonist of Charlemagne during the Saxon Wars
- Wolfram von Eschenbach, a German knight, Minnesinger and epic poet
- Widerstand - German Resistance fighters against Nazi Germany. Added in 2003.
Original busts (before 1847)
- Amalie Elisabeth – Countess of Hesse-Kassel during the Thirty Years' War
- August II the Strong – Elector of Saxony and King of Poland
- Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly – Russian Field Marshal from Baltic German family of Scottish descent
- Ludwig van Beethoven – German composer from the classical period
- Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar – general in the Thirty Years' War
- Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher – Prussian Generalfeldmarschall
- Herman Boerhaave – Dutch humanist and physician
- Gottfried August Bürger – poet
- Christoph, Duke of Württemberg – Duke of Württemberg
- Johann von Dalberg – Bishop of Worms
- Hans Karl von Diebitsch – Russian field marshal, born in Silesia
- Albrecht Dürer – printmaker and painter
- Anthony van Dyck – Flemish painter and etcher
- Eberhard I. of Württemberg – Duke of Württemberg
- Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn – Bishop of Würzburg
- Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff – poet
- Erasmus of Rotterdam – Dutch humanist
- Ernst I – Duke of Saxe-Gotha and Saxe-Altenburg during the Thirty Years' War
- Jan van Eyck – Flemish painter
- Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg – Prussian Generalfeldmarschall
- Frederick I, Elector Palatine – the Victorious, Elector of Palatinate
- Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor - Barbarossa
- Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor – Stupor mundi
- Frederick II of Prussia – Frederick the Great
- Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg – the Great Elector
- Georg von Frundsberg – Knight and leader of Landsknechts
- Jakob Fugger – the Rich, merchant in Augsburg
- Ernst Gideon Freiherr von Laudon – Austrian field marshal from Livonia
- Christoph Willibald Gluck – composer
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – poet and polymath
- Johann Joseph von Görres – writer
- Hugo Grotius – Dutch jurist
- Otto von Guericke – German scientist and inventor
- Johannes Gutenberg – inventor of movable type
- Albrecht von Haller – Swiss anatomist and physiologist
- Hans von Hallwyl – Swiss commander at the Battle of Morat
- Georg Friedrich Händel – German baroque composer
- Joseph Haydn – Austrian composer from the classical period
- Henry the Lion – Duke of Saxony and Bavaria
- Henry the Fowler – Duke of Saxony and King of the Germans
- Johann Jakob Wilhelm Heinse - German author
- Berthold von Henneberg – Elector and Archbishop of Mainz
- Johann Gottfried Herder – German poet, critic, and theologian
- Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel – German astronomer and composer
- Hans Holbein the Younger – German painter
- Ulrich von Hutten – German knight and Humanist
- Friedrich Ludwig Jahn – German patriot and father of gymnastics
- Immanuel Kant – German philosopher from the classical period
- Archduke Charles of Austria – Austrian military commander
- Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
- Charles V, Duke of Lorraine
- Charles X Gustav of Sweden – King of Sweden
- Catherine II of Russia, Catherine the Great – Tsarina of Russia
- Johannes Kepler – German mathematician and astronomer
- Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock – German poet
- Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor
- Nicolaus Copernicus – catholic canon born in Thorn, overthrew the Ptolemian school of thought
- Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – German philosopher and mathematician
- Gotthold Ephraim Lessing – German poet from the age of enlightenment
- Justus von Liebig – German chemist
- Paris Graf von Lodron – Archbishop of Salzburg
- Ludwig Wilhelm von Baden - Türkenlouis, Imperial commander
- Ludwig I – King of Bavaria
- Maria Theresia – Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia
- Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
- Maximilian I – Prince-elector of Bavaria
- Hans Memling – Flemish painter
- Raphael Mengs – Bohemian painter
- Maurice of Orange – Dutch captain-general of the army of the Dutch Republic
- Maurice of Saxony – German commander and military strategist
- Justus Möser – German historian
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Austrian composer from the classical period
- Johannes Müller (Regiomontanus) – German astronomer and mathematician
- Johannes von Müller – Swiss historian
- Burkhard Christoph Graf von Münnich – German field marshall in Russian service
- August Graf Neidhardt von Gneisenau – Prussian field marshall
- Nicholas of Flue – Swiss hermit, ascetic and mystic
- Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor
- Theophrast von Hohenheim Paracelsus – 17th century Swiss physician and alchemist
- Jean Paul – German humorist
- Max von Pettenkofer – German chemist and hygienist
- Wolter von Plettenberg – German Master of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword
- Johannes von Reuchlin – German philosopher and humanist
- Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen – German physicist
- Peter Paul Rubens – Flemish painter
- Rudolf I of Habsburg – German king
- Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter – Dutch admiral
- Gerhard von Scharnhorst – Prussian general
- Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling – German philosopher
- Friedrich von Schiller - German poet and exponent of Sturm und Drang
- Johann Philipp von Schönborn – Archbishop and Prince-elector of Mainz
- Karl Philipp Fürst zu Schwarzenberg – Austrian field marshall.
- Franz von Sickingen – leader of the knighthood in Rhineland and Swabia.
- Frans Snyders - Flemish painter.
- Karl vom und zum Stein – Prussian politician.
- Erwin von Steinbach – German architect of the Straßburger Münster.
- Adalbert Stifter – Austrian author.
- Johannes Aventinus (Johann Georg Turmair) – Bavarian scholar and historian.
- Maximilian von und zu Trauttmansdorff – Austrian diplomat that negotiated the Peace of Westphalia.
- Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp – Dutch admiral.
- Aegidius Tschudi – Swiss composser
- Peter Vischer the elder – German Sculptor.
- Albrecht von Wallenstein – Bohemian general in the Thirty Years' War.
- Christoph Martin Wieland – German Poet.
- Wilhelm Graf zu Schaumburg-Lippe – Commander of his army in the Seven Years' War and for Portugal.
- William I of Orange – Dutch leader of the Eighty Years' War for the Dutch independence from Spain.
- William III of Orange – Dutch Stadtholder and king of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
- Johann Joachim Winckelmann – German archeologist and art writer.
- Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf – German religious and social reformer, bishop of the Moravian Church.
Later additions (after 1847)
- sorted chronologically by year of addition
- Martin Luther (1848) – Leader of the Protestant Reformation, translator of the Bible into German
- Josef Wenzel Graf Radetzky von Radetz – Bohemian military leader
- Gregor Joh. Mendel – Silesian Augustinian monk and naturalist
- Wilhelm I (1898) – German Emperor
- Otto von Bismarck – Chancellor of North German Confederation and then of the German Empire
- Richard Wagner (1913) – German composer of operas
- Johann Sebastian Bach (1916) – composer
- Franz Peter Schubert (1928) – Austrian Romantic composer
- Anton Bruckner (1937) – Austrian composer
- Max Reger (1948) – German composer and organist of the late romantic period
- Helmuth Graf von Moltke – German Generalfeldmarschall
- Richard Strauss (1973) – German composer
- Carl Maria von Weber (1978) – German composer
- Albert Einstein (1990) – physicist
- Karolina Gerhardinger (1998) – founder of the School Sisters of Notre Dame
- Konrad Adenauer (1999) – first Chancellor of West Germany
- Johannes Brahms (2000) - Composer
- Sophie Scholl (2003) - German passive resistance activist against the Nazi regime. 
- Johann Carl Friedrich Gauß (2007) – mathematician, astronomer, and physicist
- Edith Stein (2008) – philosopher and saint
- Heinrich Heine (2009) [dead link]
- Walhalla, official guide booklet, translated by Helen Stellner and David Hiley, Bernhard Bosse Verlag Regensburg, 2002
- Adalbert Müller: Donaustauf and Walhalla (1846) at archive.org
- ^ a b Official Guide booklet, 2002, p. 3
- ^ Official Guide booklet, 2002, p. 6
- ^ Official Guide booklet, 2002, p. 31
- ^ Hynčice lie in Silesia.
- ^ The bust of Sophie Scholl was inaugurated on February 22, 2003, the 60th anniversary of her execution. It is also intended as a representative of all the members of the Widerstand (the German Resistance against Nazi Germany), who have been honored with an additional plaque.
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