Julius Desing: Keeper of Neuschwanstein

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I recently came across this, about the man who has managed Neuschwanstein Castle for over 30 years (warning, it’s in German — but Google Translate helps). Julius Desing and his family have even lived at Ludwig II’s most famous castle, in the gatehouse. “In the gatehouse of the castle I had a living room with a height of five meters,” said Desing. How is that for a dream job?

Originally a choir director and conductor, Desing and his wife moved into the castle’s tower house (seen here in red) for a time. Desing’s children, Max and Norma-Susanne, grew up in the castle. I can only imagine how wonderful that would be — playing hide and seek in the artificial cave, dashing down vaulted hallways, performing plays in Singer’s Hall. If you’ve read about Ludwig’s life, you know that this tower house is where Ludwig briefly imprisoned officials who came to remove him from the throne back in 1886. Talk about living in the midst of history…

Desing himself often led groups through the castle, and over the years he became an expert on the reclusive king. He wrote a few books about Ludwig, both of which I’ve purchased at Neuschwanstein. I’m betting no one knows the castle (or perhaps the king) as well as this man, who has lived here for longer than Ludwig ever did.

Over the years he has worked at Neuschwanstein, Desing has seen visitors increase from 300,000 per year to almost 1.4 million today. He also has seen and heard many concerts given by musicians at the castle Ludwig intended as an homage to his own favorite musician, Richard Wagner. “Lauritz Melchior, one of the greatest Wagnerian tenors of his time, always came in short leather pants to Bavaria and has practiced on a Steinway grand piano in the picturesque Singers’ Hall – that was almost like a concert just for me alone,” Desing said. ” We enjoyed it living in such a unique environment. ”

At New Year’s Eve, the Desings enjoy climbing to the castle’s highest tower — where Ludwig once contemplated ending his life. There, they watch fireworks in the distance while enjoying a bottle of champagne.

Desing has supervised while numerous TV shows, documentaries, and films have been shot at Neuschwanstein. Around 30 productions have been filmed during his tenure at the castle.

Some of his favorite memories are of personal incidents: one Christmas Eve in the 70s, two Canadian students rang at the castle gate after it had closed for the night.  They were dressed in colorful costumes, and explained that they wanted to celebrate Christmas in the castle. “We let them in, and they had an incomparable Christmas Eve.” The Desings stayed in touch with the men for years.

2 thoughts on “Julius Desing: Keeper of Neuschwanstein

  1. This is all very interesting! He’s had an interesting life, hasn’t he?

  2. I’ll bet his wife and family are cool people. What an eclectic life they are carving out for themselves. I’d imagine they don’t spend much time in Wal Mart!

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