Museum of the Thirty Years´ War
The Thirty Years´ War ranges among the epoch-making confrontations in the history of Europe. This conflict, which involved the whole of central Europe, supported the modern process of state formation in such a way that it is justified to describe it as the beginning of a new period in early modern history. Its duration, its intensity and the social changes caused by that left their mark in the collective memory of large parts of the population until today, most of all in Germany. At first sight, the manifold intertwinement of political, denominational and economic factors, especially in a European context, and their long-term effects give the picture of a fascinating albeit rather impenetrable complex dynamism. Maybe this is why an interest in the Thirty Years’ War, far beyond the world of science, can still be noticed today.
The war was especially long and cruel in the north of Brandenburg and in parts of Mecklenburg and Pomerania. Right in the centre of this region, not far from the city of Wittstock, Swedish and Imperial and Saxonian troops clashed in a bloody battle on the 4th of October, 1636. The magnificent victory over the allies not only opened the way for the Swedish army back to central Germany but also secured the denominational status quo in Northern Germany. The victory at Wittstock was an essential condition for the continuation of the war, which was dragged on until the peace of exhaustion negotiated in Münster and Osnabrück in 1648.
Therefore the Thirty Years´ War, the region of Ostprignitz, the battle and - last but not least - the city of Wittstock with its historical buildings are part of the ideal background for the set-up of Europe’s first Thirty Years´ War Museum. The Bishop’s Castle from the late Middle Ages with the remains of its walls and with its impressive tower, which was occupied and ruined time after time by several armies in the course of the war, is the perfect environment of a permanent exhibition, the centre of which is the soldiers’ and civilians’ life and suffering during the war. The museum has got seven floors where different aspects of this are presented.