The neo-classical country seat of Princess Louise of Anhalt-Dessau today appears as the most idyllic of all the grounds laid out between Dessau and Wörlitz. The intimate rooms and cabinets of the delightful house with their fine stucco decorations and wall paintings are largely originally furnished.
Between 1774 and 1778 Prince Franz of Anhalt-Dessau commissioned Friedrich Wilhelm von Erdmannsdorff to build a modest house (»Schloss«) as a private retreat for his wife Louise. In 1780, house and gardens were named »Luisium« after her.
The cubic building crowned by a belvedere is a typical example of Erdmannsdorff’s architecture. The harmonious exterior is mirrored by the small, functional rooms inside. The rooms of the first floor in particular are painted elegantly in the neo-classical style and are decorated with stucco. The decoration reveals the influence of Pompeian wall paintings. The ground floor contains a splendidly furnished Banqueting Hall, whose ceiling decoration characterises the house as a »Temple of Female Virtues«.
The building is surrounded by an English-style landscape garden (14 hectares – c. 35 acres). It contains a number of neo-gothic and neo-classical garden architectures like the »Schlangenhaus« (lit. the „Snake House”, after the shape of its gutters), the Orangery, the Gate Houses and the Ruined Arch, which are embedded into the surrounding water-meadow landscape. The garden, which is divided in two by a central avenue, also contains economically used parkland where fruit and vegetables were grown.
To create a visual connection with the ornamented garden closer to the house, a neo-gothic building, the Stud Farm, was erected between 1779 and 1781 in the surrounding pasture and meadow land (35.6 hectares – c. 88 acres) which is divided by several long avenues and used like an »ornamental farm«. Part of the scenery is a mixed herd of livestock, which can still be found there today to evoke an Arcadian impression.
A vista leads from the house towards the church in Waldersee, which is crowned by a striking obelisk. Its tower contains the tomb with the remains of the princely couple.
The Luisium is the part of the Garden Kingdom that suffered most during the devastating floods in 2002. Thanks to the support offered by the Federal Government and the Länder, all damage could subsequently be repaired.