Report on the 2nd IZA European Summer School in Labor Economics, 1999

The excursion for this years' Summer School was to Neuschwanstein, one of the most famous Castles of the world. Here is some history for you. Between 1869 and 1886 King Ludwig II. of Bavaria had Neuschwanstein castle built on the Swan Rock, high above the beautiful Alpsee and close to the thundering waters of the 45 meter high Pöllat Gorge. The castle was designed by Eduard Riedel, the stage-painter Christian Jank and the architect Georg Dollmann. With its pointed towers, tall and slender, Neuschwanstein is a fantasy realized in stone. On May 13th 1868, the 23 year old King wrote to Wagner: "I intend to rebuild the old castle ruins of Hohenschwangau by the Pöllat Gorge in the genuine style of the old German knightly fortresses... the spot is one of the most beautiful that one could ever find." The 5-story castle, built in Romanesque style using the Wartburg castle as a model, is, with its many scenes from Wagner´s stage-world, the embodiment of a romantic, medieval castel. Lohengrin and Tannhäuser, the Song Contest (in the Wartburg), Parzival´s Grail and many other heroes and sages of the German middle ages come miraculously of life on the walls of Neuschwanstein. On 9th June 1886 a State Commission traveled to Hohenschwangau to remove the King. 3 days later, King Ludwig II made his last journey from Neuschwanstein to Castle Berg. On 13th June, Ludwig was found drowned under mysterious circumstances in the Starnberger Lake. The summer school took an afternoon visit to this extremely picturesque part of Germany. Following a tour around the Castle which included some breathtaking views, we explored the grounds and then headed for some traditional Bavarian food and Beer. A good time was had by all!