The Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm, which is largely administered by the Dessau-Wörlitz Cultural Foundation, was created in the course of the Enlightenment reform efforts of Prince Franz von Anhalt-Dessau (1740-1817). About 142 km2 of this historically unique “land beautification project” have been preserved to this day.
Castles, country houses, churches and diverse garden architecture, as well as the richly designed gardens, especially from the second half of the eighteenth century, are embedded in the meadow landscape on the Elbe and Mulde. When the Garden Realm was included in the list of world cultural heritage sites in 2000, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee recognized it as an “outstanding example of the implementation of philosophical Enlightenment principles in a landscape design that harmoniously combines art, education and business.”
The Dessau-Wörlitz Cultural Foundation emerged from the foundation established in 1918 by the Ducal House of Anhalt and the State of Anhalt. In 1994 it was reactivated as a non-profit foundation under public law. The foundation’s mission is to preserve the garden realm with its architecture, gardens and art collections and to make them accessible to the public.
The Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm administers several locations with significant collections of Dutch and Flemish art, including the famous Wörlitz Park where Schloss Wörlitz and the Gotisches Haus are situated. The Dutch baroque Oranienbaum Palace as well as Mosigkau Palace with its Rococo gardens are both located at a few kilometers distance from Wörlitz Park.