Dream or nightmare? Pleasure or burden? Baron hermann von rotenhan says: "inheriting a castle is both a pleasure and a blessing." Picturesque "like gamooln", they say in the habberge – lies the sandstone ensemble of the eyrichshof in the wiesengrund near ebern. The autumn sun makes the oriels and towers shine golden and the dew in the garden glitter like a thousand diamonds. The 52-year-old lord of the castle stands in the fireplace room and adds logs. The open fire gives warm comfort to the hall that could serve as a historic film set. A light blue book lies on the table. Rotenhan, who as a young man did an internship at the "coburger tageblatt" because journalism was a career option at the time, has now become an author in a roundabout way. He tells of the "stone heritage. "Fur marquard" is written at the very front of the book… Von rotenhan: my brother marquard was only a little younger than me. We had a free, wonderful childhood. He was always the unknown, a creative tinkerer.
He died in a car accident. I felt compelled to dedicate this book to him.
You studied law before coming back to ebern to take over eyrichs-hof. Was that a moral obligation as the oldest child??
No, my parents knew that it is useless to force a child, but that it takes two things to take on such a heritage: the desire for the task and the aptitude for it.
Let’s start with lust: did you want to follow your father as a child??
No. There were phases when i liked muller geheiben and had a father who worked at kugelfischer. When asked about my father’s job, I didn’t really know what to say: he takes care of fields, forests and the castle?
Would they like to be like everyone else?
Yes, because as a "castle child somehow he was always an outsider. Also because we spoke high german at home and not french… After my time at the boarding school in salem, i was drawn to the world. The desire to return to eyrichshof only arose later on.
What tipped the scales?
The 700 year old house has its own magic. The spirit of our ancestors is in the walls, in the wood, in everything. Above all, the signature of my great-great-grandmother is unmistakable. Sometime during my studies, even before my parents bought a small castle near eisenach to live in, i knew: i want to and can take over the inheritance.
What qualities do you need to be a lord of the castle??
Above all, one must be able to live and sleep with debts! And it’s good to have the courage to try something new and to create new sources of income for the business.
Because the forest does not yield enough?
Climate change is currently taking its toll on the forest. With the "classical" ones income sources forestry and renting such a family property is not sustainable.
That is why you have become an "event baron" become.
Exactly. In 2004, I began to offer garden exhibitions. We have converted stables into stylish, modern spaces for festivities. And there were big concerts with artists like anastacia, silbermond, sportfreunde stiller, nena, wolfgang ambros, konstantin wecker…
Then came corona – and with it a year of virtually no income from events. How did you survive?
Luckily my wife ana is the first "mistress of eyrichshof", who works as a freelancer and earns money in the literal sense of the word with her own work: as a pediatric dentist in her munich practice. That’s good, because from my side this year there was not much in the budget.
Where does your family live?? In munich or in eyrichshof?
We commute. On weekdays, ana, our three school-age children and i are currently mainly in munich, on weekends in eyrichshof.
On weekends there will be five of us living in this huge castle?
There are still two tenants in the castle and the adjoining buildings are also occupied. But yes: compared to the past, the house is pretty empty.
Do your two children from your first marriage have a connection to eyrichshof??
Yes, you were here often and regularly, but you live in vienna. If you ask about a possible successor: every child should develop in such a way that it becomes happy. Of course, I hope that one of my children will continue to run eyrichshof. I am optimistic that this will also happen.
In other noble houses, the motto is: better to close off than to open up. You, on the other hand, write in your book "steinernes erbe" ("stone heritage") very open about a rough part of your family history.
We are a family like any other, except that we live in a castle and that history and tradition perhaps have a somewhat higher priority. The theme of the book brought it with it "my world" – and me – to open. In my opinion, this is the only way to create authenticity and a book worth reading. I think opening up is basically a good thing. Compared to the past, a lot has changed positively, old fears of contact have disappeared. What should be bad about it?
What do you want – for yourself and for eyrichshof??
Almost two years after I started my first book, I know that besides the creativity and the joy of writing, there is also a lot of effort in each book. Nevertheless, I would like to write a second – sometime a novel or short stories. However, it would be good if soon the events – with or after corona – and the forestry business would start again to earn money for the upcoming tasks: a new roof, debt service, own family…
In the book, they write dryly that they are trying to ensure that the family’s own ruins – rotenhan and raueneck – are not joined by a third…
Exactly. I don’t want to be the loser who leaves the "stone heritage" behind messed up! INFO:
"Steinernes erbe":erzahlendes, personliches sachbuch von hermann von rotenhan, 188 seiten, farbfotos, allitera-verlag, ISBN 978-3-96233-246-4, 19,90 euro