The Freundeskreis emerged in 1993 from a small informal circle with the objective of making Benrath Palace a cultural focal point of the south of Düsseldorf and thus also preserving, promoting and raising public awareness of the value of this unique monument. From this nucleus, the association "Freunde Schloss Benrath e.V." (Friends of Benrath Palace) was founded in 1994, which exclusively and directly pursues charitable purposes.

On January 29th, 1994, the resolution on the articles of association was passed, on September 21, the entry at the Düsseldorf District Court was made, and on November 30th, 1994, the first statutory general meeting and election of the board of directors took place. Excerpt from the minutes: "Through its activities, the association will primarily promote public appreciation of the entire ensemble and help secure its value as an indispensable cultural asset. "

The thirteen founding members paid a one-time contribution of 100,- DM each. The membership fee was 50,- DM. With a starting capital of 1950,- DM the association took up its statutory task of the idealistic and material promotion of art and culture for Schloss Benrath. This included museum education, music events, readings, lectures and monument conservation.

On January 27th, 1995, the then head of the cultural department of the city of Düsseldorf, Mr. Grosse-Brockhoff, suggested that the castle and the association should act together. The personnel and financial bottlenecks of the palace, but also the limited resources of the Friends, made a particularly close, division of labor on both sides necessary in the initial phase.

With the establishment of the independent Benrath Palace and Park Foundation on March 3rd, 2000, a reorientation of the Circle of Friends became necessary and possible. Tasks that had previously been carried out by the Friends of the Palace can now be performed by the Foundation itself. This gave the Circle of Friends greater freedom in shaping its own objectives in terms of non-material and material support for Benrath Palace and Park. As part of an amendment to the statutes, the Circle of Friends was renamed "Freunde Schloss und Park Benrath e.V." (Friends of Benrath Palace and Park) in 2005, in analogy to the Foundation.

Fifteen years later, the result is impressive. The number of members rose from 13 founding members to more than 250. Through strong membership recruitment and a good volume of donations, a personnel and material basis was created that enables a diverse program, first coordinated with the then curator Dr. Inge Zacher and today with the foundation directors Stefan Schweizer and Nicolas Maas.

On November 11th, 2009, the general meeting decided to merge with the association "Rettet Torhaus und Ostflügel von Schloß Benrath e.V.". This increased the number of members to a good 300. The new association was given the name "Vereinigung Freunde Schloss und Park Benrath e.V.". Since then, the charitable goals for the benefit of the ensemble 'Schloss und Park Benrath' have been pursued with joint strength.

Click here to visit the website of the "Vereinigung Freunde Schloss und Park Benrath e.V.".