Tourism, residential and cultural area at the Blue Castle
“For a long time, when the children were out of the house, we had the plan to realise ourselves with a joint project. We looked for 2-3 years, initially rather in the north, for a historical building with a lot of history. Then we came across Thuringia, also because Thomas was born here. In fact, the first place that appeared on the internet was Tannroda Castle. Despite less information, the pictures lured us in and we were already here for a visit. This beautiful place with its silence and aura captured us right away. We felt the magical effect on us. It was our soul place. That’s how it is, it was a gut decision.”
Dr. Anje and Thomas Bähr
Eine Familie from Hanover
wanted to set up a foundation in 2017 and buy Tannroda Castle.
An interview with Dr. Anje and Thomas Bähr.
How would you describe Tannroda Castle? What is your vision for the castle and your work here?
T. Bähr: Our motto is, despite all the obvious problems, to always rather see the potentials that want to be discovered here. And we found these in three main areas: Tourism, housing and culture. A hostel with 20 rooms will be built, which will be original and sophisticated. In addition, there will be the “Gastraum Heinrich”, which already opened in November 2019. In parallel, living quarters for staff and our family are being built. This in turn forms the basis for the third focus, the seminar business for physiotherapy. We were also encouraged by the conceptual orientation of the Weimarer Land region and the local tourism industry. It shows us how sustainable our ideas are. With gastronomy and accommodation, we want to be a reliable part of the offer along the Ilmtal cycle path. As early as 2020, together with the WeCamp project, we will offer overnight accommodation in beautifully equipped tents on the castle grounds. These will be bookable online and by telephone.
What measures have you started to take to conquer the old building? And how will it continue?
Dr. A. Bähr : Our first measure was to move from Hanover to Tannroda in December 2017. That was a wildly romantic camping feeling at 4° C, without water and functioning heating. But it was very important to us to show people that we were serious about our plans. The first big step was to find a flat for our employee, who wanted to move to Tannroda with us from Hanover. She is the one who prudently keeps everything running as far as the surroundings of the castle are concerned. In the meantime, she knows almost all the people in town and was integrated most quickly. That helps us a lot. Thomas and I, we took care of the (big) bureaucratic hurdles so that we would be perceived as investors here. Purchase contract, subsidies, coordination of the measures and last but not least the establishment of the Tannroda Castle Foundation. We give our heritage to the foundation and want to inspire people, sponsors and the municipality to join us in mastering the huge financial effort of the restoration.
It all started with the opening of the first new section, the small restaurant at the castle, the Heinrich guest room.
T. Bähr: Over the years, the places that create identity in rural areas have become fewer and fewer. The castle in Tannroda was such an important place where people met. We were driven to think about what form of community we want to experience here in the village.
We want to get into conversation with the people of Tannroda and let the castle grow together, think together about what the castle can be for Tannroda in the future. From culture to the village shop, many things are important. The Heinrich guest room is a first meeting place for this exchange and at the same time a gastronomic offer for residents and guests. We were inspired for this approach by the nationwide initiative “Talking to each other”, among others.
How do you organise everyday life between Hanover and Tannroda? Will the Weimarer Land become your home in the foreseeable future?
Dr. A. Bähr: Thomas is still working in Hanover and comes to Tannroda at weekends. I am away in Hanover for about 4 days a month. However, our residence is at Tannroda Castle.
The grounds and the castle complex are a “mammoth project” whose completion is a long way off. A legacy for your children?
Dr A. Bähr: Our two children are integrated in the Foundation. Of course, they are still young in their early 20s and have to go out into the world and find themselves. However, they have already considered Tannroda as their future place of residence.
Where do you see yourself and the castle in 5 years, in 20 years?
T. Bähr: In 5 years, the hotel and gastronomy will be up and running. But the seminar business will also be running. If we still think a little boldly, there will be a regular cultural programme in the “Blue Castle” at the castle by then. The important thing is that by then we will have found responsible tenants who are keen on our joint adventure. We both create spaces and opportunities that others can fill and use as a chance. In this way, we can also give the next generation opportunities to help shape the future. We have fixed our values in the foundation and whoever supports this can shape a great piece of the future here together with us.
Dr. Anja Bähr:
Somatherapist – Psychosomatic Physiotherapy in Bad Berka/Tannroda
Civil engineer; born in Mühlhausen/ Thuringia
DO YOU WANT TO INVEST IN THE FUTURE?
Then you have come to the right place.
With its central location in the middle of Germany, our tourism and economic region Weimarer Land offers many opportunities and ideal conditions for domestic and foreign investors. We look forward to working with you to find new development opportunities and to realize ambitious, forward-looking projects.