Aristocratic Dynasties in North Rhine-Westphalia: The Counts of Beissel von Gymnich

Burg Satzvey, a moated castle in Mechernich in the Voreifel and the residence of Count Beissel von Gymnich and his family, has been the site of staged knights games, children’s theater and mediaeval Christmas markets for over 30 years. Thousands of visitors travel to Satzvey Castle each year to experience the magic of a childhood dream full of brave knights in shining armor and noble damsels in flowing dresses.

Yet when Count Franz Josef Beissel von Gymnich and his American wife Jeanette first organized their knights games at Satzvey Castle in the early 80s, they were secretly ridiculed by the German aristocracy: A Hollywood spectacle at the traditional seat of a blue-blooded family? Mediaeval markets and jousting tournaments? But success would finally prove them right. With professionally staged plays, the family Beissel von Gymnich successfully preserves and maintains the property.

As part of the “Aristocratic Dynasties in North Rhine-Westphalia” series, Julia Melchior visits the Counts of Beissel von Gymnich at Satzvey Castle. Countess Jeannette Beissel von Gymnich takes us on a tour of the property and grants insights into her daily life between romantic mediaeval castle and modern event marketing. She describes how she assumed her role as the Lady of the House and the obstacles she had had to overcome in the process. As a trained advertising expert, she has primarily driven the marketing of the knights games and majorly contributed to transforming Satzvey Castle into a national attraction.

In historical retrospectives, the film takes us through the fascinating family history of the Count Beissel von Gymnich. It reveals how the family’s ancestors were involved in a “sex scandal at Grunewald Castle” in 1891. The film also shows as yet unreleased private film material of the family that go back to the 40s. The head of the house Count Franz Josef Beissel von Gymnich speaks about his childhood at the castle, the challenge of assuming the family legacy, and what finally sparked the initiative to organize the first knights games in Germany.

Length 1 x 45'
Year 2012
Genre Dokumentation
Format 16:9 HDTV
Director Sebastian Dehnhardt
Boadcast WDR