Aristocratic Dynasties in North Rhine-Westphalia: The Princes of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg

The Princes of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, living in Berleburg Palace in Wittgenstein County, are one of the largest private forest owners in Germany. Their property covers almost 13,000 hectares of forest populated by black storks, kingfishers, white red deer, mouflon, and recently wisents, an endangered type of bison, making them unique in all of Europe.

Forestry is still the main source of income for the princely family. Living a reserved and private life in Berleburg Palace, the Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg family dynasty looks back on over 800 years of history. In honoring its inter-generational equity contract, the family has been able to live in the Baroque palace to this day. By pledging to manage the forest sustainably, it has secured the forest for its livelihood for future generations.

In this episode of “Aristocratic Dynasties in North Rhine-Westphalia”, Julia Melchior meets with the Head of the House of Sayn-Wittgenstein, Prince Richard, and his son, Crown Prince Gustav. Father and son take her on a tour of the family’s magnificent forest and its unique flora and fauna.

While the heads of the house are mostly occupied with the administration of the property, daughter Nathalie spends most her time in the horse-riding ring. As a member of the Danish national team, the successful dressage rider is training in Wittgenstein for the Olympic Games. She shares her second passion, horse breeding, with her mother Princess Benedikte of Denmark, a sister of Queen Margarethe II.

As a member of the Danish royal family, Princess Benedikte assumes numerous honorary posts in Denmark and regularly represents her sister as a regent at public events. In “Aristocratic Dynasties in North Rhine-Westphalia” Princess Benedikte speaks exclusively about her life between the Danish court and the family property in Wittgenstein.


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