The area to the east of the Elbe, which is now known as HERRENKRUG, was in the possession of the Magdeburg Councilmen around 1600. The grounds were heavily forested and were used for grazing and for the production of timber and hay.
When a keeper’s hut was built in 1676 to protect against poachers, the area received its first documented mention. The keeper’s hut served primarily as an inn. The councilmen were constant guests at the inn and enjoyed the tasty beer from the Magdeburg breweries, pitcher after pitcher (=Krug). Within a short time, therefore, the name HERRENKRUG soon became common parlance.
The Herrenkrug made a name for itself with a thriving cattle and sheep business and the accompanying dairy.
In 1806, Napoleon’s troops invaded Magdeburg. All business ceased in Herrenkrug Park, the inn became derelict, was torn down in 1813 on order of the French governor, and replaced with a hunting lodge. During a night-time raid by highwaymen and poachers, hundreds of sheep and cattle were stolen and countless number of the most beautiful trees were dug up.
It was only after the withdrawal of the French in 1814 that life gradually returned to the HERRENKRUG. The governing mayor of Magdeburg, August Wilhelm Francke, commissioned the design of a parkland. From 1818 onwards, well-known persons such as Friedrich Wilhelm Wolff, Peter Joseph Lenné, Paul Niemeyer and Gottlieb Schoch worked on the design of the HERRENKRUG Park over the course of 100 years.
The hunting lodge was also torn down. In its place, Wolff built a classicist society building. Roaring balls and cheerful parties were held here. The HERRENKRUG evolved increasingly into a popular place for excursions, characterised by its tavern and a lively social life.
In 1857 an ice cellar was built for the dairy, which served to cool the milk products. In winter the ice cellar was filled with ice from the Elbe for the purpose of keeping cheese and curd fresh.
The City of Magdeburg developed into an industrial hub, the population grew rapidly, and thus also the desire for relaxation and diversion. In 1886 the tram route to the HERRENKRUG went into operation, carrying crowds of nature-loving Magdeburg citizens to the park. Very soon, the society house could no longer manage the crowds of recreation-seekers.
Planning began for the park restaurant, which opened in 1887. The dairy no longer exists. The old wooden ice cellar was replaced by one made from stone, which now served to store beer and meat.
Soon not even the park restaurant could deal with the onslaught of guests. In 1904 the HERRENKRUG Ballroom was expanded. There were 12.000 seats during the heyday of the HERRENKRUG, in the buildings and parklands.
With the exception of some bomb craters in the park, the HERRENKRUG survived the Second World War undamaged. However the grounds were subsequently used for military purposes, and “occupied” for 45 years by the Soviet army.
The years of the DDR regime left a powerful mark on the HERRENKUG. The historic buildings were defaced with plain cladding. The grounds fell into disrepair due to a lack of maintenance and investment. The magnificent society house was demolished without reason at the end of the 1950s.
After the fall of the Wall, the decline came to an end in 1990, when a Hamburg architect searched eastern Germany for a suitable property to convert into a hotel. He decided that the HERRENKUG was worth rebuilding. After 4 years of planning, investment and construction, funded by 33 private shareholders, the HERRENKRUG Parkhotel was opened on 1 September 1994.
Over the years the HERRENKRUG Parkhotel gained an excellent reputation throughout Germany as a seminar and conference hotel and for weekend trips.
In the summer of 2002 the HERRENKRUG Parkhotel fell victim to the flooding of the Elbe for the first time. That resulted in its closure for 4 months for the purpose of renovation. In spite of the view that such a flood is unlikely to be repeated, a comprehensive flood protection plant was installed in 2006 to meet the water levels of 2002, plus 20 cm.
However, the next “once in a lifetime” came in June 2013, and exceeded the 2002 levels by 74 cm, which meant that all barriers were useless. The HERRENKRUG Parkhotel suffered even more damage. The ground floor, with 17 hotel rooms, was flooded, as was the entire wellness area, the hotel foyer with reception and bar, the Telemann Room with its sanitary facilities, the park restaurant DIE SAISON with its winter garden and kitchen, the Otto-von-Guericke Room, the parklands with BBQ and drinks pavilion, two cellar floors with old storage rooms, cooling cells, gas and heating plants, the swimming pool, telephone and fire alarm systems, the laundry and all offices. Restoration work took 9 months.
Since November 2014, the Herrenkrug Parkhotel has a mobile flood protection barrier that surrounds the hotel in a ring with a diameter of 536 m. In the event of a flood warning, 220 supporting pillars and 1,500 panels will be installed. In "good times" the foundation of the flood protection can be detected only as a surrounding strip on the ground, a mere 20 cm wide.
Many, many loyal guests have continued to book their rooms and events in solidarity in the Herrenkrug, and there is no break in the ever increasing encouragement.