hilippine Welser

born 1527 in Augsburg, Germany
died on April 24, 1580 at Ambras Castle, Innsbruck

She was a patrician daughter of Augsburg and the wife of Archduke Ferdinand II. of Habsburg, Prince of Tyrol.

Reference to the Goldener Adler

Her name is listed on the commemorative plaque of famous personalities who stayed in our house. A visit of Philippine Welser is not mentioned in documents. But her love and relation to Innsbruck and Tyrol is reason enough to dedicate a room in the Goldener Adler to her.


xcursion tip

Clearly our today’s excursion tip leads you to one of the most important sights of the city, the Ambras Castle. 1564 Archduke Ferdinand II. gives his wife Philippine the castle and the manor Ambras.

Explore the armory, the chamber of art and curiosities, the glass collection Strasser, the Habsburg portrait gallery and a collection of Gothic sculptures, the Spanish Hall and the St. Nicholas Chapel.

A special highlight is the bath wing of Philippine Welser. The famous bathtub represents a cultural-historical rarity. The 1.60-meter-deep basin was not only not only heated with a stove, but also with hot stones to provide additional warmth.

The addition of herbs was also supposed to have a healing effect. The tub should not be seen alone, but should be perceived as a unit with the sweat room, the heating room and the relaxation room. It is the only completely preserved bathing facility of the 16th century.

Life and facts

Her parents were Franz Welser, a merchant and patrician of Augsburg, and Anna, Freiin von Zinnenburg. She was the niece of the world merchant and banker Bartholomäus V. Welser.

The emperor’s son, Archduke Ferdinand II., secretly married the bourgeois Philippine in 1557, since princely houses used marriages to strengthen alliances and this was also planned for Ferdinand II., a not insignificant event.

It was probably not until 1559 that Emperor Ferdinand I. learned of his son’s marriage, which was not in keeping with his status, and a settlement was worked out.

The marriage had to be kept secret, and any children were excluded from the Habsburg succession, but were to be provided for by the purchase of dominions and given the Habsburg coat of arms.

The marriage was considered a happy one. Philippine gave birth to two sons and then twins.

Her favorite residence, Ambras Castle, was remodeled into a magnificent Renaissance palace. She had an herb garden planted, mixed medicines together with her personal physician and pharmacist.

She was an advocate for the common people as well as for nobles seeking help, which has been handed down in writing through many petitions addressed to her. This, together with the fact that she tried to help the people around her with her medicine, most likely saved her from being maligned for not being of noble birth.

Her husband bequeathed her several estates and gave her abundant gifts. She received the titles Margravine of Burgau, Landgravine of Nellenburg and Countess of Ober- and Niederhohenberg.

From 1570, considerable health problems set in. She died on April 24, 1580. Her husband ordered that she be given a white marble tomb in the silver chapel of the Innsbruck court church.

Furthermore, he provided for her servants throughout her life and took care of the poor whom Philippine had supported.

Her son Andrew of Austria became Bishop of Constance and Bressanone, her son Charles of Austria an imperial general in Hungary, and both were elevated to Margraves of Burgau.

The impressive story of the love kept secret at Ambras Castle in Innsbruck was the model for the chivalric play “Philippine Welserinn, die schöne Herzoginn von Tyrol” by Emanuel Schikaneder.

The play tells in an impressive manner about the life and work of Philippine Welser and her so exciting love story with Ferdinand II. Emanuel Schikaneder, a former comrade-in-arms of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is best known as the librettist of Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute”.

The Theater an der Wien, which is still the stage for numerous operas today, was founded and built by him. Schikaneder is considered a pioneer of the German-language opera and theater scene. A musical was dedicated to his life under the title “Schikaneder – the turbulent love story behind the Magic Flute,” which premiered at Vienna’s Raimundtheater in 2016.


Website, Stand 21.07.2021, 22:31

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Website, Stand 21.07.2021, 23.38 daraus „Innsbrucker Nachrichten“. Jahrgang 1875. Nr. 5