So it was time for another crazy trip. I was going backpacking to The Kingdom of Romkerhall, (in German Konigreich Romkerhall) which is a micronation and breakaway country housed within the borders of Germany. The country claims to be the “World’s Smallest Kingdom” and is situated in Lower Saxonia, bordering Germany. On my ongoing tours to crazy republics and wacaday nations, this one had to be on my list.
Just before my trip here, I had visited the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, written about 40 disputed countries I backpacked and outlined by crazy quest to visit 200 real countries by the age of 40. The Republic of Malta was 155, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta was 156, making the Kingdom of Romkerhall number 157 on my list. I was really looking forward to this one. I got in touch with Susanne Bauer, the Princess, in advance and though she wasn’t in the country during my visit, she helped plan and organise my tour, which was conducted by Miss Edith (Edyta).
Where is the Kingdom of Romkerhall?
It is a separate country housed in a hotel called Konigreich Romkerhall, situated deep in German countryside and mountains in Niedersachsen (Lower Saxonia). The nearest settlements are Altenau, Gosler, Oker and Bad-Harzburg.
What is the Kingdom of Romkerhall?
I mentioned this on my first post about the border crossing from Germany into the Kingdom of Romkerhall but here it is again. The Kingdom of Romkerhall is a fully self-declared and self-run legitimate separate country housed in a hotel called Konigreich Romkerhall in the Niedersachsen (Lower Saxonia) area of Germany. The country was declared in 1988 as “the world’s smallest kingdom”, though when I toured it and read up on the history, I discovered that it has a much longer history to it.
The entire country is housed in a hotel and the grounds around the hotel. It is in a truly tranquil, peaceful and gorgeous setting in rural Germany, like out of a fairytale. It is one of the coolest countries I have ever toured. The Hotel was built in the 19th Century and was originally a hunting lodge commissioned by King George the Fifth as part of his Hanover Kingdom.
However, the end of the First World War in 1918 brought an end to the German monarchy and the entire country’s borders were shifted, affecting places like Gdansk in Poland (then was known as the Free City of Danzig). Oddly a clause was noted that this lodge was not included in any parishes by the new Weimar Republic at the time, which rendered the hotel free and not officially included in German documents.
The situation reared its head again in the 1970s when the parishes were redrawn yet still the Hotel here was omitted. This officially meant that the Hotel was in “no man’s land”, a ‘municipality free’ independent territory. Baron Lechner bought the lodge and set up his own country in it.
The Hotel had suffered from fire damage but Lechner wanted to make it one of the most elaborate hotels in the world and so he set about design elegant bedrooms, a huge Royal Hall and a cosy restaurant. As the dream developed, so did a flag, a currency, a border, a website, a visa, souvenirs, an anthem and a thriving economy (all the money is made from the hotel – be it food and drink, overnight stays or purchasing of souvenirs). So without further ado, I went to visit and I loved this place, so I hope you can visit it too or even cooler – stay overnight here!
My visit to the Kingdom of Romkerhall was organised in advance. I contacted Princess Susanne and was going to be getting a guided tour of the country. The tour was conducted by the lovely Edyta (Miss Edith as Susanne called her to me), who explained things to me firstly in German, but then she realised I understood Polish, so the rest of the tour we spoke in Polish! I was so shocked that having lived in Poland for one and a half years now, and having crossed the border from Poznan to Berlin, I was now experiencing a guided tour by a lady from Poland!
Edyta was an excellent host and tour guide and looked after me during my stay in the country. She was also surprised that a Northern Irish guy could know Polish. These were the main highlights and sights to see on the tour of the quirky Kingdom of Romkerhall. Please go and visit, it’s a fantastic country!!
First of all you need to get into the Kingdom of Romkerhall, and so the border is the first sight. You go through the main entrance door which has the Kingdom of Romkerhall coat of arms on the stained glass window. Once inside, you have left Germany behind and are now in the Kingdom of Romkerhall. I already wrote about my border crossing from Germany to the Kingdom of Romkerhall.
There are three main visa options:
10.- Euro including the full tour and a welcome drink inside of the Royal limousine which has its own bar (yes there are actually three bars in the country!).
4.- Euro including the full tour of the hotel.
1,50 Euro transit visa for people that aren´t a guest at the restaurant and want to use the toilet.
(You will get the transit money fully refunded if you will come back later and eat and drink).
The visa policy was launched in 2010.
A huge white limousine sits opposite the hotel in the car park. This shows how elaborate and fancy a Kingdom this really is. If you choose the 10 Euro visa option, you get a welcome drink inside the Limousine, which is equipped with its own bar!
3.The Royal Carriage
The original Royal Carriage is a classic work of art and part of the nation’s proud history. On my visit, I found out that the Royal Carriage no longer exists, so Susanne sent me images to use instead! So while it is a sight that you cannot see, you can however see a miniature of this exquisite Royal Carriage in the Hunting Room.
The Royal Hall is superb. This is the main place for huge banquets and parties. It was so elaborate with a bar, huge tables and chairs and a dancefloor. There was no event on during my visit so I just had to imagine of what it might be like!
5.Shop, Reception and Visa Control
The first thing you encounter on entering the country is the reception area. This triples up as passport control and visa issuance as well as being the national shop to sell souvenirs. It was here I was greeted by Miss Edith.
6.The Queen’s Bedroom
As part of my guided tour I am taken to many different bedrooms in the country. The best, the first and the most elaborate is the Queen’s Bedroom.
Next up we head to the Fürstenzimmer, which was the elaborate bedroom of Princess Susanne’s grand-grand-grandfather Graf Max von Gravenreuth. The furniture there is very old but wasn’t at the castle during King George´s time. Susanne’s grandmother stored that furniture for so many years on an attic in Nürnberg after she had sold their property in Grafenreuth. It seems I picked a good colour to wear that day, as the rooms are in elaborate gold, red and white colour with wood. They are all so cosy and pristine.
8.The Prince’s Bedroom (Dornröschen Suite)
On my tour I get to see about 8 or 9 different bedrooms and so I just include the main four bedrooms on this list. Next up the Prince’s bedroom, which is officially known as the Dornröschen Suite.
9.The Princesses Bedroom
The final bedroom in my top sights list is the Princesses bedroom. A four poster bed with the dress of the Princess hanging proudly.
10.The Flags of the Kingdom of Romkerhall
I found out that there are two flags of the Kingdom of Romkerhall – the national flag and the Saxony Royal Standard Flag. Both flags feature at various points on the tour including on a table. You can get a photo of the flag flying outside too.
As a long term backpacker, I often despised a country without a “bar”, I mean even in Afghanistan I managed a night out on the rip with tea and shisha. So imagine my surprise to learn that the Kingdom of Romkerhall has three bars and serves local dark beer from Altenau, which is across the border in Germany, but a great beer! Aside from these three bars (Lobby Bar, Limousine Bar and the Royal Hall Bar), there is a restaurant to enjoy your meal in. It was in The Restaurant was where I enjoyed a hearty lunch, chicken cutlet with salad and chips. I also had a cup of coffee and a beer.
The National musical instrument in the downstairs room is a huge organ and Miss Edith plays it a little. It’s in a quaint little room and lounge that also houses the green furnace.
13.The Green Furnace
In the same room, a huge green furnace dominates. This place gets cold in winter and coal is still used in the fires to heat up the rooms and restaurants in the cold winter months.
Outside the hotel itself is a beautiful waterfall, though it could be argued that it’s in German, as the river must flow from across the border, but let’s claim it as Romkerhallian! It’s a sight you won’t want to miss when backpacking in the Kingdom of Romkerhall.
15.The National Newspaper
You must pick up a copy of the country’s National Newspaper on your visit! It is in German and you can buy the English version. It has the history of the Kingdom. The Kingdom of Romkerhall has also featured in many media outlets worldwide and some of these examples can be found both online and here in the hall.
As this is a stylish hotel with elaborate rooms, it’s no surprise to see some sex toys and condoms for sale in the toilets. A great idea for guests – this would be a truly wonderful place for a bit of hanky panky under the sheets in a gorgeous setting. Honeymoon venue?
The country doesn’t really have enough space for roads or highways, so for me the main streets and avenues in the Kingdom of Romkerhall are the corridors.
One of the first rooms on my tour was a small and cosy lounge to the right of the entrance hall. It is worth checking out, this is the same room that housed the national organ and green furnace.
19. Knight for one Night / Night for one Knight
The Kingdom also has some cool costumes for small and big princesses or princes which you can borrow. The Princess said !We want dreams to become true and for one night you can become a princess of Romkerhall or a ‘Knight for one Night’.” The Kingdom of Romkerhall also issue a document (see enclosed) and you also can buy the Knight´s award (29.- Euro).
Once again thanks to Princess Susanne for all the information and for Miss Edyta for my excellent tour of the Kingdom of Romkerhall.
Reservierungen nimmt entgegen:
Moneypenny Tours (Reservierungszentrale “Königreich Romkerhall”)
Tel. 0911 – 6324673
Fax: 0911 – 6328312
e-mail: [email protected]
Here are my videos from backpacking in the Kingdom of Romkerhall: