The underground fortifications of Dillenburg Castle (Germany)

The previous installations within the old walls have been replaced with the latest Cave Lighting technology to reveal the casements in a new splendour. Especially imposing is the “Große Durchfahrt” (Great Thoroughfare), where the columns of light appear to support the ceiling. Armin Rau, chairman of the Dillenburg Museum Society, is enthralled.

A new illumination concept over a length of 600 metres has been implemented since May 2011. The historical site, including rooms, passages and corners that were hitherto hidden in darkness from the visitor’s view, has been optically redesigned. The work took approximately three months.

The Dillenburg casements form part of one of Western Europe’s largest fortifications and date back to the 15thand 16th centuries. With its bastions, casements and battlements, Dillenburg Castle was built to be impregnable.

However, during the Seven Years War French artillery managed to set the castle ablaze. Following the peace agreement of 1763 the fortifications above ground were demolished and the stones of the old fortress were used as building material. In fear of another siege, the fortifications were partly blown up or filled with rubble and earth.

In the 1930’s and 1960’s some subterranean sections were laid free und made accessible to the public. For decades, neon strip lighting and conventional light bulbs bathed the rooms in yellowish light. Everything was uniformly illuminated.

That is now a thing of the past. With the help of our Cave Lighting LED lamps- a total of 300 were installed - the historic fortifications now appear in a new light. The Cave Lighting LED lamps set accents and afford selective lighting, direct as well as indirect.

Positive side effect: as in all our projects, the LED lamps consume much less electricity than the old form of lighting. The reduced consumption already became evident during installation.

The lighting system had to be urgently replaced as the old lamps were known to often fail during the past years. The electrical system was, in fact, so faulty that groups of visitors even found themselves left in the dark. Now that the installation has been completed, the casements can be admired without restriction.

The 45 minute guided tour provides the visitor with an insight into an historic site that is unique in Germany.

Near the exit of the subterranean complex additional effects in rooms and alcoves are presented such as the “Secret Court”. Highlight and conclusion of the tour is the visit to the “Lion’s Den” with its 62 metre deep well along with the “Rubens Prison”.

Further special effects are to be installed at a later date. For example, sound effects such as conversation amongst soldiers with the noise of horses’ hooves in the background will then be implemented by means of the Cave Lighting MP3 system.