Who we are

The Artist Residency Schloss Balmoral supports visual artists from all over the world and of all ages in the form of annually awarded fellowships. Since 2013, the fellowships have been linked to a specific artistic genre or theme, which the artists (among them an artist at risk) explore while in residence at Schloss Balmoral in Bad Ems. In addition, the programme offers two annual fellowships for curators and one for educators as well as the “Neustart” (New Start) fellowships awarded to graduates of the Academy of Fine Arts Mainz.

The Artist Residency Schloss Balmoral facilitates and supports Interfaces Between Artistic Work and Theoretical Discourse. The castle, where artists live and work for the duration their fellowship, is a space where exchange and interaction take place alongside artistic creation and theoretical reflection.

Since the establishment in 1995 of Schloss Balmoral as a centre for the promotion of artists, all disciplines within the visual arts have received support. Furthermore, through the organisation of exhibitions, lectures and many other events, the artist residency programme has a continuing impact on the wider community, creating and nurturing an intensive dialogue between artists, academics, art enthusiasts and beyond.

The Academy of Fine Arts Mainz at the Johannes Gutenberg University has been responsible for the centre since 2021, a role that, since its establishment, was previously held by the Rhineland-Palatinate Foundation for Culture. As a result of close collaboration with the Academy of Fine Arts Mainz, artists can enjoy stimulating opportunities for interfacing through jointly curated events, lecture series and workshops which take place in both Bad Ems and Mainz. Fellowship holders are also able to attend classes which are part of the Academy of Fine Arts Mainz yearly teaching schedule.

In addition to its own residency fellowships, the Artist Residency Schloss Balmoral also oversees scholarships awarded by the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry of Science, Further Education and Culture, expanding the range of fellowships on offer to include two location-independent project fellowships, two fellowships for Paris/France, one for Seoul/South Korea and one in the Rhineland-Palatinate‘s partner region of Burgundy-Franche-Comté.


Balmoral Castle, a magnificent villa in the Historicist style, is located in the once fashionable spa town of Bad Ems. The castle‘s stately atmosphere, far from the hustle and bustle of everyday (metropolitan) life, is perfect for the uninterrupted development and realisation of artistic ideas and projects as well as for researching materials. The castle‘s own, ever-expanding library invites its visitors to immerse themselves in both contemporary and historical documents, while the lush flora of the Lahn Valley in the immediate vicinity offers visitors ample opportunity for walking or hiking.

Interface between artistic work and theoretical discourse

Balmoral is … A Stage for Contemporary Art

Schloss Balmoral also runs RichCake, a project space right in the city centre of Bad Ems, where the works of its fellowship holders are regularly exhibited. A former shop, its large window fronts serve as an excellent showcase, stimulating and provoking curiosity about the artists‘ respective aesthetic positions and artistic statements, while at the same time providing insights into the work of the artist residency in general.

Whenever there are no works by fellowship holders are on display, the space is open for collaborations with (guest) artists, students and partners. Our reasoning? We believe less empty urban space means less empty intellectual space.

In order to present the fellowship holders to a wider audience and (further) embed them in the art market, a final exhibition, accompanied by a substantial catalogue, takes place in a leading exhibition centre at the end of each year, thus marking the end of the fellowship.

Balmoral is … A Space for Encounters

To stimulate dialogues between theory and practice, we regularly invite international speakers, lecturers, curators and gallery owners to our talks, events and artist studio visits. In addition to activities such as concerts, readings, open studios and a vibrant summer festival, guided tours and other multifaceted programmes take place in the castle every month from April to October, opening up the house to a wider audience. All events are designed to be as diverse and accessible as possible.

The Förderverein Balmoral 03 e.V., founded in 2003, plays a key role in mediating between fellowship holders and all who are interested in art, and as such has been supporting the house itself and its fellowship holders both financially and conceptually for over 25 years.

Balmoral is … A Place of Vision

The Artist Residency Schloss Balmoral is a location for vision and play. It encourages artistic approaches that are aesthetically and socially relevant, inspiring artists and curators alike to explore ways of positioning their work in society. We see ourselves as a space that facilitates possibilities and interconnects people, discourses and materials. The Artist Residency Schloss Balmoral is a respectful place that acknowledges and honours the time and ideas of artists, curators and scholars from around the world.

Together we learn and grow: Towards a space that speaks to many senses and in many languages, countering the exclusions of the world around us with a joyful vision of artistic action. Balmoral bridges the present and the future of artists, and in so doing aims to support their creative work beyond the duration of the fellowship. The artist residency also sees its role as a link between former and current fellowship holders. The annual summer party, at which new fellows are officially welcomed, offers all guests the unique opportunity both to reconnect and to get to know each other.


Balmoral Castle was built in 1867 on commission from the Russian manor owner Basile Von Miahkoff as his stately residence. Von Miahkoff, originally from St. Petersburg, named his estate „Villa Diana“ after the Roman goddess of the hunt. The neighbouring half-timbered house, which once belonged to the estate, bears this name still today.

The appearance of the three-storey Villa Schloss Balmoral is reminiscent of early Italian Renaissance architecture, although neo-Gothic influences are also clearly evident. The snow-white, seemingly fortified building is dominated by an octagonal centre tower and two side towers with battlements. The wide flight of steps, with its flanking lions and cast-iron balustrades decorated with griffin motifs, emphasises the lavish overall effect of the construction.

As early as 1872, von Miahkoff sold the property, and it would subsequently change hands several times until 1882 when Georg Lang, who came from a family of hoteliers, finally acquired the complex. He established one of the spa town‘s luxury hotels in the Villa and gave it the name „Schloss Balmoral“. Prominent guests at that time included King Alexander of Serbia, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Richard Wagner and Francisco d‘Andrade.

The spa hotel existed until 1935, after which the villa was used as an apartment house. It was listed as a historical monument in 1983 and acquired by the Rhine-Lahn district in 1989 which, in November 1994, entered into a usage agreement with the Rhineland-Palatinate Foundation for Culture. It has been run by the Academy of Fine Arts Mainz at the Johannes Gutenberg University since 2021.

The historic Villa Schloss Balmoral is now owned by the Schloss Balmoral Bad Ems administrative association, to which the municipality of Bad Ems-Nassau, the town of Bad Ems itself, the Rhine-Lahn district and the Staatsbad Bad Ems GmbH belong. As an institution for the promotion of the visual arts, the Artist Residency Schloss Balmoral has been in regular use since 1995 and is highly regarded beyond the region, not only occupying a prominent position among the cultural centres of the Rhineland-Palatinate, but having long established itself as an international forum for art and culture.