Peace Banquet 1649

The Nuremberg Peace Banquet of 1649

Between 1618 and 1648, the Thirty Years' War, one of the most devastating wars in European history, raged in many parts of Europe. Thanks to its diplomatic skills, Nuremberg had not only largely escaped the devastations of this bloody religious war, but after the end of the war, the city was also to play an important role on the European stage: Between May 1649 and July 1650, Nuremberg was the venue for a European peace congress, and in this context, the "Nuremberg Peace Banquet" was held in the Greater City Hall.

The Peace of Westphalia

Months before, on October 24, 1648, the Thirty Years' War had ended with the Treaties of Münster and Osnabrück, concluded between the German Empire, France and Sweden. This "Peace of Westphalia" had far-reaching consequences both for the German Empire, and for the balance of power in Europe. Various unresolved issues and many details of the implementation of the Westphalian peace treaty were negotiated during a major diplomatic congress held in Nuremberg between May 1649 and July 1650. Representatives of the German Emperor, of Sweden and France, as well as of numerous German territories discussed the demobilisation and withdrawal of troops from the war zones.

The Nuremberg Implementation Congress

The results of the negotiations of this "Nuremberg Implementation Congress" were summed up in two "Main Peace Treaty Implementing Provisions", but they were much more than implementation agreements for the Westphalian Peace Treaty: In a way, they elaborated this treaty and were considered part of the "General Peace Treaty for the Empire" of 1648. They were "supposed to be considered a fundamental law of the Holy Empire and an everlasting guideline and eternal legal norm to be adhered to constantly and irrevocably".

Intermediate Results Celebrated with Festive Banquet
After months of negotiations, in September 1649, first results had been achieved, and "interim provisions" were signed. On this occasion, Count Palatinate Karl Gustav of Zweibrücken, the representative of Sweden, later to become Swedish King himself, hosted a banquet on September 25, 1649, a feast which went down in history as "Nuremberg Peace Banquet". Representatives of all negotiating parties gathered round a sumptuously laid table, in the beautifully decorated Nuremberg City Hall in order to demonstrate unity and newly forged friendships. This symbolic event with its message of peace was intended as a sign of hope for a better period in German and European history.

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