Die historische Grotte in den Herrenhäuser Gärten

Niki de Saint Phalle Grotte - Historic Shell Grotto in the Herrenhausen Gardens

Useful Information

Location: Herrenhäuser Gärten, Hannover
Open: 29-MAR to APR daily 9-19
MAY to AUG daily 9-20
SEP to 05-OCT daily 9-19
Fee: Adults (14+) EUR 4. Groups (20+): Adults (14+) EUR 3.50.
(for the Herrenhäuser Gärten)
Classification: SubterraneaGrotto
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:
Address: Hannover Tourismus Service, Ernst-August-Platz 2, 30159 Hannover, Tel: +49-511-12345-111, Fax: +49-511-12345-112. E-mail: contact
Herrenhäuser Gärten Hannover, Tel: +49-511-168-47576. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1676 grotto built.
18th century shells removed.
2000 renovated for the Expo 2000.
2001-2003 refurbished by Niki de Saint Phalle.
2002 Niki de Saint Phalle died.
28-MAR-2003 inaugurated.


The Herrenhäuser Gärten in Hannover are a famous Baroque garden, just north of Hannover. They were built by the house of Hannover, which has several connections to the monarchy in Great Britain. Today the gardens are open to the public and especially in summer a cultural center of the city, with concerts, theatre and much more.

The grotto was built in 1676 as a classic shell house, walls covered by shells, glass, minerals and crystals. It was a cool place on hot summer days. But in the 18th century the shells were removed and the grotto was used as a storeroom.

It was renovated for the Expo 2000, which was held in Hannover. But this time they just renovated the building, the cave was still empty. Several sponsors (for example the Allianz Umweltstiftung) made the creation of a modern shell house possible. In the years 2001-2003 the artist Niki de Saint Phalle refurbished the interior of the grotto in her unique style. It was her last big art project as she died in 2002, and the work had to be completed without her, following her plans.

The most astonishing thing with this grotto is, that although it was made by a modern artist, and although it is definitely modern art, the result is still comparable to the original shell houses, which still exist all over Europe.

Die historische Grotte in den Herrenhäuser Gärten Gallery