Out with Alisa: On the Hunt With the Von Bismarcks

There is no more storied tradition than the hunt, and no more glamorous hosts than the von Bismarck family. Each year, Carl (who is the great-great-grandson of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck) and Nathalie Von Bismarck host a Wild Boar Hunt, an event whose history can be traced back some three hundred years. Guests touched down at the Hotel Fürst Bismarck in Hamburg, Germany, before heading out for the hunt at the ancestral estate of Count Maximilian von Bismarck in the nearby town of Reinbek.

The author arrives at the von Bismarck family estate for the hunt.

The aristocratic sport of hunting is rigorous, due not only to the hunt itself, when one bounds across the countryside all day, but also thanks to the traditions which go hand-in-hand with the event. Formal lunches, cocktails and dinners are de rigueur, with numerous outfit changes required for each.

Guests adhere to the Reinbek dress code in Dirndl & Lederhosen

The weekend began with a traditional German dinner, where guests were delighted to follow the Reinbek dress code of Dirndl & Lederhosen. However, with the bugle set to sound at 7am for the start of the hunt, guests retired early. Following a thrilling morning of hunting, guests took a brief repose with lunch at the Stangenteich Hunting Lodge.

That evening, guests changed and re-emerged in black tie attire for a formal dinner at the von Bismarck family’s Schloss Friedrichsruh castle. After we took in a set of breathtaking fireworks, speeches were given and awards handed out to the best hunter of the year. Then festivities got well and truly underway, with dancing until 6am. Guests included Silas Chou, Wladimir Klitschko, Leonardo and James Ferragamo, Diana Picasso, Ondine de Rothschild, William Astor, Peter Soros and Count Maximillian Von Bismarck.

A lovely brunch at Schloss Friedrichsruh wrapped things up the following morning, bringing to the weekend to a close. As always, the guests of Carl and Nathalie Von Bismarck will cherish the memories of this always-fun weekend, until next year!