Anna Sydow: The White Lady of Spandau Citadel

White lady ghost stories bounded the castles and fortresses in Europe.  One hair-raising story is that of Anna Sydow – the White Lady of Spandau Citadel.

anna sydow
White lady haunted most castles and fortresses in Europe (Exemplore).

Spandau Citadel sits on an island in Berlin, Germany where the Havel and the Spree Rivers meet. The construction of the citadel took three and a half decades, from 1559 to 1594 conforming the original designs of Francesco Chiaramella de Gandino.

The bastion system of the citadel offered no blind spots for enemies to hide. It served its purpose well – to protect Spandau, a part of Berlin.  In 1675, the Swedes attacked Berlin and 1806, Napoleon captured it in battle. The French left it in ruins in 1813. In 1935, German government restored the citadel and used as it gas military nerve gas laboratory.

During World War II, Spandau Citadel prevented the Soviets in entering Berlin. The Soviets surrounded the citadel to prevent any entrance or exist until the citadel commander surrendered.

At present, the citadel remains as one of the well-kept Renaissance fortresses. It functioned a cultural center for open air concerts during Citadel Music Festival. Aside from being a tourist spot, Spandau Citadel is well-known for the haunting of Anna Sydow – the White Lady of Spandau Citadel.

anna sydow
The Spandau Citadel remains as one of the well-kept Renaissance fortresses (yurtopic).

Anna was the daughter of Andreas Sydow and Gertraud Schneidewind. King of Brandenburg, Joachim II took her as his lover despite being married to Magdalena of Saxony and Hedwig Jagiellon.

Joachim and Anna lived happily in the Grunewald, just outside Berlin. Then, she bore him two children. Their son died at nine years old while their daughter was called Magdalene of Brandenburg, Countess of Arneburg.

When Joachim succumbed to illness, he requested his son and successor Johann Georg to take care of Anna. Johann Georg promised his father to protect his mistress and provide for their daughter. However, after Joachim died, Johann threw Anna as prisoner into Spandau Citadel. He arranged a marriage for Magdalene to the court renegade-driver Andreas Cohlen.

Anna remained prisoner until her death.

anna sydow
Anna Sydow (

To this day, Anna still wanders the galleries of Spandau Citadel. Visitors and staff reported the sightings of a white lady roaming the halls of the fortress. One visitor claimed to see a floating apparition in one of the rooms of the building. Another visitor shared seeing a lady as if she was lost in the halls.

During the restoration of Spandau Citadel, workers discovered bones believed to be of Anna. They gave her a proper burial hoping to rest her spirits. However, Anna continues haunting the Spandau Citadel.


Source: The Culture Trip  Paranormal Society  Living in Germany

Further Readings

The Haunted Land

The White Lady Ghost

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