‘In addition to his palace at Potsdam and his immense yacht the Hohenzollern, the kaiser possessed at the height of his power some thirty castles and estates all over Germany. He visited a third of them each year, sometimes for no more than a weekend. There was nothing he loved more than to speed through the countryside at night in his own creamy-white train with gold trimmings.
During the hunting season he would sometimes kill more than a thousand animals in a single week. Whenever he graced a military manoeuvre with his imperial presence, every unit of his own army had to win — which did not always suit the purpose of the manouevre. The Hohenzollern — with 350 crew members and space for 80 guests — was kept in readines for him to board at any moment. In Europe he was known as ‘the showman of the continent, the ‘crown megalomaniac’, the man who ‘wanted every day to be his birthday’.
Geert Mak, ‘In Europe’
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