Anna Amalia of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (24 October 1739 – 10 April 1807), was a German princess and composer. She became the duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, by marriage, and was also regent of the states of Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Eisenach from 1758 to 1775. She transformed her court and its surrounding into the most influential cultural center of Germany.
She was born in Wolfenbüttel, the ninth child of Karl I, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and Princess Philippine Charlotte of Prussia. Her maternal grandparents were Frederick William I of Prussia and Sophia Dorothea of Hanover.
In Brunswick on 16 March 1756 she married Ernst August II Konstantin, Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and they had two sons. Ernst August died in 1758 leaving her regent for their infant son, Karl August.
During Karl August’s minority she administered the affairs of the duchy with notable prudence, strengthening its resources and improving its position in spite of the troubles of the Seven Years’ War. In 1775, with her son having attained his majority, she retired.
As a patron of the arts, Anna Amalia drew many of the most eminent people in Germany to Weimar, including Johann Gottfried Herder, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller and Abel Seyler‘s theatrical company. When she succeeded in engaging the Seyler Company, this was “an extremely fortunate coup. The Seyler Company was the best theatre company in Germany at that time.”Amalia von Helvig was also later to be a part of her court. She hired Christoph Martin Wieland, a poet and translator of William Shakespeare, to educate her son. She also established the Duchess Anna Amalia Library, which is now home to some 1,000,000 volumes. The duchess was honoured in Goethe’s work under the title Zum Andenken der Fürstin Anna-Amalia.