The Stophanberch (Staufenberg), on which the castle is located, is notarized as early as 774 (as a gift from Charlemagne) and 854 and was originally owned by the Abbey of Saint Denis.
The castle was built in the first half of the 12th century as a Hohenstaufen imperial castle and was first mentioned in 1147 as Castrum Estufin. The places and trade routes in this part of the Upper Rhine Rift could be controlled from the castle. In 1147 the name Burg Staufen appeared for the first time, which is said to have been founded by Duke Friedrich, the father of the German King Friedrich Barbarossa. Among other things, a walled-up window arcade and a lion relief have been preserved from the Hohenstaufen era. From 1192 the name Kinzburg (royal castle) was used.
In the 13th century, the Duke of Lorraine became the owner of the castle, who gave it to the Counts of Werd as a fief. In 1359 the Counts of Oettingen sold the castle to the Bishop of Strasbourg. In 1454 the Palatinate Elector Friedrich the Victorious conquered the castle, in 1462 it was destroyed for robbery. In 1479, Emperor Friedrich III. the castle as a feudal estate to the Swiss Count Oswald von Thierstein († 1488) and his brother Wilhelm.
In 1899 the city of Schlettstadt donated the castle to Kaiser Wilhelm II, who had it restored in 1901–1908 by the Berlin architect and castle researcher Bodo Ebhardt. The construction cost over two million marks, most of which had to be paid for by Alsace-Lorraine.