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Burgruine Ringelstein (Büren-Harth)

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Confession of a Castleholic: I like castles more than castle ruins. So when Burgdame - visit her blog here - recommended to me to pay a visit to the ruins of Burg Ringelstein in Büren-Harth, I was a little hesitant as it was slightly out of the way of my latest castle adventure. But guess what happened? I loved it, it was a wonderful little piece of quiet during an otherwise very busy day including some eight other castles - more on all of them to come in the coming weeks, so make sure to stay tuned! The plans to build a castle on a mountain high above the Alme valley was firstly mentioned in 1383 though it isn't certain whether it was an entirely new castle or the reconstruction of a yet older, destroyed one of the same site. It was the Lords of Büren who were tasked with the construction of the new Burg to guard the outskirts of the Archbishopric of Cologne. Rather shortly after its completion, the castle was pledged to the Scharfenberg line of the House of Padberg until it cam…

Burg Aerzen

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Situated south-west of Hamelin, the small German town famous for its Pied Paper, Burg Aerzen was firstly mentioned in 1293 as borch Artelsen. At the time, the Burg and surrounding village was owned by the Lords of Everstein. Towards the end of the 12th century, the Eversteins had risen through the ranks of the nobility as supporters and relatives of the Hohenstaufen rulers after the defeat of the Guelph ruler Heinrich the Lion. The tides turned, however, and as a conclusion of peace Hermann VII of Everstein forged the engagement of his daughter, only four years old at the time, to the future Duke Otto IV of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Burg Aerzen formed part of Elisabeth von Everstein's dowry. After it came into the hands of the Guelph family, Burg Aerzen was given to the Bishopric of Hildesheim. It handed the castle and village over as a joined fiefdom to Stacius von Münchhausen and Heinrich von Hardenberg, both of very well-known noble families of the area, in 1508. The Münchhausens an…

The Last In Line: When Royal Families Sell Their Castles

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Imagine you could trace back your family's history hundreds and hundreds of years. They were counts, dukes, kings, ruled the people and amassed a fortune - or at least dutifully served thus who did. Now most of what is left is a big pile of stones, also known as castles. But you neither rule the people (and could thus raise taxes) nor have a fortune left. What to do with that castle? If you are a minor noble from a little known family, all you can do is to hustle and bustle and hope for the best, try to find someone who wants to buy it or ultimately let your castle fall into ruins. If your ancestors were well-known and actually ruled the region, chances are that the castle is of historical and cultural importance and thus the state may be willing to take if off your hands. Today, let's have a look at several examples of that in Germany.
Schloss Marienburg, of course, is still on everybody's lips. Late last year, the Hereditary Prince of Hanover announced that he would sell…

Wasserschloss Hülsede

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"Dear Castleholic, don't all castles just simply blend together once you have visited 50 or 100?" - That's a question I get occasionally asked. My answer: No. While Schloss Hülsede may be the 10th or 20th castle in the Weser-Renaissance style I've visited, does it look like the others to you? Each and every one of the castles out there has its own history and while there may be similarities, castles never look exactly the same. The history of today's Wasserschloss, or moated castle, dates back to the year 1529 when a previous building on the same site was removed in favour of a small fortified castle today forming the front part of the left wing. 
The man behind the new castle was Claus von Rottorp, whose family had been given the estate as a fiefdom by the Counts of Schaumburg some 200 years earlier. The famous military leader expanded the original structure into a four-winged castle over the following decades with construction lasting until 1548. Only two …

Schloss Oldenburg

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If you have been a regular follower of Confessions of a Castleholic over the past couple of years, you could have gotten the impression that the modern German state of Lower Saxony comprises only of former Guelph territories. While large areas of the current federal state were indeed part of the former Kingdom of Hanover or Duchy of Brunswick, there are two other former monarchies making up today's Lower Saxony: The small Principality of Schaumburg-Lippe around Bückeburg as well as the much larger Grand Duchy of Oldenburg. During the days of the monarchy, today's Schloss served as the main residence of the Counts, Dukes and finally Grand Dukes. The earliest castle on the same spot as today's Schloss dates back to around the year 1100. It was built by the Counts of Oldenburg to control a trading route between Westphalia to the south and East Frisia to the north of Oldenburg. Due to the swampy grounds, the castle was based on stilts. During the course of the 15th century, a…

Royals Gone Vogue: Treading the Line Between Divine Rights and Celebrity Culture

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These days royal and celebrity cultures are linked closer together then ever before. Royal fashion and style are a favourite pastime of many - and some royals have (rightly or wrongly) been described as style icons. (A term used inflationary in today's world, I might add.) Royals are featured on the covers of Vogue, Tatler and other glossy magazines or show their life on social media. The immortal Sisi, Marie-Antoinette, Diana and a few more - of course there have always been royals who had the IT factor. Yet both worlds have edged ever closer over the 20th century and have never been as closely linked as they are in today's age. But when are royals treading just too closely with the glitz and glam world of the stars and celebrities who are famous for being famous?
Let's face it, monarchy is a pretty outdated concept. In a day and age when largely anything goes, it's neither new nor original that someone based on the luck of birth becomes the head of a nation. There wer…

Schloss Lauenau

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Schloss Lauenau actually is one of three castles in the village of Lauenau near Hanover, the other two beingSchloss Meysenbug and Schloss Schwedesdorf. (And no, yours truly wasn't aware of this tiny village's castle density up until weeks ago which just goes to show that I'm a bad Castleholic because I live about half an hour away. Anyway...) Because of the many castles in Lauenau, this one is also oftentimes referred to as the Wasserburg, which simply describes what it is: A moated castle. Most famously, the Schloss was used to hold Sophie Dorothea of Hanover, wife of the future King George I of Great Britain, for three months in 1694 and 1695 before her trial over her affair with Count Philipp Christoph of Königsmarck. She was later moved to Schloss Ahlden where she lived for the last thirty years of her life becoming known as the 'Princess of Ahlden'. The history of Schloss Lauenau, however, goes back much further. The first castle on the same site was actually …