Schloss Rastede

Last Sunday, I asked you what to do with Confessions of a Castleholic because there were no castle I had previously visited left to write about on here. While you did shoot me some great ideas over on Twitter what I could do, I just couldn't help myself - and I went castle hunting again! This time, I went Oldenburg, the capital of the former Grand Duchy of the same name in Northern Germany, and also made the way to the small town of Rastede nearby, where the family's summer residence was located. While the major Schloss in Oldenburg is now owned by the state of Lower Saxony, this gem is still in the hands of the ducal family.
Schloss Rastede received its current appearance under the order of Grand Duke Paul Friedrich August of Oldenburg in 1838 replacing a previous Baroque palace located on the same site. The origins of the estate go back even further all the way to the 11th century when an abbey was founded in the village. Religious life at Rastede, however, came to an end following the reformation. During the process, Count Christoph of Oldenburg, canon of Cologne cathedral at the time, managed to get his hands on the abbey. After the last monks had left, he furnished an apartment for himself at the former abbey. In 1612, Count Anton Günther, a horse enthusiast, built royal stables at Rastede. He later removed the existing abbot house in favour of a new Baroque palace he used as his summer residence. He passed away at his hunting lodge in Rastede in June 1667.
After the death of Count Anton Günther, the last of his family in male line, the County of Oldenburg fell to the Danish crown. Unsurprisingly, the Danish kings didn't take a major interest in Schloss Rastede and the whole of Oldenburg. For most of the first half of the 18th century, the palace was the home of Princess Sophie Eleonore of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, a niece of Anton Günther. In 1750, the palace was sold to Christoph Römer who commissioned Dutch architect Cornelis Redelykheid to convert the building into a three-winged Baroque palace including a French garden.
In 1777, Schloss Rastede came back into royal hands when it was purchased by the future Grand Duke Peter Friedrich Ludwig. Between 1780 and 1791, several changes were made to the structure introducing the first Classicist elements without, however, losing the Baroque characters. It was Peter Friedrich Ludwig's son and successor, Peter Friedrich August, who built the current palace. The Schloss is surrounded by an extensive park landscape created during the 18th and 19th centuries. Rastede remained a popular summer residence for the Oldenburg family until the end of the monarchy in 1918. It was here that during the night of February 24, 1931, the last Grand Duke of Oldenburg, Friedrich August II, passed away. To this day, Schloss Rastede is owned by his descendants. In 1968, shortly after extensive renovation works had been completed, the central part of the palace was heavily damaged during a fire and immediately restored. The most recent renovations works were carried out in 2014 costing about half a million euros and is still occasionally used by the ducal family as a residence.

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