Very old: Broich Castle in Mülheim an der Ruhr
Dhe building is not just old, it is ancient: Broich Castle in Mülheim with its meter-thick walls dates from the second half of the 9th century. The fortress was once built near the Ruhr to protect the trade route between Duisburg and Paderborn.
It was not until the 1960s that excavations revealed the true age. The people of Mülheim were amazed: their castle was no longer only the oldest castle in the Ruhr area, but also one of the most important Carolingian fortifications in the German-speaking area.
The fortified castle was expanded as a baroque residence in the 17th century. Today Broich is owned by the city, the old walls were renovated for ten years from 2009 with the help of subsidies and generous donations.
At the edge of a hilly park, the building stands in contrast to the high-rise buildings in Mülheim city center. Weddings and conferences take place in the knight’s hall as well as in the coat of arms and fireplace room (schloss-broich-muelheim.de).
Pretty young: Oberhausen Castle
In addition to the wedding room of the Oberhausen registry office, this castle also houses the Ludwiggalerie museum. The filigree-looking castle was built between 1812 and 1821 according to plans by the Münsterland architect August Reinking and is thus one of the youngest aristocratic residences in the Ruhr area.
Since 1998 the Ludwiggalerie has been showing temporary exhibitions and photo art with pictures, for example by Peter Lindbergh and Jim Rakete (ludwiggalerie.de).
Well-fortified: Vondern Castle in Oberhausen-Osterfeld
Two thick round towers and the remains of a moat, that’s exactly how you imagine a medieval castle. A house from Vondern was first recorded in documents as early as 1266. Destruction in the chaos of war, inheritance disputes among the nobility, frequent changes of ownership, new neighbors from 1903 through the Vondern colliery, hail of bombs in the Second World War – the walls of Vondern Castle and the baroque manor house have seen a lot.
The penultimate chapter of Vondern so far is that of a farm. A farmer kept dairy cows and chickens there, but wedged between the A42 motorway and a marshalling yard, agriculture had no future. The farmer lost a legal battle with the city of Oberhausen and had to give up farming in 1984.
“And then we took over a castle that was not intact, an adventure,” says Walter Passgang from the Association for the Burg Vondern Association. Today the manor house with the knight’s hall is available for weddings as a branch of the Oberhausen registry office. Vondern Castle and the small park are also a popular destination for cycle tourists on the Ruhr, the industrial heritage car route also leads directly past (burg-vondern.de).
Baroque beauty in the park: Strünkede Castle in Herne
In the distance, traffic roars on the A42, also known as the Emscherschnellweg, and the huge cooling tower of the Herne thermal power station rises above the houses with its 300 meter high chimney. But nearby, Strünkede Castle takes you back to the 13th century – at that time the moated castle was mentioned for the first time in a document.
The way the castle looks today, it was built in the 16th century. The architectural style of the seat of the von Strünkede family: early baroque with a moat and a park in the style of the French baroque.
In the 19th century, however, the manorial era ended, and Strünkede became a restaurant, police station and children’s rest home. Today the castle houses the collections of the Emschertal Museum: Herne’s history from the Neanderthals to the industrial city (herne.de).
Built in 1302: Bodelschwingh Castle in Dortmund
The best view of Bodelschwingh Castle, an elegant building in the Renaissance style, is from the height of the church path. You should be there very early in the morning when the sun is shining from the east – then photographers have an ideal location, according to the advice of Mireta and Felix zu Innhausen-Knyphausen.
The family has lived in the house in the 23rd generation – like their ancestors since the castle was built in 1302. This is unique among the castles and palaces in the Ruhr area. Part of the 16-hectare palace park, which was redesigned from a baroque garden to an extensive English landscape park in 1866 by the garden architect Carl Eduard Adolph Petzold, is therefore closed to the public.
Petzold had learned from Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau, the star among garden and landscape planners of that time. A few times a year visitors have access to the castle, for example on the Open Monument Day in September.
In addition to the aristocratic family, tenants on Bodelschwingh also enjoy the special castle atmosphere, because stables, wagon shed and barns were converted into apartments and offices in the 1980s. At that time the family had to give up farming in Bodelschwingh; the construction of the A45 autobahn had cut up the fields (schloss-bodelschwingh.de).
Wilhelminian: Schwansbell Castle in Lünen
Schwansbell Castle on the outskirts of Lünen is unique among the rulers in the Ruhr area. It was built in Wilhelmine times from 1872 as a moated castle in the style of English neo-Gothic.
What is curious here is that the moat – the moat – does not enclose the castle, but only a small garden island with a pavilion. In ancient times there was a small castle on the island, so the moat could have been built.
Schwansbell has also experienced many uses: aristocratic residence, orphanage, pilot accommodation in World War II, later the seat of the municipal building construction department. Today there are apartments and offices here, and the Lünen City Museum with a collection of toys and dolls is located in the neighboring servants’ house. Circular paths lead through the palace park with its special tree species such as trumpet tree, Christ thorn, robinia and tulip tree (luenen.de).