A moated castle owned by the Lords of Morrien was the first structure on the site. The Lords of Morrien became Marshal for the Prince Bishop of Münster in 1350. The property was sold to the Prince-Bishop of Münster Friedrich Christian von Plettenberg in 1694. Nordkirchen Castle was built in 1703 when the old moated castle was demolished. Nordkirchen Castle was completed around 1734 and at that time it was famous for it's garden that was admired throughout Europe. The Duke Engelbert-Maria von Arenberg bought Nordkirchen Castle in 1903 and had the main building expanded. After the First World War, von Arenberg left Germany for Milan and the castle was abandoned. After the Second World War, Nordkirchen Castle was in very poor condition and urgently needed renovation. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia bought the castle in 1958 and renovated the buildings and the parks and gardens. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia uses the pretty castle in the Dutch style as a university of finance. Nordkirchen Castle enchants its visitors with its beautiful park with wide moats and well-kept baroque garden elements.
Nordkirchen Castle is around 25 kilometers north of Dortmund. It is surrounded by a moat and a remarkable garden. The late baroque gardens were commissioned by Prince Ferdinand von Plettenberg. The garden architect Johann Conrad Schlaun designed the garden around 1725. The Venus Island and well over 300 sculptures make the beautiful baroque garden an experience.
How to get there
The small village of Nordkirchen is not connected to the rail network, the castle is difficult to reach by public transport. There is a large parking lot at the north entrance of the park.
The Westruper Heide is only around 14 kilometers north of Recklinghausen. And yet you are in a completely different world, the Ruhr area with its tortured landscape seems to be at the other end of the world. But the heath landscape near Haltern am See is also man-made, it was created by clearing in the 18th century. The sand dunes on which the heather grass grows were created by the ice age. The Westruper Heath has been under nature protection since 1937 because it is home to many rare plants and animals.
The gentle, hilly landscape is surrounded by forests and is suitable for short hikes. Narrow sandy paths run through the lovely landscape. Many visitors should be expected at the weekend.
How to get there
There is a visitor car parks on Flaesheimer Damm and on B58 (Hullerner Straße). From the town Haltern am See it is around 3 kilometers on foot.
There are many palaces and moated castles in the Münsterland. In Lüdinghausen there are even two in immediate vicinity. The Renaissance castle of Lüdinghausen (photo) and the castle Vischering. Both water castles are only about 500 m apart.
The Renaissance castle Lüdinghausen was built in the 12th century and was redesigned in the Renaissance style by Gottfried von Raesfeld in the 16th century. The witch trials took place here in 1624, after which over 20 people were executed in Lüdinghausen.
Vischering Castle is even more beautiful than Lüdinghausen Castle. Vischering Castle consists of two islands connected by bridges. It was built in the 13th century by the Bishop of Münster. After a fire in 1521, the castle was rebuilt in 1580. There is now a café and a bakery on the bigger island.
Lüdinghausen has around 25,000 inhabitants and is located about 30 kilometers north of Dortmund and 24 kilometers southwest of Münster.
The ruins of the Roman city of Colonia Ulpia Traiana are very well preserved as the city has not been built over. At the Archaeological Park Xanten you can immerse yourself in the time of the Romans and admire their over 2,000 year old buildings. In the year -12 the first legions came to the Lower Rhine and built an army camp for around 10,000 mercenaries. The dutch tribe of the Batavians burned the garrison down in +70. The military camp was rebuilt and raised to Colonia Ulpia Traiana in the year 99. The city was named after Emperor Trajan (Marcus Ulpius Traianus). The new city was twice the size of the destroyed army camp and had a city wall, a forum, an amphitheater, temples and thermal baths. With over 10,000 inhabitants, it was one of the largest cities in the roman Province of Germania inferior. The Xanten archaeological open-air museum has reconstructed some buildings from Roman times, so you can visit a Roman craftsman's house, admire the harbor temple and walk through the amphitheater. More and more parts of what was once the 73-hectare city plan are being excavated, it is worth taking a tour that tells the secrets of the excavation finds.
The city of Xanten is about 30 km north of Duisburg at the westbank of the Rhine river.
Kamp Monastery was the first monastery of the Cistercian order in Germany. The abbey was founded in 1123. The Cistercians wanted to feed themselves by the work of their own hands. For this reason, they separated from the Benedictines, who also lived on donations, interest and taxes. They built their monastery on a hill called Kamper Berg.
Not much is left of the first Romanesque church, it was destroyed in the Cologne War around 1588. The new abbey church was built on the old foundations in 1700. Different styles mix in the new building. The overall impression is Gothic, but you can also discover some elements that can be attributed to the prevailing Baroque.
The garden is the real attraction of the monastery complex. The strictly geometric baroque garden is one of the most beautiful of its kind in NRW. Due to the terraces on the slope, the monastery garden looks more like a castle park.
The Kamp Monastery is located in Kamp-Lintfort, about 16 kilometers northwest of Duisburg.