Glücksburg Castle is one of the most important Renaissance castles in northern Europe. It is the seat of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and was also used by the Danish kings. Situated on the Flensburg Fjord the castle is now a museum owned by a foundation, and is no longer inhabited by the ducal family.
The castle was built from 1582 to 1587 by Nikolaus Karie for John II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg, (1545-1622) at the site of an former monastery, the building material was partly reused in the castle. The grounds of the monastery were then flooded to create a large pond almost entirely surrounding the castle.
The castle is built on a 2.5 metres high granite foundation that emerges from the water. The bricks used for the construction were mainly taken from the demolished monastery. The base area is a square with sides of nearly 30 metres, consisting of three separate houses with their own roofs. While the great halls and the vestibule are situated in the middle house, the living space is in the two side houses. The chapel is the only room that is part of two houses.
The building had typical renaissance adornments, that were removed in the 19th century, otherwise the exterior has remained more or less unchanged for over 400 years.
The kitchen garden created in 1622 was the castles only garden until the eighteenth century, as the old monastery garden was lost with the construction of the pond, that was built as defence structure, but also used for fishing. Between 1706 and 1709 a small pleasure garden was created in the area of today's rose garden. From 1733 on, a baroque garden was laid out in the main park in front of the outer buildings, where an orangery was constructed in 1743.
In the twentieth century, the formal gardens were remodelled into English landscape parks, though the sections of the older garden remain. The orangery was renovated in 1827 into a neoclassic building, and is now used for art expositions and concerts.
The Glücksburger Rosarium was created in the area of the former castle nursery in 1990/91, and grows more than 500 different roses. In contrast to the castle gardens, it is a private garden and has an admission fee.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.