Ahrensbök Charterhouse was a former Carthusian monastery or charterhouse established in 1397. The estates with which it was endowed reached as far as Scharbeutz on the Bay of Lübeck.
During the Reformation the monastery was secularised, and with its estates fell into the hands of John II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg, in 1584, who had the buildings demolished.
The building materials were used between 1593 and 1601 for the construction of the castle in Ahrensbök, Schloss Hoppenbrook, which was the principal residence between 1623 and 1636 of the ruler of the newly formed Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Plön while Duke Joachim Ernst I's new castle in Plön was under construction. Once Schloss Plön was finished, the ducal residence was moved there from Ahrensbök, leaving Schloss Hoppenbrook as a secondary residence.
After the death there in 1740 of Duchess Juliane Luise, widow of Joachim Frederick, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Plön, Schloss Hoppenbrook was demolished. The Rathaus of Ahrensbök now stands on its site, in a park in which ditches from the previous castle complex can still be made out.
The only surviving building from the time of the Carthusians is the Brick Gothic St. Mary's church - Marienkirche - which in fact was begun in the first quarter of the 14th century and thus predates the monastery itself: when the charterhouse was established it was taken over for use as the monastery church. It was extended several times, and in 1400 the polygonal quire was added. The tower, with an inscribed sandstone tablet over the portal, was not added until 1761.References:
Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence. In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle.
In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance. The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.
UNESCO honoured history and present of the Rococo Palaces by inscribing Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – on the World Heritage List in 1984. From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.
In 1728, Dominique Girard designed the palace gardens according to French models. Owing to constant renovation and care, it is today one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. Next to the Baroque gardens, Peter Joseph Lenné redesigned the forested areas based on English landscaping models. Today it is a wonderful place to have a walk.