The Ahrensburg village came into the possession of the Cistercian Reinfeld Abbey in 1327. After the dissolution of the monasteries due to the Reformation, the whole area came into the possession of the king of Denmark. He rewarded his general Daniel Rantzau 1567 with lordship over these villages. His brother and heir Peter Rantzau built a Renaissance residence in the form of a water castle, now the symbol of the town, and the castle church around 1595. The new schloss buildings were made with parts of the torn-down mansion, on a rectangular island surrounded by a defensive moat. The following year, the chapel was completed. It was modelled on Schloss Glücksburg, built a few years earlier. Four octagonal towers were added later with copper-covered torn heads and lanterns.
The Rantzaus' estate was heavily indebted by the middle of the 18th century and, in 1759, was acquired by the businessman Heinrich Carl von Schimmelmann. Schimmelmann remodelled the castle and village in the baroque style and the current layout of the town reflects these plans.
Historians in Germany consider the building one of Schleswig-Holstein's best-known Renaissance buildings and attractions. Open to the public, it is surrounded by an English park, a chapel, a watermill and a museum.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).