Margaret of Austria was regent of the Habsburg Netherlands between 1507 and 1530. Her residential palace was the Hof van Savoye (Court of Savoy) in Mechelen, the first renaissance building in the Low Countries. Note the magnificent renaissance frontage and the charming garden. From 1616 to 1796 the palace was home to the Great Council, the highest court of law in the Southern Netherlands. The façade still features Margaret's coat of arms, alongside the coat of arms of Charles V and a figure of Lady Justice (Justitia).
Today the building is the court of law. Margaret of Austria Margaret's life was turbulent from the outset. She was given in marriage no fewer than three times. The French crown prince sent her back at the age of eleven because he found a better match. Then the Spanish heir to the throne Don Juan died a few months after they were married. And Philibert of Savoy, the love of her life, died after three years of wedded bliss. The twenty-fouryear-old Margaret dressed as a widow ever after and refused to remarry. Margaret was appointed regent of the Netherlands and settled in Mechelen in 1507. She took responsibility for raising (emperor) Charles and his sisters. According to her contemporaries, she ran the country with tack and foresight. One of her greatest successes was the 'Ladies' Peace of Cambrai', which she engineered in 1529 through tough negotiation with Louise of Savoy, mother of the French king and sister of the late Philibert. In the meantime the arts and sciences flourished at Margaret's court. Notable artists and philosophers stayed at the palace. Polyphonic music was the regent's great passion. Her original gradual is preserved in Mechelen city archive and features on the list of 'Flemish highlights'. You can visit the garden from Monday to Friday from 7.30pm until 18pm. During the weekends and on holidays from 9am until 20pm.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.