The Herten family, vassals of the Werden Abbey, was first documented in 1286. At that time, their residence was probably in the center of today's city next to St. Antonius church. In the 14th century, the family with 'Ritter' (knight) status built a fortified house on the site of today's castle. In 1376, this building was mentioned as fief of Werden Abbey. Through marriage, the Herten house fell into the possession of the von Galen family in mid-14th century. In 1488, it changed hands in the same manner to Dietrich von Stecke zur Leythe. Ultimately, in 1529 Anna von Stecke married Betram I. von Nesselrode. As part of the powerful house of Nesselrode, he was steward for the Electorate of Cologne in the Recklinghausen district and expedited the modification and extension of the buildings in 1530.
While foundations of today's main castle building incorporate elements from the 14th-century building, the buildings visible today were built by Stecke and Nesselrode families in the 16th and 17th century. The main castle consists of four wings creating an inner courtyard.
After the First World War, the main castle building was no longer used as a residence and started to deteriorate. Subsidence caused by the widespread sub-surface mining in the surrounding industrial Ruhr area added to the structural damage, bringing the castle buildings close to collapse. Only radical restoration measures from 1974 to 1989 saved the late Gothic castle complex from total decline. Today it is used as a venue for concerts, cultural events and festivities. It also houses a café. The castle's park is popular for walking, picknicking, jogging and biking.References:
The Château des ducs de Bretagne (Castle of the Dukes of Brittany) is a large castle located in Nantes. It served as the centre of the historical province of Brittany until its separation in 1941. It was the residence of the Dukes of Brittany between the 13th and 16th centuries, subsequently becoming the Breton residence of the French Monarchy. Today the castle houses the Nantes History Museum.
The restored edifice now includes the new Nantes History Museum, installed in 32 of the castle rooms. The museum presents more than 850 objects of collection with the aid of multimedia devices. The castle and the museum try to offer a modern vision of the heritage by presenting the past, the present and the future of the city. Night-time illuminations at the castle further reinforce the revival of the site. The 500-metre round walk on the fortified ramparts provides views not just of the castle buildings and courtyards but also of the town.