Cappenberg Castle is a former Premonstratensian monastery. The Counts of Cappenberg, who were related to the Salians and the Staufers, were a rich and powerful family. During the Investiture Controversy, when they supported Duke Lothar von Supplinburg against Emperor Heinrich V, Count Gottfried von Cappenberg and his brother Otto von Cappenberg led their armies against Münster in February 1121 under the leadership of Duke Lothar. A great part of the town was destroyed, and the old cathedral was burnt down. Before the Emperor could bring them to trial for violation of the peace of the realm, Gottfried – either out of genuine repentance or out of fear of the Imperial judgment - gave the greater part of his estates in Westphalia to the founder of the Premonstratensian Order, Norbert of Xanten, renounced worldly life and withdrew into a monastery, where, according to contemporary custom, he was immune from punishment.
After the ratification of the Concordat of Worms in 1122 he reappeared as Gottfried II, last Count of Cappenberg (afterwards better known as Saint Gottfried). Against the wishes of his family he founded a Premonstratensian monastery in his ancestral castle on the Cappenberg. For his wife, Ida, daughter of Count Friedrich von Arnsberg, and his sisters Gerberga and Beatrix, he built a nunnery next door.
The monastery was economically successful, and accumulated considerable wealth, as may still to some extent be seen from the surviving abbey church. The monastery was largely destroyed during the Thirty Years' War. The present Baroque premises in three ranges were built from 1708 onwards.
After an existence of almost 700 years the monastery was dissolved in 1803 and became an estate of the Prussian crown. After periods under the rule of France and of the Duchy of Berg, the estate was regained in 1815 by Prussia and in 1816 was acquired by the former Minister of State the Baron vom Stein, who renovated the buildings and thus preserved them from dereliction.
After the extinction of the family von und zum Stein the estate was inherited in 1926 by the family of the Counts of Kanitz.
During World War II Schloss Cappenberg served as a place of safety to protect works of art from Allied bombing.
In 1985 the Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe and the local authority of Kreis Unna rented rooms in the castle and converted them for use as a museum. Since then, in conjunction with the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, various exhibitions have been held here. In the west wing are kept the archives of Freiherr vom Stein, who lived in the castle from 1824 until his death in 1831, and also the archives of the former monastery. In the former abbey church is a portrait bust of the period around 1160 of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa made of gilt bronze.
Nowadays Schloss Cappenberg is an excursion destination, with a museum, and is part of the Industry Heritage Trail. Art exhibitions and concerts are regularly held there.References:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.