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:
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.