By the 12th or 13th century the Lords of Wimmis or Strättligen built Wimmis Castle above the village. The exact relationship between the two families is unclear, but the Wimmis line became extinct in the mid-13th century and by 1260 the Freiherr von Strättligen owned Wimmis Castle and the surrounding lands. A few years later the castle and lands were incorporated into the extensive holdings of the Freiherr von Weissenburg. Over the following years, the town at the foot of the castle was attacked and burned twice by Bernese troops, in 1298 and 1334 and the castle was attacked and taken in 1334. After the war, Freiherr Johann the Elder von Weissenburg was forced to sign a treaty with Bern. The castle and surrounding bailiwick were inherited by the Freiherr von Brandis in 1368. However, in 1398 he sold a half share of the estates to the von Scharnachtal family and in 1437 sold the remaining half to them. The von Scharnachtals held the castle and bailiwick until Bern bought it back in 1449.
Under Bernese rule the castle became the center of the Niedersimmental district. During the 17th and 18th centuries the castle was expanded in several stages into its current appearance. In 1708 a fire broke out in the castle town, destroying the entire settlement around the castle. The castle town was abandoned and the current castle gardens were planted on the site. After the 1803 Act of Mediation, the castle became the center of new Niedersimmental district. In 1967 the district administration moved into a modern office building but the district court remained in the castle. In 2010 the administrative structure of the Canton of Bern changed. The court moved from Wimmis to Thun and the castle was given to the municipality.
The castle probably grew out of an early medieval church and fortified estate that was built on hill above Wimmis. The original castle consisted of a Bergfried, attached living quarters and a wall. After it passed to the Freiherr von Weissenburg, Rudolf III expanded the castle. He encircled it with a double curtain wall and built the detached Letzi Spissi wall about 1 kilometer south-west of the castle. The Letzi Spissi was built to help defend the entrance to the Niedersimmental.
After the castle was acquired by Bern it was converted into the residence of the Bernese Vogt. It was expanded and renovated throughout the 15th to 17th centuries. During the 15th and 16th centuries, the outer wall was rebuilt and the Vogt's residence was expanded and renovated. The original gatehouse which faced west was replaced with a long covered stairway on the south side. In 1696, Vogt Albrecht Manuel had the south residence wing built. In 1741-42 the Vogt, Franz Ludwig Steiger, built the large north-east wing. The castle was renovated and expanded in 1789-90, again in 1949-51 and finally in 1984-87.References:
Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).
Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.
Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.
An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.
On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".