Sternberg Castle

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Sternberg Castle
Sternberg Castle - view from the southeast

Sternberg Castle - view from the southeast

Creation time : around 1100
Castle type : Hilltop castle
Conservation status: Received or received substantial parts
Standing position : Count
Geographical location 52 ° 3 '11.7 "  N , 9 ° 2' 56.8"  E Coordinates: 52 ° 3 '11.7 "  N , 9 ° 2' 56.8"  E
Height: 315  m above sea level NN
Sternberg Castle (North Rhine-Westphalia)
Sternberg Castle

The Burg Sternberg is located in the district of Lippe in North Rhine-Westphalia on the western border of the greater community Extertal to the municipality Dörentrup . The Lippe Regional Association is the owner of the Höhenburg .


The hilltop castle is 315 meters above sea level on a ledge of the Dörenberg . It offers a view over the Lipperland to the Teutoburg Forest.


The forerunner of Sternberg Castle is the approximately 1.5 kilometers northwest of the Alt-Sternberg castle ruins , which were already in use in the 12th century.

From construction to the Thirty Years War

The oldest foundations of the curtain wall of Sternberg Castle can be dated to around 1100 through ceramic finds. This enclosure wall was considerably improved and expanded in the middle of the 12th century, during this period rammed earth floors and post constructions can be detected on the inside of the wall.

The construction of a stone residential tower on the northwest corner of the castle hill was done around 1240 by Count Heinrich I von Sternberg , who has been proven as the first bearer of the name "von Sternberg" since 1243, before that he was named Heinrich III. run by Schwalenberg. Rich interest and lease income from the surrounding lands, but above all considerable income from salt production in Bad Salzuflen, made it possible to build Sternberg Castle. The possession of the castle by Heinrich Graf von Sternberg is documented for the year 1245, the first document seal with the Sternberg coat of arms dates from 1252, the first written mention of Sternberg relates to the year 1266.

The Sternberg counts soon got into financial difficulties, in 1317 Count Simon I. zur Lippe called himself the “tutor” (guardian) of the Lords of Sternberg. The castle itself continues to bear this name after the death of the last Sternberg count in 1399.

From 1369 the castle and county of Sternberg was pledged to Count Otto von Holstein and Schaumburg and sold to the Schaumburg counts in 1377. Johann I, the last Count of Sternberg, waived his reserved right of repurchase in 1391. Then Count Otto von Holstein and Schaumburg pledged parts of the County of Sternberg, the castle and town of Barntrup and the village of Salzuflen to the noble lords of the Lippe.

In 1405 the castle and county of Sternberg passed to the noblemen Bernhard VI. zu Lippe and Count Hermann zu Everstein , who subsequently fell out over the Sternberg pledge (Everstein's feud). Hermann zu Everstein left the contract, and the noblemen of the Lippe pledged the castle. The families of the nobles von Zerssen, von Quernheim, von Münchhausen, von Wend, von Molenbeck, de Went, von Westphal and von Kerssenbrock were pledges .

Since the first half of the 15th century, the noble lords of the Lippe carried out extensive extensions, they built the south tower, the Rendantenhaus and expanded the lower castle gate. That was urgently needed because the dispute between noblemen zur Lippe and the Schaumburg counts, called the “Sternberg War”, culminated in 1424 in the devastation of the cities of Barntrup and Bösingfeld , as well as Alverdissen Castle . It is not known to what extent Sternberg Castle was affected here. However, the historian Franz Carl Theodor Piderit reports that Sternberg Castle […] burned down in 1430, but was rebuilt soon afterwards . The castle had also suffered badly in the Soest feud . In 1444 the documents reported that the Sternberg broke something. The damage was repaired immediately, because in 1447 the pledge holder Johann von Molenbeck managed to defend the castle against the attack of a 15,000-strong army of Archbishop Dietrich of Cologne . The Polackenschanze , about 300 meters west of Sternberg Castle , was probably built by the Archbishop's troops for this attack.

From 1471 there were again tensions between Schaumburg and Lippe because of the Sternberg pledge, Burg and Amt Sternberg were held by Bernhard VII to the Lippe . It was one of the duties of the church lords of Bösingfeld to read a monthly soul mass for Bernhard in the chapel on Sternberg since 1492.

From 1521 the castle and the Sternberg office were administered by a Drosten resident at the castle , in 1564 and 1583 Sternberg was occupied by the counts of Lippe's land servants in the course of renewed disputes over the Schaumburg stake in Sternberg. Another threatening conflict over Sternberg could be caused by the marriage of Count Simon VI. zur Lippe to be settled with the widowed Elisabeth von Schaumburg in 1585. In 1588 their first child was baptized at Sternberg Castle.

Simon VI. had the builder Hermann Wulff convert the north tower to the Pallas, today's knight's hall . He also commissioned the stonemason master Peter Steinbohm with the door walls on the ground floor of the north tower and the fireplace in the knight's hall, in the ledge of which the coats of arms of the marriage of the houses at Lippe and von Schaumburg can be seen.

From the Thirty Years War to 1945

Sternberg Castle, copper engraving around 1663

In 1632, during the Thirty Years' War , the well-known General von Pappenheim moved into quarters at the castle. In 1636 Sternberg was bombarded by artillery and in 1665 two new bricked roundeles and two half walls were built on the fortress .

In the 18th century it became quiet around Sternberg, around 1723 the Rendantenhaus was rebuilt. Count Simon Henrich Adolph von Lippe pledged Sternberg Castle in 1733 to the House of Hanover , at that time owned by King George II of Great Britain. For a payment of 410,000 silver thalers , which were delivered in an ox cart, the British king secured all rights to the Sternberg office. Only Count Simon August ended the English rule over Sternberg by repurchasing it in 1781. In the 19th century there were numerous extensions. Under Princess Pauline zur Lippe , the outer castle gate was rebuilt in 1803 and the porter's house with an official prison was built in 1805. In 1844 the old bell house was demolished and replaced by a new building, in 1859 the extension to the southern residential tower was demolished and a new one was built, and in 1877 the inner gatehouse was expanded and reconstructed. This essentially gave Sternberg Castle its present form.

Up until 1919, Sternberg Castle was used as the Princely Chief Forester's Office, also for the implementation of numerous hunting parties to which the Princes of the Lippe invited. With the expropriation of the nobility in 1919, Sternberg Castle fell to the Land of Lippe. In 1921 a small youth hostel was set up in the administrative office (Unterburg), and in 1929 the head forester's office in Sternberg was relocated to Brake Castle. From 1931 to around 1935, the innkeeper Krüger ran the youth hostel and the associated catering.

From 1935 Sternberg was used as a training center for the SS , where the wives of the higher ranks were introduced to parquet security at receptions and similar official occasions (popularly known as the SS Bride School ). The musical instrument maker Peter Harlan , brother of the director Veit Harlan , was given command of the castle as an Air Force officer in 1943, which, contrary to his orders, he did not destroy when the Allied troops marched in in 1945, but handed it over to the Allies.

1949 until today

After the war, Peter Harlan set up a musical instrument collection in the castle, and he was able to transfer his personal collection from his original home in Saxony to the castle. Harlan continuously expanded the collection and resumed instrument making. In addition to building recorders , in the renaissance of which he played a significant part, he mainly developed instruments that were easy to build himself, such as a newly developed form of the fiddle, and devoted himself to setting up a music meeting place to promote amateur music. After Peter Harlan's death, the work was continued by his sons Till and Klaus and ultimately led to the “Sounding Museum” set up in the castle today. There are currently instrumental courses and instrument making courses under the direction of Walter Waidosch.

In 1949, the newly founded Landesverband Lippe became the owner of Sternberg Castle. On the initiative of the first head of the association, Heinrich Drake, the then Lemgo district set up a district youth home with the involvement of the entire lower castle, which was completed in 1952 and initially had a capacity of 40 beds. Due to the great demand, 120 beds were added and expanded by 1962, including a swimming pool. This facility existed until the Detmold and Lemgo districts were merged in 1974 to form what is now the Lippe district and was affiliated with the German Youth Hostel Association . In the period that followed, no further expansion or renovation work was carried out, the lower castle and the Rendantenhaus were used by the Lippe district as social housing and as a temporary residence until 1998.

In 1996 the Lippe regional association held a symposium on the future cultural use of Sternberg Castle, the concept of which formed the basis for submitting an application to the regional ministries for subsidies for the planned building projects. In the same year, the Sternberg castle was entered in the Extertal community's list of monuments as a ground monument. The state association Lippe, the district of Lippe and the municipality of Extertal were approved as applicants in the Düsseldorf ministries, so that the structural and cultural renewal of Sternberg Castle was no longer in the way.

Between 1998 and 2003, the Lippe regional association carried out extensive construction and renovation work on Sternberg Castle, with the preservation of historical monuments playing a prominent role. The results of building research and archaeological excavations were taken into account both in the gutting of the building and in the use of the materials for the interior fittings, and based on historical models.

The result of the work is the concept of the multifunctional use of the castle, which is still valid today, both as a cultural venue with a focus on music, and as a setting for seminars, workshops and private celebrations. After the completion of the first construction phase in 2001, the Institute for Lippe Regional Studies , on behalf of the Lippe Regional Association, organized its own series of concerts with a focus on early music and classical music . Top-class artists such as the Bremer Kaffeehaus-Orchester or historical ensembles under the direction of Jürgen Grüner have been hired for this. Since the end of the renovation work in April 2003, the Institute for Lippe Regional Studies has had a branch at Sternberg Castle.

The castle was monument of the month in Westphalia-Lippe in September 2002 .


  • Christiani Ulrici Groups : Origines Pyrmontanae et Swalenbergicae . Göttingen, 1740
  • W. Weber: The county of Sternberg . Detmold, 1928
  • Wolfram Schwinger: Klingende Burg Sternberg , Musica, Kassel, 1958
  • Klaus Harlan: Sternberg Castle ( Lippische attractions , volume 1), 3rd edition, Lemgo 1984
  • Christian Althoff: family treasure behind castle walls . In: Lippische Landeszeitung 11./12. August, Detmold, 1996
  • Ute Soldan: The Harlan musical instrument collection at Sternberg Castle . Heimatland Lippe, Detmold, 1999
  • Rolf Harmening: Historical building research, chronicle Burg Sternberg . unprinted manuscript, o. O., 2000
  • Martin Salesch: Sternberg Castle (with contributions by Barbara Seifen and Frank Huismann). In: Westfalen, Hefte für Geschichte, Kunst und Volkskunde , Volume 78 (2000), pages 142–182
  • Martin Salesch / Elke Treude: Extertal: Sternberg Castle , In: Ostwestfalen-Lippe - Excursions to archeology, history and culture , Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-8062-2303-3
  • Frank Huismann: Sternberg Castle ( Lippe cultural landscapes , issue 32). Detmold 2016

Web links

Commons : Burg Sternberg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Friedrich Hohenschwert: Der Kreis Lippe II - Guide to archaeological monuments in Germany, Stuttgart 1985, p. 181, p. 32
  2. Stefan Backe: The British flag once waved at the castle. In: Lippische Landeszeitung, p. 19, from April 2, 2010
  4. Instrument making courses on Sternberg , accessed on March 23, 2017