The castle Stolberg stands on a steep limestone cliffs in the midst of Stolberg old town in Stolberg (Rheinland) in North Rhine-Westphalia Aachen region . It is the symbol, cradle and namesake of the city.
Stolberg Castle was built by the Lords of Stalburg in the 12th century . The Dukes of Jülich pledged the looped system mid-15th century to the Lords of Nesselrode to them as open house to let rebuild. In the middle of the 16th century, Hieronymus von Efferen had the castle expanded after it was destroyed. As a result of marriage, the castle and rule came from the Barons von Efferen to the Imperial Barons Raitz von Frentz . In the 18th and 19th centuries, the castle fell into ruin. The dilapidated complex came into civil possession in 1863 from the last noble owners, the Imperial Counts of Kesselstatt . The Stolberg manufacturer Moritz Kraus had the castle rebuilt in the historicist style since 1888 and donated it to the city in 1909.
Today Stolberg Castle serves as a place for cultural events and as accommodation for various clubs. In the basement there is a gastronomic business and a local and craft museum in the Torburg.
The original name of the facility is Stalburg , in some documents also Stailburg with Dehnungs -i. The Middle High German word “stal” meant “firm” or “steadfast”. Thus “Stalburg” can be interpreted as a “solid castle”. “Stalburg” evolved into “Stolberg” through sound changes over the course of time: The length of the vowel was indicated in later documents by adding a mute e, i or y. At the same time, the long a was dimmed to a long o, which was only shortened to o in the early New High German period. The "Stolberg" form is first documented in 1572. From 1276 to 1756 there is also the spelling “Stollberg”.
The castle extends in a west-east orientation on an oolite rock east of the Vichtbach . Its area is structured by four terrace-like levels that slope down to the south towards the old town of Stolberg. Most of it was made of limestone, which comes from nearby quarries such as the former Burgstüttgen quarry about 500 m southwest of the castle.
In terms of architectural history, two parts of the castle can be distinguished. The first are the buildings of the original, late medieval complex on the highest, first level with a former gun tower , palas , two side towers, Renaissance courtroom and the upper gate , west tower and remains of the curtain wall . The second part includes additions from the 19th and 20th centuries, most of which were built on the second to fourth levels. These include the gate castle, the lower gate building and the castle house. The lower-lying new buildings were all built in the area of the outer bailey and the kennels.
In the east of the complex, near the former castle chapel and today's St. Lucia church , there is a gun turret, which got its current height from 1889. Progressively to the west, the Palas and the court building as well as the west tower as a flanking tower and the upper gate are connected to it. One level below is the lower courtyard to the south of it, which is accessible both via a staircase from the upper courtyard and via a gate castle in the east of the castle area. Part of the Torburg foundation stands on the third level adjoining it in the south, again a little lower down, on which a square tower and a herb garden can be found. From there, the fourth and thus lowest level of the castle area can be reached via a staircase, on which the lower gate and the castle house are located.
The 'Big Tower', north and east tower and upper courtyard
Although the tallest part of the castle, the 'Great Tower', the former gun turret, only has three floors. These have brick arched windows in neo-Romanesque style, the borders of which are made of bluestone . On its outer face marked a circular arc fries the boundary between the second floor and the top platform, which is divided by openings and surmounted by a tent roof. In the northeast there is a smaller tower in front of it, in the southeast another small side tower of the former late medieval fortification. A spiral staircase and an elevator inside the north tower lead to the north-facing upper courtyard. There you will find a covered fountain and the entrance to the palace .
Palas and courtroom
A two-story, hall-like building, which has the function of a foyer and staircase, is in front of the three-storey palace in the north along its entire length . Function rooms such as cloakrooms and toilets are located on the ground floor. A staircase at the eastern end leads up to a landing, from which another staircase leads to the first level of the Great Tower and to the second floor of the foyer with four north-facing windows.
On this second floor is the entrance to the knight's hall , which takes up the entire area of the palace and represents the largest room in the entire castle complex. Three cross-frame windows are let into the south wall. On the north side facing the vestibule are the four original Gothic exterior windows with benches and a door. A door in its west wall leads to the former courtroom, which has another entrance on the second floor of the foyer.
The hall has stepped gables that delimit a pitched roof . Its top floor is occupied by the so-called gallery, which can be reached via a staircase in the courthouse and a small room above it or via the first floor of the Great Tower. It extends over the area of the knight's hall and offers a view of the open roof structure. There is a terrace in front of it on the north side , which takes up the roof area of the foyer. The gallery is illuminated by a window to the east on St. Lucia and three windows each to the south and the terrace.
West tower and upper gateway
The three-storey flanking tower to the west with an onion dome from the Renaissance period is connected to the courthouse by a battlement that runs over a round archway. This is followed by a single-storey gate building with two rooms. Stairs under the archway lead down to the lower courtyard in the south.
Torburg, lower gate and castle house
The Torburg delimits the castle area in the southeast of the complex and was the most recent addition in 1909. It is made entirely of quarry stone and adjoins the castle rock at the height of the Great Tower. Their irregular, three-winged floor plan is due to the topographical features of the castle rock and the old town development.
In the south of the castle on Luciaweg there is the lower gate building with a courtyard-side battlement and an adjoining, small inner courtyard from which the so-called castle house can be reached. This is a two-wing building that was only erected at the beginning of the 20th century. It has two storeys, the façade of which is half-timbered on the courtyard side .
A tunnel under the castle dates from an unknown time. Its construction is likely in the 16th to 18th centuries, an unlikely and unproven interpretation places the origin in the time the castle was built around 1450. The approximately 150 meter long tunnel system leads from a courtyard on Burgstraße to a building in Klatterstraße below Along the outer bailey.
The reason why the tunnels were created is not known. It is documented that the castle tunnels served as a cooling room for a local brewery and as a wine store for Stolberg's gastronomy in the 19th and early 20th centuries. During the Second World War , the tunnels were expanded as an air raid shelter.
The historical development of Stolberg Castle to its present-day appearance essentially took place in three phases. From the second half of the 15th century, the castle complex was rebuilt on the ruins of a previous building under Wilhelm I von Nesselrode and his son Wilhelm II. After damage during the Geldrian feud , Hieronymus von Efferen had the damage repaired after 1542. A third construction phase began after 1888 under the factory owner Moritz Kraus, who had the dilapidated buildings rebuilt and at the same time carried out renovations and extensions.
Renardus von Stalburg is now considered to be the likely founder of the castle complex , which was founded in the 11th or 12th century.
When Johann IV von Reifferscheid appointed Emund von Barmen as administrator in 1364, he was required to build 400 guilders into the buildings. An extension or repair are possible for this investment.
In a state peace execution by the state peace alliance Maas-Rhein against servants of Reinhard II von Schönforst , all buildings were probably razed and made uninhabitable, as it was not possible at that time to buy oneself free from the accusation of breach of the peace through monetary payments or reparations . In the following years, therefore, probably only ruins crowned the castle rock.
The pledge of Stolberg to Wilhelm von Nesselrode was linked to the condition that a possible new castle should be built as an open house for the Duke of Jülich. Work on it began around 1450. After the new building, Stolberg Castle presented itself as a complex with a palas, gun turret, side towers, gate and enclosing walls.
Renaissance and early modern times
During the Geldrian feud, the complex was attacked and burned down in October 1542 by the Prince of Orange , René de Chalon . The severe fire damage that occurred in the process was repaired by 1544. Hieronymus von Efferen had, among other things, provided the hall with a high roof and stepped gables.
18th and 19th centuries
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the entire complex gradually fell into ruin. In 1756 the facility was damaged by a regionally significant earthquake. In the 19th century, the habitable buildings served as emergency shelter for the homeless and housed workshops for craftsmen. At the time of the sale for demolition to the Welter couple in 1863, it was in a very dilapidated condition. The police housing ban due to the deterioration led to the sale by the noble owners. Welter began the demolition of the gun turret, which he laid down in parts by blowing up. No further measures were taken by him.
20th century to the present
The Stolberg metal manufacturer Moritz Kraus acquired the castle ruins in 1888 and had them rebuilt like a castle in the style of the romanticizing historicism typical of the time according to plans by the Stolberg architect Carl Wilhelm Schleicher and the Cologne architect Alfred Müller-Grah . In addition to the reconstruction of the gun turret, which was destroyed by Welter's powder blasts, new architectural elements such as battlements and battlements were added to the buildings. Some new buildings were also built. The turret, which was raised to the 'Great Tower', was, for example, added to the north by an archway that connected it to the north tower, which was in turn raised. To the north of the west tower, a massive square tower was built as an elevator tower, and Kraus placed a hall in front of the palace on its north side along the entire length of the building. Likewise, today's outer bailey is a new creation from this phase of construction. The work lasted around 25 years, with temporary interruptions, and was not yet completed when Kraus donated the castle to the city of Stolberg in 1909. In accordance with the contract, the city completed the facility in 1909 with the construction of the Torburg.
During the Second World War, the castle was only slightly damaged, but efforts were made to demolish the complex and use its stones to rebuild the numerous destroyed residential buildings in Stolberg or to extract building lime. But with reference to the modalities of the deed of donation, which obliged the city to "keep Stolberg Castle forever" , the then city cultural officer Franz Willems and the technical assistant Dahmen succeeded in maintaining the landmark. The first security measures on the part of the city took place in 1949.
On June 2, 1950, the Stolberger Burgverein was founded to promote the restoration of the complex. His efforts were successful: on November 11, 1951, the first renovation and dismantling work began, which lasted until 1953 and ensured that the building fabric was preserved. Some of the late historic building elements were removed. Those responsible decided to have the work on the castle aimed at creating a structural condition similar to that of the time under Hieronymus von Efferen. The building should therefore be cleared of excessive and all too annoying ornaments. Moritz Kraus' "romanticizing historicism" was replaced by a "scientific historicism". Because the building that is being built appears to be an architectural mixture, since the ingredients of the 19th century were not completely removed, but based on the more recent image of the Middle Ages. The front and gate castle was left almost in the original. The west tower was again given an onion dome based on an earlier model from the Renaissance period, while the eastern round towers were given tent roofs. The hall building was freed from the roof cores and the wide neo-Gothic windows. The many additional side towers were cut and raised to inconspicuous heights. Numerous other renovation and reconstruction work followed, the costs of which amounted to 2.3 million DM until the castle was rededicated in November 1987.
Residents and owners
- Noblemen of Stalburg (until 1237)
- Noblemen of Frentz (1237 to around 1320)
- Noblemen of Randerath (around 1320-1324)
- Noblemen of Reifferscheidt (1324 to around 1372)
- Knight of Schönforst (around 1372-1396)
- Dukes of Jülich (1396–1447)
- Lords of Nesselrode (1447–1496)
- Barons of Efferen (1496–1649)
- Imperial Barons Raitz von Frentz (1649–1777)
- Imperial Count of Kesselstatt (1777–1863)
- Richard Welter (1863-1888)
- Moritz Kraus (1888–1909)
- City of Stolberg (from 1909)
12th and 13th centuries
Historically secured findings about Stolberg Castle are only available for the period after 1100. In the 12th century a noble family of the Stalburg (also Stahlburg ) is mentioned in documents. Its member, the Free Renardus von Stalburg, probably built the first castle on the castle rock.
After 1237 Stolberg Castle probably came from Wilhelm von Stalburg to Wilhelm, Harper and Wirich I. von Frentz under circumstances that are not yet known . The latter died together with Count Wilhelm IV of Jülich on the night of March 16-17, 1278 - the so-called Gertrudis Night - in Aachen . While trying to collect a special tax for King Rudolf I of Habsburg, he was slain by angry citizens of Aachen.
In a document dated May 9, 1263, the nobleman Wilhelm I von Frenz is accepted as a citizen in the city of Cologne and receives an annual allocation of 20 marks from the city of Cologne. In return, he undertook to come to the aid of the city of Cologne with an armed hand for an expense allowance of six marks a month. Wilhelm's son of the same name from his first marriage to Sophia von Hückeswagen waived the annual donation of 20 marks in a document dated August 1277 in return for an unspecified, freely available payment from the city of Cologne. In return, he makes Stolberg Castle, here referred to as his allod , available to the city of Cologne and receives it back as an eternal civil loan. This was the first time that the Stolberg reign became a clear feudal dependency.
After Wilhelm II's death, his wife, Mechthildis von Reifferscheidt, called herself Mistress von Stoylburch . Since her son Wirich died childless, her daughter Hadewigis inherited the property from Frentz-Reifferscheidt zu Stolberg and Setterich and brought it to Arnold, nobleman of Randerath, through her second marriage. Both transferred the castle and rule of Stolberg in 1324 to Hadewigis' relatives, the noblewoman Richarda von Salm-Reifferscheidt , widow of Johann III, who died early. by Reifferscheidt.
14th and 15th centuries
When Richarda died around 1350, the inheritance went to her son Johann IV, who was Marshal of Westphalia . In 1364 he appointed the knight Edmund von Barmen as castle administrator for seven years. Presumably it was the heirs of Johann IV who sold the castle to Reinhard II von Schönforst around 1372. However, he still resided in Schönforst near Aachen, Burgmannen lived at Stolberg Castle , who presumably hired themselves as robber barons. Therefore, the Landfriedensbund between the Rhine and Maas besieged the complex and announced the feud to Reinhard II, in the course of which the castle was razed. Since this means was also used to harm opponents, an unfounded accusation of robber baron activity is also possible.
In 1396 the Schönforst Castle was built by Duke Wilhelm III. conquered by Jülich and Geldern . The Schönforster property including the Stolberg was incorporated into the Duchy of Jülich.
Gerhard von Jülich-Berg pledged Staelburg uf der Veicht (steel castle above the Vicht) in June 1445 to his adviser and friend Wilhelm I von Nesselrode with the condition that a new castle be built on the mountain there. Only two years later, Stolberg was raised to a subordinate position and declared a hereditary fief of the von Nesselrode family. “Stolberg, which until then had belonged to families of the high nobility, had now become a fief of the lower nobility, a ministerial family whose knights were not, like the noble lords of Stalburg, von Frenz and von Reifferscheid, landlords of Stolberg, but subordinates of the lords of Jülich in the rule or glory of Stolberg were. "
Wilhelm II von Nesselrode inherited his father in 1471. But since his wife Adriane von Arendahl had brought the Rheydt rulership into the marriage, he preferred to live at the Rheydt Castle there. In 1483 he transferred the castle and rule to his relative Bertram von Nesselrode zu Ehrenstein because he himself was childless. But Bertram had no children either, so he passed the property on to his nephew Bertram von Gevertshagen (called Lützenrode ) on the same day . That Bertram and his wife Margareta Spoir returned Stolberg to Duke Wilhelm von Jülich-Berg in 1496 .
16th and 17th centuries
Only nine days later Wilhelm von Jülich-Berg enfeoffed the Junker Vinzenz von Efferen with Stolberg. The fief deed speaks of Stolberg as a hereditary poison for the first time. Accordingly, at that time it was no longer a male loan, but female family members were now also entitled to inheritance. Vincent's son Hieronymus from his marriage to Johanna von Merode-Schlossberg took over the succession to Stolberg Castle in 1532. He was a confidante of Duke Wilhelm V of Jülich-Kleve-Berg , who appointed him ducal artillery and equipment master. After his death in 1552 a woman became the first owner: Hieronymus' wife Anna von Nesselrode . When she died in 1559, her two sons Johann and Wilhelm followed.
Wilhelm was a member of the Teutonic Order and for this reason stayed only very rarely in Stolberg. His brother Johann, on the other hand, was to have a decisive influence on the Stolberg history. He supported the Protestant copper masters , most of whom came from Aachen, for example by making the Catholic castle chapel available to supporters of the Reformed faith for regular services. John's deeds and religious tolerance laid the foundation not only for an ever-growing Protestant community in Stolberg, but also for the economic upswing that the copper masters initiated.
During the Eighty Years War , Spanish mercenaries under Colonel Don Gaston occupied the castle for six weeks in December 1606 and looted it.
After Johann's death, his brother Wilhelm transferred the property to his cousin's children, Wilhelm Adolf and Johann Dietrich von Efferen, after barely six months in 1608. Since they were minors at the time of the transfer, their guardian, the Worms Bishop Wilhelm von Efferen , was enfeoffed with the rule. When Wilhelm Adolf died, his brother Johann Dietrich became the sole owner of the castle and in 1638 the emperor raised him to the status of a baron. His heir, Odilia, Baroness von Efferen, brought the castle to the family of her husband, Ferdinand Freiherr Raitz von Frentz zu Kendenich, who like his father was a treasurer of the Electorate of Cologne .
18th century to the present
Ferdinand's son Franz Carl took over his Stolberg inheritance in 1691. After his death, his widow married Anton Heinrich Freiherr von Cortenbach zu Altenhagen, whom the Jülich Duke Karl Philipp enfeoffed with Stolberg in 1735. Franz Carl's relatives, however, appealed to the court against Maria Anna's inheritance and were able to win the lengthy process that followed in January 1745. The rule came to the descendants of the first man, in this case three female, married members of the von Frentz zu Kendenich family, whose husbands were enfeoffed equally with the castle and rule of Stolberg after the trial.
In 1777, Frentz's property was divided in the Bollheim general contract. Stolberg came to the family of the Counts von Kesselstatt, descendants of Antonetta Franziska Theresia Isabella von Frentz zu Kendenich. Hugo Johann Casimir Edmund von Kesselstatt zu Föhren and his wife Maria Catharina Elisabeth Freiin von Knebel von Katzenelnbogen were expropriated as early as 1794 after French revolutionary troops occupied areas on the left bank of the Rhine. As a result of the Congress of Vienna , Stolberg fell to Prussia in 1815 , who returned the castle to the Counts of Kesselstatt.
Joseph Franz von Kesselstatt sold the castle in 1863 to Richard and Maria Katharina Welter for 4,000 marks. In 1888 the Stolberg manufacturer Moritz Kraus bought the dilapidated castle complex from their heirs for 3,000 marks in order to have it rebuilt. In April 1909 Kraus donated the castle to the citizens of Stolberg as inalienable property, and so it is still owned by the city today. After the donation, the premises remained unused for the time being, with the exception of the knight's hall. The hall was used to hold public, city events such as meetings of the city council. It was not until 1930 that a further permanent user came with a group from the Federal New Germany who maintained his clubhouse in the castle. After 1933 the castle was expanded and used by the SA and other Nazi organizations.
During the Second World War, American troops took the castle complex on September 21, 1944 after hard fighting with soldiers of the German Wehrmacht. In the following 13 years the buildings could not be used at all due to war damage. It was not until 1956 that events were held again in the restored knight's hall.
The lower and upper courtyard are freely accessible during the day. The interior of the castle is open to visitors every day except Mondays. A fee is only charged for guided tours. The castle serves as a cultural center for various events and, in addition to a museum, also houses a restaurant.
Culture and clubs
The knight's hall and the adjoining courtroom, the so-called wedding room, are now used for cultural events such as readings, chamber concerts, carnival activities and marriages and can also be rented for private celebrations. In addition, a gallery was set up on the upper floor of the Palas, in which exhibitions take place regularly.
While the two rooms of the upper gate building are available to the Stolberg scout tribe of the German Scouting Society St. Georg, the castle house is used today as the clubhouse of the Stolberg carnival society "Fidele Zunfthäre".
Museum in the Torburg
The Torburg , newly built by Moritz Kraus, has been home to a local history and craft museum since September 1983, which is run by an association and is open in the afternoons on weekends and on public holidays. Initially operating as the Stolberg Industrial Museum, it was subsequently called the Museum of Local History and Craftsmen for a long time . The current name is Museum in der Torburg .
Exhibits relating to glass, copper, brass and soap production can be seen on four floors. It is also home to some historical workshops such as a cobbler's shop, saddlery or blacksmith's shop, as well as a coffee roastery that operates all year round, while the other workshops demonstrate the historical craftsmanship during the Advent weekends. The museum provides information in the basement about the geology of Stolberg u. a. with minerals and fossils as well as mining. The museum operators also maintain a herb garden on the third level of the castle grounds, in which local aromatic and medicinal herbs typical of the area are grown.
Medieval events take place twice a year at the castle: During the Burgritterlager of the Stolberg Interest Group in the Middle Ages , visitors are offered old handicrafts, camp life and demonstrations. In addition, a medieval market is held on the castle grounds as part of the city festival.
Other events that take place once a year are the Thanksgiving Festival and the Christmas market ( Kupferstädter Christmas Days ) on Advent weekends, where artisans offer their products for sale and demonstrate their craft. In addition, the Burgrave Festival and the proclamation of the Prince Carnival take place once a year in the walls of the castle.
- Christian Altena: The building history of Stolberg Castle from the 12th to the 19th century . Aachen 2012 (Master's thesis RWTH Aachen University, Chair of Building History and Monument Preservation).
- Christian Altena: Tour through Stolberg Castle. With 19 historical essays . Books On Demand, Norderstedt 2014, ISBN 978-3-7357-5932-0 .
- Christian Altena: The historicist reconstruction of Stolberg Castle 1888–1909 . In: Preservation of monuments in the Rhineland (ed. LVR Office for Preservation of Monuments in the Rhineland), No. 1/2015, Klartext Verlag, Essen 2015, pp. 6–13.
- Christian Altena: The history of Stolberg Castle . In: Eifeljahrbuch 2015. Ed .: Eifelverein, Düren 2015. pp. 162–171.
- August Brecher: History of the city of Stolberg in data . Meyer & Meyer, Aachen 1990, ISBN 3-89124-100-3 .
- Willi Frentz, Franz Willems: The lords of the castle Vinzenz, Hieronymus, Johann and Johann Dietrich von Efferen, especially their life and work in Stolberg (= contributions to the Stolberg story 5). Burg-Verlag, Stolberg 1993, ISBN 3-926830-08-5 .
- Matthias Kordel: The most beautiful palaces and fortresses in the Eifel. Wartberg, Gudensberg-Gleichen 1999, ISBN 3-86134-482-3 , pp. 76-77.
- Ernst von Oidtman : The castle in Stolberg and its owners, especially the noble lords of Stolberg-Frenz-Setterich . In: Zeitschrift des Aachener Geschichtsverein , 15, 1893, ISSN 0065-0137 , pp. 1–17. Reprinted by Franz Willems, Stadtbücherei, Stolberg 1954 (= contributions to Stolberg history and local history. Issue 1, ZDB -ID 2293297-5 ).
- Andreas Roderburg: History of Stolberg Castle. In: Andreas Roderburg (Ed.): Stolberg, Rhineland. Contributions to the history and culture of the old copper city. Fritz, Düsseldorf 1927, p. 34f.
- Helmut Schreiber: Stolberg lords and women of the castle. 1118–1909 (= contributions to the Stolberg story 25). Burg-Verlag Gastinger, Stolberg 2001, ISBN 3-926830-16-6 .
- Franz Willems: History of the Stolberg Castle after 1888. In: Ernst von Oidtman: The castle of Stolberg and its owners, especially the noblemen of Stolberg-Frenz-Setterich . Reprinted by Franz Willems, Stadtbücherei, Stolberg 1954 (= contributions to Stolberg history and local history. Issue 1, ZDB -ID 2293297-5 )
- Franz Willems: Stolberg lords and their descendants in documents of Rhenish history (1118–1496) (= contributions to Stolberg history and local history 2 & 3). 2 parts, Leufgens, Stolberg 1955.
- Franz Willems: Stolberg castle lords from the Overstolz-Efferen family (= contributions to Stolberg history and local history 4a). Part 1, Leufgens, Stolberg 1962.
- Website of the city of Stolberg about the castle
- Website of the museum in the Torburg
- Numerous pictures of the castle, current and historical
- Reconstruction drawings:  and 
- ^ Roland Walter : Aachen and southern surroundings. Geological Guide Collection Volume 100 Borntraeger, Stuttgart 2010, p. 158
- ^ Georg Dehio : Handbook of German art monuments, NRW I, Rhineland . 2005.
- ↑ Open Monument Day 2009, Aachen district , October 1, 2009.
- ↑ Aachener Nachrichten of September 13, 2009: Queuing in front of the castle tunnels , accessed on October 1, 2009.
- ↑ erste-grosse.de ( Memento of 9 October 2007 at the Internet Archive ), Stand: October 10 of 2007.
- ↑ A. Brecher: History of the city of Stolberg in data . 1990, p. 10
- ^ Franz Willems: Stolberger Burgherren and their descendants in documents of Rhenish history (1118–1496) , part II, p. 67
Coordinates: 50 ° 46 ′ 1 ″ N , 6 ° 13 ′ 58 ″ E