Country outing: magical moments with art and nature

Fancy a slice of art and nature? Or going on a journey of discovery to inspiring places? The Lower Rhine offers the perfect destinations for little cultural trips. Experience the work of creative spirits on a country outing. On a tour with a bike and a picnic blanket, art locations become new favourite spots.

An extremely puzzling object catches the eye and captivates the visitor when walking through the sculpture park at Moyland Castle: ‘The Spinning Oracle of Delphi’ is the title of this work by James Lee Byars, and it is certainly the cultural highlight in the impressive garden at the moated castle. Around 60 sculptures can be seen in the park, which ensure magical moments in harmony with nature.

Great art in the outdoors and for free: the Sculpture Collection in Viersen displays contemporary works; for example, ‘New Star’ by Mark di Suvero, the monumental sculpture ‘China Daily’ by Wang Du and the bronze ‘Articulated Column’ by Anthony Cragg. In the middle of the city around the gallery in the park, the exhibits are freely accessible to everyone. The sculpture park has an excellent reputation and rates among the most important contemporary collections in Germany.

‘Preacher’, ‘Bronze Horse’ and ‘Water Nymph’: these are names of steles that can be found as art objects in public spaces throughout the city of Kaarst. But the large sculpture ‘Bridges over the North Canal’ by Wilhelm Schiefer and the ‘Kinetic Water Feature’ in front of the town hall also belong to the installations, inviting you to take an inspiring tour of the city.

The Mönchengladbach Sculpture Park is located in a former Benedictine parish garden near the Basilica of St Vitus – in the immediate vicinity of Abteiberg Museum. It is picturesquely situated and can be accessed free of charge. The collection comprises works by artists such as Alexander Calder and Maria Lehnen and is part of a five-kilometre-long sculpture mile across Mönchengladbach.

On the planet trail through the solar system

But sculptures don’t always have to be the destination of a cultural country outing. The old Griethausen railway bridge in Cleves is a very special monument. It’s considered to be Central Europe’s oldest railway bridge over the Rhine. It was erected along the Cologne-Netherlands railway line in 1865. Almost 600 metres long, the bridge crosses the Old Rhine and the Rhine meadows and exudes something magical. Rail traffic was discontinued long ago, but the old bridge remains an impressive steel monument. Worth seeing – especially at sunset.

From sunset into space: it’s not a big step from Rees. The planet trail begins just a stone’s throw away from the beautiful Rhine Promenade and the historic city wall. Over a distance of six kilometres, stargazers encounter all the planets in our solar system – from Pluto to Mercury. The sun is the starting point, represented here as a bronze model with a diameter of 1.39 metres. Information boards supply lots of facts about the sun, moon and stars; your personal journey into space begins with a little imagination.

Globally sought-after artist Tim Berresheim has commenced a journey back to his hometown of Heinsberg. His ‘Tour in Pictures’ of computer-based art shows ghostly shapes and surreal compositions. The artworks can only be seen by someone who has a smartphone or iPad to hand and who has downloaded the appropriate app. This enhancement of sensory perception is called augmented reality. The cycle route stretching approximately 90 kilometres along the River Rur leads to 17 stations of virtual image worlds. A country outing that connects art and nature together in a fascinating way. Exciting.

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