Palaces to fall in love with

Haunting ghosts, traces of the nobility, old defensive walls: palaces and castles hold a great fascination for us. They’re important witnesses of our history and significant cornerstones for the development of our cultural landscape – and fire our imagination. The Lower Rhine has countless of these historic structures to offer. Climb aboard. We take you on a journey of discovery to the major castles and palaces along the Lower Rhine.

We begin our journey (without any claim to completeness) in the south of the Lower Rhine in Jüchen in the Rhine District of Neuss. Dyck Castle almost renders you speechless at first sight: it’s a Baroque masterpiece on four islands. And taking centre stage is an enormous English-style landscaped garden. Rating: it’s a must-see.

But in fact that applies to all of the stops on our journey of discovery. Such as the mediaeval toll fortress Zons with its enormous fortifications. Its alleyways and fortified towers right on the Rhine are very well preserved, despite all the damage over the centuries, and are a worthwhile trip into the past for the whole family.

Large parks shape the surroundings of Rheydt and Wickrath castles in Mönchengladbach. While the moated castle of Rheydt houses a museum today, the casemates serving as a reminder of its past as a fortress, Wickrath Castle is the centre of horse breeding in the Rhineland.

Rapunzel, let down your hair

Even more greenery and water surround Krickenbeck Castle in the District of Viersen. It is at the centre of Schwalm-Nette Nature Park and forms the hub of the Krickenbeck Lakes. With its towers and playful façades, it’s the epitome of a fairytale castle. Rapunzel, let down your hair! Unfortunately, you can only see it from a distance – it’s not accessible to the public.

Less playful and appearing even more well-fortified for it with its moat and bastions, is Castle Linn in Krefeld. It was fought over and besieged as early as in the Thirty Years’ War. Today, Linn Castle is an important museum complex, and the park was incorporated into the Garden Route between the Rhine and Meuse rivers. Just pop in sometime!

‘Mooiland’ is derived from the Dutch, meaning ‘beautiful country’. Moyland is the name of a neo-Gothic moated castle that ranks as one of the most significant contemporary museums in Germany with its collection of works by Joseph Beuys. Another fairytale castle whose playful architecture and large park inspires fits of rapture and daydreaming and makes visitors forget time and space.

Visible from a considerable distance, Swan Castle in Kleve (Cleves) towers over the Lower Rhine. The imposing tower in particular characterises the silhouette of the city on the border with the Netherlands. Incidentally, the name of the castle supposedly stems from the legendary Knight of the Swan Elias Lohengrin. Yet another story that gives rise to daydreaming. But Swan Castle is much more austere nowadays: it houses the judicial authorities.

High above the city of Wassenberg stands the impressive donjon, a hilltop castle that was built in the first half of the 15th century (1400–1420). Once residence to Wassenberg’s bailiffs and reeves, the donjon is used for cultural purposes today and serves as an observation tower with a roof terrace from where you can let your eyes wander as far as the Rur and Meuse valleys.

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