Castle Knippenburg

"Beautifully located on the right river bank of the Elms, the other side surrounded by old trees, gardens and ponds sites the eminent building of the grounds. It is an interesting, old building in medieval style, like other buildings of the old Westfaalse families."

That is the way the romantic poet Luise Hensel looked at the castle Knippenburg which she visited multiple times around 1830.

Still it is unknown when and in what way the Knippenburg was constructed and of what family the Knippenbergs came from. The first writing about the area (Bahnhofstraßr - between Hauptbahnhof and Südbahnhof) was in 1385 as "Castrum Knippenburg".

According to historian P.L. Devens, the previous Brandenburgs feudal estate was irredeemable family possession until it fell into the hands of the family Von Der Loe, through marriage or Rorich von der Knippenberg with Walter von der Loe. After that the castle was in the possession of the families Von Heyden, Von Bellinghausen and in the year 1700 the family Von Asbeck. In the Kohl wars of 1583 and 1599 the castle served as a stronghold, which could be seen of the oval shooting holes.

On June 9th, 1821 Landrat Friedrich Karl Devens bought the castle and grounds Knippenburg from Freiherr von Fürstenberg and in 1885 the Rheinische Stahlwerke gained possession of it. The castle, an old chivalric estate, typical for Niederrhein and Westfalen contained the castle, six outbuildings, wagon sheds, porter's and coachman's buildings, an armory, large sheds for the horses, cows and pigs, a butchery, large supply buildings, a winter garden, a large spring garden and fish ponds, moats, castle gardens and a ten acres park. This is what the castle looked like until 1889.

But when the Arenbergse N.V. for mine industry and blast furnace started digging in the area, the castle grounds turned into lakes and swamps. In 1878 the results of the building of the mines became visible. Cracks appeared in the walls and when it rained the castle and the six side buildings flooded.

July 10th, 1884 the royal health officer Dr. Albers declared the castle Knippenburg uninhabitable. At that time the castle was surrounded by swamps and sewers and the drinking water became a danger for health. Dr. Albers was infected by some sort of malaria after his visit.

After a lawsuit that Fraulein Devens, the habitant of the castle Knippenburg held against the Arenbergse N.V., the Arenbergse N.V. was convicted of "the commitment of the Arenbergse N.V. to compensate Fraulein Devens of House Knippenburg at Bottrop for all the damage to the grounds and buildings, and the not yet existing damage, which amounts will be stated in the future."

After 1885, when the castle was in possession of the Arenbergse N.V. the state of the building slowly deteriorated. In the second world war about eighty percent of the building was destroyed. Neither Rheinstahl N.V., the city of Bottrop or the historical building society wanted to provide financial means to save one of the most beautiful water castles in Westfalen. As a result the castle Knippenburg was demolished in 1962.

The demolisher had so many problems demolishing the house that he had to use dynamite to break the walls (which were yards thick). And that is where the history of the Knippenburg castle ends.



From the Bottrop Newspaper
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