Road Trip #6
Updated: May 23
Exploring Petershagen, Thedinghausen and Bremen.
After a longer break, we got into the electric car again last week Friday. We headed to Bremen, making two pit stops in Petershagen and Thedinghausen.
Our first stop was at Petershagen Castle in North Rhine-Westphalia. Petershagen Castle is a water castle, which was originally built around 1306. It was commissioned by Minden Bishop Gottfried von Waldeck. Between 1544 and 1547, the original castle was converted into a Weser Renaissance style castle. The conversion was commissioned by Bishop Franz von Waldeck and carried out by the master mason Jörg Unkair.
After the Thirty Year War, the castle severed as a seat to the Minden government and it deteriorated strongly. Several buildings on the site of the castle collapsed and some were demolished. Moreover, in 1780, the main roof of the castle’s staircase was destroyed by a fire.
In 1901, the castle was bought by Heinrich Hestermann, who was a farmer and a member of the Reichstag. He renovated the castle, making it inhabitable again. During the Second World War, the castle was temporarily occupied by the British Army. Yet, after the war, it was returned to the Hestermann family. From 1964 to 1967, the family extensively renovated the castle, and it became a hotel as of 1967. Later, a discotheque, a furniture store, a restaurant, a heated swimming pool and a wine cellar were also opened on the site. The Hestermann family closed down the hotel in August 2018 and the castle has been up for sale since.
Our second stop was at the Thedinghausen manor, located along the River Weser in Lower Saxony. The manor was built in 1619 in the Weser Renaissance style. It was commission by the Evangelical Lutheran Archbishop Johann Friedrich von Bremen for his lover, Gertrud von Hermeling-Heimbruch. (Gertrud von Hermeling-Heimbruch however passed away in 1620, before the construction was completed.) The manor has changed ownership countless times over the course of its history. Since 1999, it has been owned by the municipality of Thedinghausen and it is open for the public to visit.
Our final stop was Bremen, which is the largest city along the River Weser. In Bremen, we took a walk through the city center to see the Essighaus, the Stadtwaage, and the town hall.
We started our walk through Bremen at the Essighaus (or “Vinegar House”). The house was built for the merchant family Esich in 1618. It was built in the style of the Weser Renaissance by master mason Ernst Crossmann. Over the course of its history, the Essighaus has housed merchants, a brewery, a vinegar factory, a wine bar and a private banking house.
As the building had deteriorated significantly by the 1890s, it was due to be demolished. Notably, in 1893, the South Kensington Museum in London applied to purchase the building. The museum planned to preserve and rebuild the facade of the building in England. The Essighaus was, however, not sold to the museum. Instead, the architect Albert Dunkel attempted a restoration onsite with funds from a private foundation. As the funds were insufficient, the wine trading company, Reidemeister & Ulrichs, bought the house for 125 000 marks in 1897.
The house originally had five floors and a magnificent facade with sandstone sculptures. Yet, all but the ground floor was destroyed in the Second World War. A partial reconstruction was done in the 1956. Since 1985, the building has been the headquarters of the Deutsche Factoring Bank.
Built between 1586 and 1588 by Lüder von Bentheim, the Stadtwaage is a Weser Renaissance building made of brick with sandstone decorations. The Stadtwaage originally housed the city's urban weighing system or public scales, as well as a grain storage. (To determine taxes and duties as well as protect customers from fraud, traders had weigh their goods at these public scales.)
Later on, the Stadtwaage housed the tax and land registry office (in 1877-1925) and the first radio broadcaster of Bremen (in 1927-1944). The building was bombed in the Second World War, leaving only parts of its outer walls standing. Its reconstruction began immediately after the war, but this was only completed in 1961. The building now contains an event hall, and it is the seat of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.
The town hall of Bremen is considered one of the most important buildings of the Brick Gothic and Weser Renaissance styles. Accordingly, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2004. The town hall was originally planned and built in Gothic style around 1400. From 1545 to 1550, it was extended by three floors, which were built in the style of the Weser Renaissance. In 1682 to 1683, a further enlargement took place – this time in Baroque style. The building survived the Second World War with little damage. It currently houses the Senate and the Mayor of Bremen.
It was nice to get back on the road after a longer break! I few more trips planned for the coming week, so you will be hearing from me again soon.