Sunday Walk in Heiligenstedten

I have been numerous times to Heiligenstedten,  a small community near the town of Itzehoe, heading straigth to the big  do-it-yourself-store to buy things for the house and garden.

A few days ago, when wondering where to take the dog (and myself) on a walk, I remembered a motorbike trip we took some years ago starting in Heiligenstedten and leading along the Stör. So I decided to start my walk there,  took the car, drove about 15 kilometers  and discovered places, that  once more made me realise how ignorant I have been about the area I am living in.

I parked the car at the  St.-Marien-Kirche zu Heiligenstedten and was surprised to learn from a sign at the churchyard that as early as the  9th century a church had been standing there. The church you see on the picture below  was built at the end of the 13th century and rebuilt in 1580.

St. Marien-Kirche in Heiligenstedten
St. Marien-Kirche in Heiligenstedten
The bell-tower of St. Marien-Kirche
The bell-tower of St. Marien-Kirche
The door handle of St. Marien-Kirche
The door handle of St. Marien-Kirche

It was closed that day, but that only gives me a good reason to take another trip there to get to know the inside of the church.

I continued my walk crossing the Stör at the old bascule bridge. Well, it isn’t that old, the modern version  was built  in 1967,  until then there was a wooden bascule bridge dating from 1777.

The bascule bridge across the Stör at Heiligenstedten
The bascule bridge across the Stör at Heiligenstedten

After crossing the bridge, there is a small cobble stone street on the left,  named  “Schlossstraße”.  I remembered that somewhere I had heard about a “Schloss Heiligenstedten”. I  decided to follow that street and was surprised to come out at a lovely old manor-house, Schloss Heiligenstedten.

Schloss Heiligenstedten
Schloss Heiligenstedten

At home I searched internet about the history of the castle and what I found is not much. However, its latest history seems somehow sad.

Since 1691 the land and the manor-house belonged to the Blome family, one of Schleswig-Holstein’s  25 or 30 families of ancient nobility. It was rebuilt in 1756 after a flood destroyed the old Renaissance building. Between 1851 and 1853 the facade of the Late Baroque  mansion a new  neo-Gothic look.

I couldn’t find out why the family sold the estate to the state of Schleswig-Holstein in 1926, but the last male descendent, Earl Hans Graf Blome, died in Rumania in 1945. The estate was turned into a Borstal. In 1939 it was briefly used as a hospital, but after a short while turned back into a house of correction until the end of the war. Until 1958 it served as shelter for  German refugees and expellees from Middle and Eastern Europe. A phase as being used as a old-people’s-home ended in 1987.

The outbuildings housed a hote and restaurant
The outbuildings housed a hote and restaurant

A private investor bought the estate, according to Wikipedia paying a symbolic amount of 10.000 DM (about 5000 Euro) to the state of Schleswig-Holstein in 1988. It changed ownership soon afterwards and another entrepreneur  invested  about 20.000 000 DM turning the outer buildings  into a hotel and restaurant and adding a big riding hall with boxes for about 50 horses.  At the same time a new and very luxurious housing project should be developed around the castle, including a mall with exclusive stores. Unfortunately,  it didn’t work out. Five years later, in 1998  a beautifully restored estate,  an unfinished housing project and enormous debts remained.

I found an announcement by a real estate company in internet asking for 3. 300 000 million Euros for the estate, but I don’t know whether that is up to date. The castle is closed to the public and decay has settled in. A symbol for an area in Schleswig – Holstein that has lost many of its economic foundations during the last years?

Not open to the public anymore
Locked and forgotten?

10 thoughts on “Sunday Walk in Heiligenstedten

    1. I am sure there are more hidden away places and I am looking forward to finding them! Have a lovely Sunday evening 🙂

  1. hi Trina, lovely post! My friend’s parents, who have ancestors from Heiligenstedten, visited the town from Singapore in August. Your photos are beautiful. I’m writing a post about their journey to trace their ancestry. Would I be able to obtain your permission to use your photos for the blog post? With the appropriate photo credits to you of course! regards, Melissa De Silva (Singapore)

    1. Hi Melissa, thank you for visiting my blog.
      I am happy you like the photos of Heiligenstedten and of course you can use them for your bog post. It will be nice to read your article and learn more about your friend’s parents journey.

      Have a nice day and many regards, Trina

      1. hi Trina,

        So sorry for this very tardy reply! I didn’t realise you had answered! Thank you so much for generously sharing your photos. How would you like me to credit your photos? 🙂

        kind regards,

    1. Hi Melissa, thank you for publishing the photos. It is nice to see them on your page. I do like your blog too!

      I was not aware of the history and community of Eurasians in Singapure and other places in Asia and found it very interesting to read some of the stories.

      All the best for you and your blog!

      1. Thanks Trina! Glad u enjoyed it! If ur ever in Singapore give me a holler! All the best with ur beautiful blog too. I think it’s such an inspiring idea to turn the lens on our own backyard instead of outward. There is so much near and around us to see!

        take care,

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