Berum Castle

Berum Castle
Burg Berum

Berum Castle
Berum Castle
Shown within Lower Saxony, Germany
Coordinates 53°36′05″N 7°17′50″E / 53.6014°N 07.2973°E / 53.6014; 07.2973
Type Moated castle in a village
Site information
Open to
the public
Condition Largely demolished
Site history
Built c.1310
Demolished 1764
Tower of Berum Castle in 2007, as seen from the street

Berum Castle is located in the Berum district the East Frisian town of Hage. It is one of the most important sites in East Frisian history.


We can no longer identify exactly when the Castle was built. It is first mentioned in a document of 1310, as the seat of a member of the Syrtza (or Sytze) family who was a chieftain of the Norden area. It is unknown for how long that family had already resided at this location.

In the 15th Century, the castle was inherited by the Cirksena family. In 1443, Count Ulrich I of East Frisia expanded the castle to a château, consisting of a main castle with three wings, plus a front castle. On 1 June 1445, he celebrated his marriage to Theda Ukena, the granddaughter of his main rival, Focko Ukena, in Berum Castle. Ever since then, the castle has played a significant rôle in the history of East Frisia.

Adolph, the son of Count Gerhard VI of Oldenburg, was held captive at Berum Castle from 1465 to 1481 after Oldenburg had invaded East Frisia.

In the late 16th century, count Edzard II extended the castle further to a moated castle in Renaissance style. This extension was completed in 1591 with the construction of a spire. After Edzard's death, his widow, Catherine, a daughter King Gustav I of Sweden extended the castle further, adding, among other extensions, a chapel. From then on, the castle was used by the Cirksena family as the widow's residence.

On 28 January 1600, the Treaty of Berum was signed at the castle. Under this treaty, East Frisia purchased the Harlingerland from the County of Rietberg.

On 17 April 1628, Berum Castle was the scene of a tragic accident. The imperial army under general Matthias Gallas had been quartered in the castle. The 26-year-old Count Rudolpf Christian got embroiled in a fight with a lieutenant of the imperial army. He was stung in his left eye and died of his wound.

Under Christine Charlotte, who lived here from 1690 to 1699 as the widow of Prince George Christian, the castle was again renovated, making Berum one of the most magnificent princely palaces in Germany.

Baroque gatehouse

After Prussia took over East Frisia in 1744, there was no more use for a widow's residence and the castle fell into disrepair. The main castle was demolished in 1764 and the precious furniture was sold off. Until 1764, Berum Castle had had four wings and a heavy rectangular tower on the northwest corner. It was protected by a massive wall and a double ring moat. The parts remaining today are the front castle, a long brick building attached to the defensive wall with a brick gate tower, and the former baroque gate passage. This portal is flanked by two columns; the pediment show the coat of arms of Princess Christine Charlotte. The out wall and the outer moat still exists, and in the south are the remains of the baroque garden of 1712.

Today the facility is privately owned and serves as a guesthouse. For example, Federal President Horst Köhler spent his summer vacation in 2006 at Berum Castle.

External links

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