Darlene Foster's Blog

Bad Bentheim: Castles, Dungeons and Apple Strudel

Posted on: May 26, 2016

On our recent visit to Holland, we took a day trip to Germany to the charming town of Bad Bentheim, just across the border. Bad in German means bath, and this is a popular spa town. In the middle sits a fabulous medieval castle. You know how much I love castles, and this was a great one to explore. Castle Bentheim is the largest hilltop castle in northwest Germany with a recorded history from 1050. For the past five centuries, it has been owned by the Counts and Princes of Bentheim and Steinfurt.

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Burg Bentheim

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The castle keep called the Pulverturn or powder tower

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As we approach the entrance to this massive fortified castle, we are greeted by sheep grazing on the grounds.

Kronenburg Castle

Kronenburg Castle

No one resides in Kronenburg Castle anymore, but it is now a museum depicting how the lords of the castle lived. Both Otto von Bismarck and KaiserWilhelmI once stayed here as guests.

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The Hall of Knights

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A guest bedchamber

My favourite part included the castle keep which holds the dungeon. One of the oldest buildings in the castle, it dates back to the 11th and 12th centuries.

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In the interior of the tower is a small opening in the floor called “the hole of fear.” It is the only entry to the windowless dungeon 12 meters below. In the Middle Ages, this was the Castle jail.  Entrance to the dungeon is only accessible by means of a rope winch installed above the “hole of fear”.  A bit creepy!

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At the top of the tower are panoramic views of the town and countryside.

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The simple Gothic chapel features a two-sided Madonna, carved in 1503, hanging freely from the ceiling. Both sides depict the front of the Madonna.

 

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In the courtyard is an early Romanesque stone cross of the Crucified Christ discovered in 1828. Called the “Herrgott of Bentheim,” it was created around 1000 A.D. and is considered one of the earliest portrayals of Christ in Central Europe.

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The library holds copies of old books, Bibles, and music sheets. Fascinating.

Happily exploring a medieval German castle

Happily exploring a medieval German castle

Schlosspark

Schlosspark

Schlosspark sits beneath the castle with well-manicured gardens and a lovely fountain in the middle. The entire setting is from a fairy tale.

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We couldn’t leave Bad Bentheim, and Germany, without sampling the apple strudel. It was as good as it looks! A great day trip and a chance for me to practise the little German I know.

47 Responses to "Bad Bentheim: Castles, Dungeons and Apple Strudel"

It looks pretty good! thanks for tip for my next trip. Bye. Kamila

You would love it!!

Love German apple strudel……love the architecture of the castle and the history. We toured Germany years ago and the castles had me in total awe….great pictures and great post!!

Thanks, Kirt. The German castles are amazing. Glad you enjoyed the post!

Sheep, castles and apple strudel, what a grand day out.

It doesn’t get much better!

Guten tag, Frau Foster! I too love Germany and think it is perfect for fairy tale settings. I am sure you will be back, as once it just isn’t enough. We’ve been 3 times and visited different areas and can never get enough of it. Apfel strudel is just divine! 👍

Danke! We have been to Germany once before on a cruise down the Danube and certainly plan to visit again. We love Apfel strudel!!

Fascinating Castle, the dungeon sends chills up my spine. I have not been to Germany, but would love to visit soon. Apple strudel..yummy!

The castle was a nice surprise. I do hope you get to Germany as it is a fascinating country.

Used to live in apts with many Czech people. They made such delicious apple strudel. I tried to make some myself but it just did not taste right. Then they told me: don’t use butter as back in the old country they use duck grease.

Now we have the secret! My German grandmother made an excellent apple strudel too.

My word…it is gorgeous! And the stairs going down to the dungeon — how authentic is that? And strudel…what a perfect end to a perfect day!

It was indeed a perfect day!! Love those stairs too.

the dining room is huge, the guest bedroom could stand in for the ballroom and there is but a tiny hole in the floor for the people you don’t like. CRrreeeepy. This part gives me shivers. No-one knows where you are–not exactly. Fantastic pictures. Wow. Thanks so much for sharing, Darlene. I enjoyed this tour. ❤ ❤ ❤

Isn´t it great that places like this are available for us to look through? Glad you enjoyed the tour. ❤

Oh I am definitely creeped out in the castle jail. Yikes! What an amazing place to explore. I love the sheep and a piece of apple strudel for me please. 🙂

That castle jail will just have to end up in a book one day!! I have ordered a piece of apple strudel for you. ❤

Oh I like the sound of both ideas Darlene!

Enjoyed your post, Darlene as it brought back memories of our visits to Germany. Love the castles and Apfel Strudel. It’s the best. Looking forward to going back one day.

So pleased this brought back some good memories for you Diane.

Hello Darlene,
I had no idea Bad in German meant Bath, but it makes perfect sense. I can’t think why I’ve not looked up the translation before.

The hole of fear is absolutely terrifying. Spending time there must feel like being buried alive. The rest of your photographs are enchanting. What a lovely day you had.

Don’t feel bad Barbara. I grew up in a German-speaking family and didn’t make the connection until recently. That hole of fear was scary. I’m sure there were many terrifying things like that in medieval times. It was indeed a very lovely day.

I feel better now, thank you for that!

I love castles and all the mysteries they hold. Both Cliff and I have a family heritage in Germany.

I’m always impressed at how old European buildings are compared to their American counterparts. Your photos are wonderful.

That´s what I am always so amazed at when I travel in Europe. Things are so much older! I realize that Canada is such a young country. These medieval castles tell us so much and what they can´t tell us, we can imagine! I love that they have staying power.

Have always wanted to visit Holland. Beautiful photos. The climb in the castle was worth the apple strudel.

You would love Holland! The side trip to Germany was a bonus as well. The apple strudel finished the day off perfectly! It made hubby very happy as it is his favourite.

You would love Holland! The side trip to Germany was a bonus as well. The apple strudel finished the day off nicely and made hubby ver happy. It is his favourite.

Kronenburg Castle looks magnificent. The dungeon does look creepy, lol. Oh, and that fairy tale park … so beautiful.

The entire setting is what fairy tales are made of! Glad you enjoyed it!

My mom used to bake apple cakes like that. There are so many castles in Germany. It is fun to visit them. We have one near our farm that is fun to visit.

I´m sure your mom´s apple cake was delicious.Now that I have been to one German castle, I want to see more. You are so lucky to have one nearby. Thanks so much for visiting my blog!

Wow, this place looks amazing and is definitely on my bucket list!

I do hope you get there as it is incredible! I only showed small parts of it as it was huge.

This takes me back to my years in Germany! I miss that place…and the food…*sigh*

I´m glad I gave you some good memories. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

I kept saying ‘Oh, wow!’ as I scrolled through your post. Fascinating castle! That strudel looks delicious!

It had the “wow” factor all right!! Glad you enjoyed the visit.

Amazing place. And yeah, that dungeon is really creepy.
Alison

It gave me the creeps just being there. Not a great pace for those who suffer from claustrophobia! Thanks for the visit!!

What I love about Europe is its history and how easy it is to travel from one country to another over the course of a day. It sounds like you had a lovely day from beginning to end. Perhaps all you needed was a little sunshine to make it perfect. 🙂

I love the history in Europe too. We get so much sunshine here in Spain that a day or two without was OK. It added to the ambiance of a medieval castle!

Darlene, you know I love old castles too. I’ll be honest, when I read about the dungeon, the wheels were turning. I think one of my characters are going to have to escape from a dungeon like that.

I wonder how they got reluctant prisoners down there? Climb down or we’ll push you down (which meant certain death)? What if they were too weak or injured? Would they lower them down on a rope? And if there was an break-out, guards would be sitting ducks trying to descend to take control.

These are all the things that would need to be worked out for my story. 🙂

This would definitely work in one of your novels! This is what my research came up with – Entrance to the dungeon was only accessible by means of a rope winch installed above the hole of fear. http://bentheim-castle.com I hope you use it!!

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