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Brake Castle

was rebuilt as the residence of the Counts zur Lippe in the Renaissance style from 1587 on. It is surrounded by a moat and is erected on the foundation walls of one of the largest medieval castles in northern Germany. Its striking tower, visible from a distance, makes it the landmark of the old Hanse town of Lemgo. The buildings in the castle vicinity – the attached agricultural-estate buildings, three historic mills and a washhouse – still convey today an impressive picture of what an early modern residence was like.

The owner and commissioner of the Renaissance castle was Count Simon VI zur Lippe (1554-1613). As an ambassador, Privy Councillor and arts agent of Emperor Rudolf II he was often at court in Prague and in the Netherlands. Simon represents the type of the learned Renaissance prince who took a keen interest in the arts and sciences. He possessed a collection of paintings and a large library. From his castle tower he was able to observe the stars.

The castle’s present-day appearance is the result of changes and adaptations. In the 19th century the west-wing was demolished, the castle inventory was put up for auction and a princely model brewery was installed in the east-wing. Brake Castle was the seat of the Lemgo county administration from 1932 on and was taken over by the association of the historic territory of Lippe in 1973. In 1986 the Weser-Renaissance museum was established in one section of the building.

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