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Baroque gardens in the north

The lavish baroque style also left its mark on the north of Germany, a region normally associated with restraint. With treasures dating from the Stone Age through the Middle Ages to the modern period, the palaces of Schleswig Holstein and Lower Saxony are important cultural centres with valuable holdings of art works from all periods. Their splendid gardens – laid out in perfect symmetry by famous botanists and great gardeners – are a match for any in France or Italy. Although these baroque gardens were originally modelled on French and Italian Renaissance gardens, they were expanded by absolutist princes into vast statements of their own importance, and nature was used to express dominance and prosperity.
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Gottorf Palace

Mysterious peat-bog corpses, traces of the Vikings, exquisite collections of paintings including masterpieces by artists from Lucas Cranach to the "Brücke" (Bridge) artists, valuable porcelain, faience and weaponry – all these and many other treasures can be found in the two state museums at Gottorf Palace, the most important palace in the north of Germany. The exhibits here span two thousand years and have close connections with the history of the palace, the region's largest secular building, which is on an idyllic island on the edge of Schleswig, near the border with Denmark. 1544 marked the start of the palace's golden age. As the power of the dukes of Gottorf grew, the palace also increased in size and splendour. A baroque terraced garden modelled on Italian gardens, the earliest of its kind north of the Alps, was begun here in 1637. At its heart was a magnificent pavilion containing the Gottorf globe – the earliest planetarium in existence!
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Eutin Castle

Eutin Castle, once the seat of the prince bishops of Lübeck, has now been restored to its former glory. This four-winged brick building is right beside Lake Eutin in "Holstein's Switzerland", a region characterised by its lakes. Inside the castle, which is now a museum, are magnificent original rooms, salons, halls, the castle church and a wealth of exquisite objects. The castle park was one of the largest baroque gardens in Schleswig-Holstein in the 18th century and was redesigned in the style of an English garden at a later date. It features majestic tree-lined avenues, grand old trees, a small sun temple and Lake Eutin itself is also incorporated into the park landscape.
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Clemenswerth Hunting Lodge & Park, Sögel

Clemenswerth Hunting Lodge in Sögel (Emsland region) was built in the late-baroque rococo period for Clemens August, the Archbishop of Cologne. The architect was Johann Conrad Schlaun, a student of Balthasar Neumann The star-shaped hunting grounds with central lodge, guest pavilions, chapel, stables and 42-hectare forest park is one of the most delightful examples of stately German rococo architecture. At the centre of the star is the main lodge, which was for the Elector's private use, surrounded by a circle of eight pavilions for courtiers and guests. The abbey garden incorporated into the park's network of avenues is one of northern Germany's most charming baroque gardens.
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Celle Palace

Celle Palace in Lower Saxony first appeared in records as a "castrum" (Roman camp) in 1318. Over time it developed into a four-winged building before being converted into a contemporary palace by Duke Georg Wilhelm in the 17th century. The interior still has various rooms and halls reflecting different architectural eras. Especially worth seeing are Germany's oldest baroque theatre still in use today and the only chapel north of the Alps with a fully preserved Renaissance interior.
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Fortified island of Wilhelmstein, Wunstorf

This artificial, fortified island in Lake Steinhude near Hannover was built for Commander Wilhelm zu Schaumburg-Lippe in the second half of the 18th century. In those days it was considered impregnable and was the site of a military school. Visitors can still travel to the island in traditional sailing boats where they are greeted by the sight of cannons and casemates.
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  1. Gottorf Palace
  2. Eutin Castle
  3. Clemenswerth Hunting Lodge & Park, Sögel
  4. Celle Palace
  5. Fortified island of Wilhelmstein, Wunstorf