On a recent trip to Germany, my dear friend, Jenny, took me to see her old university. I was staying in Münster, the capital of the North Rhine-Westphalia state of Germany, in the northwest, and the day trip to Nordkirchen sounded like an excellent idea.
Nordkirchen is a tiny town located in the Coesfeld district of North Rhine-Westphalia, and it is about an hour to an hour and a half away from Münster by bus. Schloss Nordkirchen is the palatial castle that is at the heart of the town. Built in a Baroque architectural style between 1703 and 1734, the castle was constructed to be a residence for a family of a prince-bishop from Westphalia; Prince Bishop Friedrich Christian von Plettenberg started the construction, and his nephew, Prime Minister Ferdinand von Plettenberg, completed it. Today the local government owns the lands of the castle, and now the grounds and buildings are the home to the Fachhochschule für Finanzen Nordrhein-Westfalen (the College of Finance of North Rhine-Westphalia).
The castle and its grounds exude this idyllic beauty of the German countryside. As I was there during the middle of a “school day” as class was in session, Jenny and I had the grounds practically to ourselves. When you first enter the premises, you walk along a path under trees that have bent over the trail in a symmetrical fashion, almost as if you are royalty and they are alive and bowing as you head towards the castle ahead. It’s fantastic, and I felt as though I might be hiking through forests similar to ones which characters from the Brothers Grimm had.
Continuing through this, we reached a large, round fountain, where about a dozen Chinese statues were spaced around it; the fountain was not functioning while I was there, though it didn’t detract much from its beauty. Finally we came to the edge of the moat (a real moat!), and there were several administrative buildings directly on the other side.