Not too many of us can trace our family roots back to the 12th century. Pretty rare, right? Let alone coming from a family with a town that bears your name. Even rarer, perhaps?
How about a town where a family knows their genealogy from more than seven centuries ago; has a town AND a castle named for them? The rarest of them all, I would presume.
For the Hardenberg Family that’s a reality in the town of Nörten-Hardenberg.
The Hardenbergs are still a big name here in town & I mention them because the mysterious Hardenberg Castle is a large part of what’s to see and do here. The castle, built in 1709, is not open for tourism; but the rest of the estate holds international horse shows and competitions including the biggest one — the Golden Whip — every summer ending with a huge fireworks display.
It’s also where you’ll find the Hardenberg Wilthen distillery. Carl Albrecht Jost Graf von Hardenberg is the main cat around here now — and it was his ancestors that can be traced back to the founding of Hardenberg back in 1100.
If you think the castle’s old, the former Marie Stein Monastery Church and Convent is much (much, much) older. The original church was built in 1055 with a chapel dedicated in 1102. Its current church is only a baby — a little more than a mere 400 years old — but, it does have a medieval crypt.
That’s enough about Hardenberg for the moment.
Over in Nörten there’s a small 19th century Jewish Cemetery, which was used up until the 1930’s.
I think I’ve even had enough of all this history and stuff — it’s time to party. Every six years Nörten-Hardenberg hosts the Schüttenhoff, a celebrated multi-day festival with a parade and music events.
Look, I might not have a town or a castle named after me. I might not be a count or a duchess or something — but, I sure can party with the best of them in Nörten-Hardenberg.