Bernhard II, Edelherr zur Lippe, ordered the construction of the great moated castle of Brake around 1190, at the same time as he founded the town of Lemgo. Around 1280, Simon I moved the residence of the Lippe nobles from Rheda to Brake. He had the "castrum brac" fortified with a wall and built a chapel and farm buildings. His successors ruled Brake Castle until 1410, when it was conquered in the Soest feud (1447). From 1536 it was the widow's seat of the Lippe dynasty. After 1571, Countess Dowager Katharina zur Lippe had the medieval palace and gatehouse rebuilt in the Renaissance style.
Count Simon VI zur Lippe moved his residence from Detmold to Brake. Around 1584 he commissioned Hermann Wulff, a master builder from Lemgo, to build the new castle (north wing) and the mighty tower in the Renaissance style. The castle contained the lord's apartments, a large banqueting hall, a chapel and a kitchen. In the Brake tower there was an exclusive study with a secret chamber and the count's extensive library. A gifted organist, Simon commissioned the Scherer workshop in Hamburg to build a magnificent organ for the castle chapel in Brake.
Simon VI was a well-educated Renaissance prince. He studied at the Strasbourg Gymnasium and was a Calvinist. In order to maintain the political position of the county of Lippe in the Holy Roman Empire, the Calvinist count always sought proximity to the Catholic imperial court. He mediated on behalf of Rudolf II in the Dutch War of Independence and used his diplomatic contacts to acquire Dutch paintings for the imperial collection. In 1598, Simon VI was appointed imperial councillor and in 1608, imperial chamberlain. He owned a prestigious castle with a roof garden and an equestrian staircase on the Hradschin in Prague.
Three of the original four wings of the Brake Renaissance castle remain. The west wing was demolished in 1811. Today Brake Castle is the seat of the Lippischer Landesverband and the Weser Renaissance Museum.
"As it pleases my Lord"
Building Accord, Hermann Wulff, Master Builder Brake Castle
Simon VI. zur Lippe
Katharina von Waldeck
Anna von Canstein
Simon VI. zur Lippe
Hilmar d.j. Münchhausen
Dietrich von Fürstenberg
Experience Brake Castle right here!
Get involved and bring history to life. Interesting hands-on activities await you!
Take a look at what Brake Castle has to offer at your leisure, come by, and immerse yourself in the Weser Renaissance period! Have fun!
- Family tours, first Sunday of every month or by arrangement
- Autonomous guided tours via audio guide in German and English
- Independent family trips, both indoor and outdoor
- Climb the tower of Brake Castle, borrow a 'museum trunk', try on replica Renaissance costumes or make your own badges
- Children's birthday parties with a treasure hunt through the museum
- Round off your visit in the "El Molino" restaurant or "Walkenmühle" café
Experience Brake Castle in a playful way - special for children!
Brake Castle's tower is pretty tall. But there are even taller towers in the world. Mathilda the interactive mouse has prepared a guessing game about towers for you and knows many more stories about Brake Castle. You can download them here!
Experience Brake Castle on a day tour!
Would you like to visit Brake Castle on a one-day tour?
Then book our "Appearance and Being - Lifestyle of the Weser Renaissance" tour package and discover even more buildings from the Weser Renaissance, such as Lemgo Town Hall with the Apothecary's Oriel and the Hexenbürgermeisterhaus in Lemgo.
Or book the "Chic and Beautiful - Weser Renaissance Castles" tour and explore Wendlinghausen Castle, Barntrup Castle and Detmold Castle. Have fun!
For more information call 05261/94500.