There's been an attested stronghold or castle here for close to a millennium. But the present Schloss is the best preserved Renaissance Palace of North Rhine-Wesphalia. On the edge of a forest and surrounded by a moat, it was a private residence until 1917. Today it houses a fine museum of especially renaissance art and there are regular exhibitions. I was fortunate to chance on 'Teutscher Reis und Peper van Indien. Neue Pflanzen in heimischen Gefilden', an extensive show of the reception in Germany of hirtherto unknown plants from the Indies during the later Renaissance (see inset right). In German fashion wide-ranging and erudite.
The present facade was constructed to the design of Maximilian Pasqualini (1532-1572). Among its many interesting features are four tondi representing classical (Roman) civic virtues, typical for the republican tradition of Renaissance Italy. A bit curious, though, for a princely stronghold. Sculpted in relief are Gaius Mutius Scaevola, Publius Horatius Cocles (see inset left), Publius Decius Mus and Marcus Atilius Regulus with inscriptions both in Latin and German. In this light I thought the Peacocks apposite: they are a symbol of renewal.