Hero image
(c) Dario Damiano

Haus Rüschhaus

Baroque country estate and poet's retreat.

Haus Rüschhaus

is a country estate in the neighborhood of Nienberge of the Westphalian city of Münster. It was built between 1745 and 1748 based on designs by Johann Conrad Schlaun and was used personally by him as his summer estate.

The estate, whose architecture meets the demands of a feudal estate for nobility, is designed in the style of a rural manor house. Schlaun was successful in achieving a synthesis of a Westphalian farmstead and a demanding rural estate in the French style.

The head of the household of Burg Hülshoff, Freiherr Clemens-August II. von Droste zu Hülshoff, father of the poet Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, acquired the elegant country estate in 1825. After the death of her father in 1826, the poet moved with her mother and sister Jenny to Rüschhaus, located only about five kilometers from where she was born at Burg Hülshoff, and lived here until 1846.

Annette von Droste-Hülshoff lived in three small rooms on the mezzanine floor of Rüschhaus and shared them with her former nanny. She called her living room, in which she withdrew to write, her »snail shell« and dedicated her literary efforts here especially to her homeland, Westphalia. Nature become her primary theme. Amongst many others, her best-known work, Die Judenbuche, or The Jew's Beech, was written here.

Behind the main building, framed by two small pavilions, a beautiful baroque garden with four sculptures can be found. Schlaun himself provided the existing moated island with a clearly outlined, uniform shape and designed a kitchen and decorative garden, symmetrically divided in the style of the time, which was never realized. The austere geometric shapes and the garden plots and areas of lawn bordered with boxwood are typical for this kind of baroque park architecture. Both geometric baroque gardens were finally realized in 1983, exactly according to the original plans of Schlaun.

(c) Harald Humberg
(c) Harald Humberg
(c) Harald Humberg
(c) Harald Humberg
(c) Harald Humberg
(c) Harald Humberg
00
A Bow

Amongst other routes, an old avenue leads to the estate and is worth visiting on bicycle. The sculpture Dialogue with Johann Conrad Schlaun by Richard Serra is located at the beginning of this avenue and was placed there by the artist in 1997 during Skulptur Projekte. The steel rectangle leans toward Rüschhaus. Is Serra bowing before Schlaun? Or is art simply bowing to architecture? One era bowing before another? You decide.