The castle is the ancestral seat of an old Westphalian noble family that played a major role in shaping the history of the prince-bishopric and the city of Münster. By far the most famous member of the family, however, was the great German writer: Annette von Droste-Hülshoff.
Embedded in the landscape of the Münsterland, about 10 km west of Münster, lies the moated castle of Hülshoff, surrounded by green parkland. A family tradition of well over 500 years gave it its original Münster character and appearance. The picturesque moated castle is the birthplace of Annette von Droste-Hülshoff (1797-1848) and the place where she spent her childhood and youth. This is another reason why the castle has an international status.
The first documented mention of the castle dates back to 1349. It developed from the former upper court »zum Hülshof«, to which a manor house was added by the then owners, the Lords of Schonebeck. In 1417 the ancestors of the poet acquired the knight's seat. From then on, the family also called itself: Droste zu Hülshoff. The manor house, which was built as a closed Renaissance complex in the years 1540-1545, has essentially been preserved to this day.
As it presents itself at present, it is a beautiful Renaissance building from the years 1540-1545 after a reconstruction by Heinrich I von Droste-Hülshoff. Today, the moated castle houses, among other things, the Droste Museum, which provides an insight into the life of the poetess and the nobility of the time. The surrounding park offers an attractive excursion destination in summer.
Of the buildings that have survived to the present day, the main castle, the manor house, is the oldest. It dates back to 1545 and is a typical example of Münsterland castle and residential architecture. Stylistically, late Gothic and Renaissance form an artistic unity here Beyond the water, on the island in front of the manor house, the outer castle, rectangular, stretches from west to east. Like the New Economy, it was used as stables.
Today, the 30-hectare park is once again the landscape garden that Clemens August II von Droste-Hülshoff, Annette's father, planned it to be. The spacious grounds invite visitors to stroll, rest and relax.
Here you will find the Winter and Summer Boskett (small pleasure grove within a geometrically designed Baroque palace garden), a kind of open-air theater made of hedges and trees and at the time a must for cultivated garden culture. A large lawn with seating or lounging furniture, the game enclosure, a charming garden island and a small tea house in the forest, invite you to take a walk, rest and relax. Even today, the surrounding park is an attractive destination for summer excursions.
Today, the moated castle houses, among other things, the Droste Museum, which provides an insight into the life of the poetess and the nobility of that time. The Droste Museum is located on the mezzanine floor of the castle - above the restaurant located in the basement. The exhibition in the manor house takes visitors through several living rooms, providing information about the history of Hülshoff Castle as well as the life of Annette von Droste-Hülshoff.
The Droste Museum provides visitors* with vivid insights into the lifestyles of the aristocracy of Münster at the time of Classicism and Biedermeier.
On display, for example, are the small reception room and the large dining room with paintings by the famous poet's ancestors, precious pieces of furniture from past centuries, the house's richly stocked library, and mementos of Annette von Droste-Hülshoff and some personal items.
The atmosphere in the rooms and the view from the magnificent Garden Hall opens up the view of the moat and the park and gives an idea of the lifestyle of the landed gentry of past centuries.
Since 2014, urgently needed restoration work has been carried out under the direction of the office of Mensen + Zora Architekten (Münster), with funding from the special monument protection program of the Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) and from the German Foundation for Monument Protection.