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Kommandeursburg Kerpen Blatzheim

The History of the Castle

 

The Kommandeursburg, situated at the gateway to Blatzheim, was built in 1602 by the Teutonic Order. It deemed as a country retreat for the Commanders of the Cologne House of the Teutonic Order which was known as the “Kommende Jungenbiesen”.

 

Heinrich von Reuschenberg, a Teutonic Knight of Order, is said to be the erector of the castle. After his death on March 30, 1603, his tomb was laid to rest in the Carmelite Church in Cologne. Today it can be found in the Cologne Museum of History. An ancient illustration of the castle, which concords with the present day form, can be found in a corner of a field map from the 17th century. The inscription on the map reads as follows “Teutschen ordensburgh” Castle of the Teutonic Order.

 

From a Bill of Sale dated February 1594, discovered in the archives of the Teutonic Order Jungenbiesen, we learn that Friedrich von der Marck zu Villigst, Drost zu Schwerdt und Westhoven

 

“our noble house and courtyard in Blatzheim, situated in the principalities of Cologne and County Lechenich together with all its farmsteads, ponds, orchards, bridges, meadows, Artlanden (forests) and bushes“, was sold to the Commander Heinrich von Reuschenberg der Ballei Altenbiesen (hence the name of the Castle Kommandeur).

 

8 years later, in 1602, the new building was completed. This is confirmed by the inscription on the coat of arms above the entrance. The castle, as we know it today, originated at this time under the supervision of Heinrich von Reuschenberg.

 

Along with the Carmelite Monastry, Heinrich von Reuschenberg founded the very last (Kommende) of the Teutonic Order “Jungenbiesen” in Rhineland and Cologne. The word “Kommende” describes an administrative unit that was responsible for commercial and agricultural duties as well as defense, spiritual and charitable matters. The Commander of the Kommende intermittently retreated to his country residence, mostly during the summer months. The last Commander from Jungenbiesen was Earl Joseph von Schaesberg, who took over the Kommende Cologne in 1794.

 

Joseph von Schaesberg was forced to leave Cologne during the occupation of the left hand side of the Rhine by French revolutionaries from 1794-1802. He retreated to his country residence in Blatzheim where he died in 1812. He was the last Knight of the Teutonic Order in Blatzheim

 

Due to an edict implemented by Napoleon all spiritual possessions on the left hand side of the Rhine were secularised. In this context the Teutonic Order was abolished in 1809. Napoleon, who is said to have also stayed in the castle, endowed it to the French General George Mouton, who later sold the castle as his personal property.

 

 

Since this time and well into the 60’s of the 20th century the Kommandeursburg has mainly been used for agricultural purposes. At the beginning the new millennium, 400 years after it was built, extensive restorations were undertaken.

 

All the restorations to the outstandingly maintained masonry, original ceilings and roof-beams were undertaken with authentic and antique building materials. A loving hand and an eye for detail has rounded up and complimented the original charm of the Kommandeursburg.

 

Today the Kommandeursburg offers not only living quarters but is also used for festivities and events.

 


The dynasty von Reuschenberg was one of the most eminent noble families in and around Julich. During the 15th century the importance of the von Reuschenbergs grew immensely due to a widespread branching out of the family.

 

Heinrich von Reuschenberg was born in 1528 in the Castle of Setterich, as the son of Edmund von Reuschenberg and Phillipine von Nesselrode. On November 9, 1547 he joined the Teutonic Order and a sparkling career followed. In the first few years he was Cellar Master in the Kommende Neuenbiesen in Maastricht. From 1550 onwards he was responsible for the Rhine Commodities from the Ballei Aldenbiesen. In 1551 he took over the command of the Kommende Ramersdorf near Bonn. From 1566-1567 he was Commander of the Kommende Sankt Gilles (Agidius) in Aachen. From 1566 he was acting representative to the Aldenbiesener Land Commander, Johann von Goer. He completed the construction Landkommende Aldenbiesen.

 

In 1572 he finally reached the position of Land Commander in Aldenbiesen. Heinrich von Reuschenberg, who was also an architect in the Teutonic Order, built the Kommendeursburg in Blatzheim in 1594. It was to deem as the country retreat for the Commanders of the “Cologne Kommende Jungenbiesen”. The Kommandeursburg was his last place of rest and he died here on March 30, 1603 at the age of 75.

 

Building specifications:

 

A closed quadrangle construction made of brick, surrounded by a moat about 50 x 50 metres. The two storey living quarters consist of the North wing including 6 axes, the East wing with 3 axes and the West wing with 2 axes. Outer window and door frames are made from freestone. The interior room layout with its Baroque ceilings and doors has been preserved.

 

On the north side of the building there is a massive three storey square shaped tower with a tiered tail bonnet. The slightly withdrawn crowned flat gable on the north wing is an entrance gate. Above this a relief stone with the von Reuschenberg coat of arms is embedded in a rectangular frame. It reads as follows:

 

GOTT ALLEIN DIE EHR 1602 (Only honour God 1602)

 

The ground floor utility rooms are situated in the south wing. On the south west corner diagonally across from the big tower we can find a small square shaped tower with arrow slits and an octagonal tiered tail bonnet.