Apart from the panel discussions about the current challenges of heritage management, the 4th ENCOUNTER Conference wishes to offer its participants an additional opportunity to reflect upon those issues while visiting selected local manors and mansions in the Brandenburg province.

Therefore, on 7th October (Sunday) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. we invite you to take part in a one-day bus excursion to the following sites: Sieversdorf, Lietzen, Gusow, Wulkow, Neu Hardenberg and Alt Madlitz. The social background of their initial proprietors (aristocracy and, starting from the 19th century, new-rich industrialists) will be of interest just as their situation during the German Democratic Republic and, finally, the modalities of their restoration and management.

The participation fee of 49€ encompasses the bus transport as well as lunch in the restaurant at the Neuhardenberg castle. An introduction to the history of every visited site will be offered. For the time being, please find short information below.


Sieversdorf Manor *1690 © Clemensfranz, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

The manor was built after the Thirty Years’ War by the von Stranitz family. It was later owned by the family Karbe / von Stünzner-Karbe holding political and military offices in Sieversdorf. The baroque building served as the lairds’ summer residence. The family was expulsed by the end of World War II which caused the manor’s demolition. During the 1970s, parts of the remaining building were used for various public and political purposes. The family has repossessed Sieversdorf Manor since 1992. Nowadays, three generations live in the property aiming to restore it further.

More information (in German): https://www.gutshaus-sieversdorf.de/


Commandry Lietzen *1232 (farmstead) © Sebastian Wallroth, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 4.0

Founded by the Templars in 1232, the commandry in Lietzen is the last surviving residence of this order in Brandenburg. After the order’s dissolution in 1312, the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (Johanniter) took it over. During 1814s secularization processes, the commandry became temporarily a possession of the Kingdom of Prussia before it was given to the state chancellor Karl August Prince von Hardenberg to honour his merits. Being engaged in Stauffenberg’s 20th July assassination plot, the family von Hardenberg was dispossessed during the NS regime and again upon the socialist land reform. Once the family von Hardenberg recovered its ownership in the early 1990s, they restored it. They live in the Commandry Lietzen until today.

More information (in German): http://www.komturei-lietzen.de/


Gusow Castle *1336 © Sebastian Wallroth, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 4.0

First mentioned in 1336, Gusow was in its original shape a small knight’s residence, which has been transformed into the proper estate in the end of the Middle Ages. Over times the castle was passed into different private hands. It was continuously extended and received some stylistic modifications, starting from a baroque architecture and garden in 1745, to the neo-gothic style that can be recognized today. During World War II, the castle was mainly used for military medical purposes by the Nazi armed forces (Wehrmacht) and by the Red Army, and served as a hospital and old people’s home. Since 1992, Gusow castle is privately owned and hosts a museum, exhibitions and a hotel.

More information (in German): http://www.schloss-gusow.de/


Wulkow Castle *1361 © Jürgen Schuschke, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0.

From 1361 to 1646 Wulkow castle was owned by the noble family von Schapelow. After Anton von Schapelow died during a robber baron attack, the property was inherited by Margarete Tugendreich von Schapelow. Following her marriage with Georg von Derflinger, the property was passed over to the Derflingers, who remained childless. Subsequently, several changes of ownership followed. During the GDR regime, the castle was governmentally used as a hospital, a home for refugees, and for diverse training purposes. Nowadays, the castle of Wulkow is primarily used as a hotel.

More information (in German): http://www.schloss-wulkow.de/


Neuhardenberg Castle *1759 © A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Named after Prince Karl August of Hardenberg and situated in a village, the castle of Neuhardenberg served as a residence of the local power. The Prussian Chancellor Karl August of Hardenberg accelerated the state reforms taking place at the beginning of the 19th century; thus the inner revival of the old Prussia was introduced. Neuhardenberg castle has been designed by the masters of architectural and horticultural art in Prussia in the 1st half of the 19th century such as Karl Friedrich Schinkel, who oversaw the conversion of the palace, and Peter Joseph Lenné as well as Prince Hermann of Pückler-Muskau, who designed the gardens. Because of the involvement of the family von Hardenberg in the failed attempt of assassination of Adolf Hitler in 1944, the Hardenbergs have been immediately expropriated. After 1945 the whole castle and park ensemble was being continuously transformed into a state owned agricultural enterprise. This actions have largely devastated the original shape of the residence, not only by negligence of the estate buildings but also because of the construction of some new cheaply made agricultural facilities on it. After the Reunification of Germany, the estate has been given back to the Family von Hardenberg, which didn’t have enough means to restore the property. Happily, 1997 almost all parts of the estate have been taken over by the cultural foundation of the German Sparkassen-Association, which opened up the way to a careful reconstruction and creation of the vital cultural centre in its present shape.

More information (in English, German or Polish): https://www.schlossneuhardenberg.de/


Alt-Madlitz Manor *1373 © A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Madlitz-Wilmersdorf was a former municipality in Brandenburg’s Oder-Spree district southeast of Berlin before it became part of the municipality Briesen. In 1751, the Old Prussian counts Finck von Finckenstein bought the manor from the noble family von Wullfen. Friedrich Ludwig Karl Finck von Finckenstein extended the building to a late baroque style country castle. During that time, an English landscape park (the oldest one of the kind in Brandenburg) was also created. The socialist land reform caused a dispossession of the Finck von Finckensteins. Alt-Madlitz manor was owned by the GDR and used as a kindergarten until the German reunification whereupon the family Finck von Finchenstein recovered its ownership. Till today this noble family runs the estate for farming and hunting purposes.

More information (in German): https://www.schlossgutaltmadlitz.com/


Header image: Gusow Castle, Gusow-Platkow in Brandenburg, Germany, © Sebastian Wallroth, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 4.0