Nippenburg Castle




Location: Schwieberdingen    Map

Constructed: 1160


Description of Nippenburg Castle

Nippenburg Castle is located in Schwieberdingen, Baden-Württemberg region in Germany. The citadel of Nippenburg Castle was constructed no later than 1160. Nippenburg Castle protected many of the local peasants during times of unrest and warfare. Unfortunately improved fire power made military fortifications obsolete. Citadel was abandoned as a strategic defensive point. Knights left the stronghold and it was left to elements as well as local residents who quarried the walls and towers for stones. There have been some evidence that some of the buildings were briefly inhabited over centuries, but overall structure of Nippenburg Castle was slowly falling in disrepair. Nippenburg Castle was partially reconstructed as it appeared during Medieval Times.



The Nippenburg was probably built for military purposes in the 12th century by a local noble family. It is considered the oldest castle ruin in the Stuttgart area. The castle was first mentioned in the Codex Hirsaugiensis, which testifies to a mill built by a Berwart "below the Nippenburg" for 1160. In 1283 a prominent rendezvous took place on the Nippenburg: guests of Friedrich von Nippenburg (dictus Urrus de Nippenburc) were the Lower Swabian provincial bailiff, Count Albrecht II of Hohenberg, Count Eberhard I of Württemberg, and Count Conrad III. von Vaihingen and the provost Dietrich von Beutelsbach as well as numerous clergymen, noblemen and ministerials mainly from the area between Sindelfingen and Pforzheim, all of whom testified to a comparison of the inheritance of the Lords of Nippenburg and the Lords of Enzberg around the Kapfenhart Castle near Weissach.

The original castle of the Lords of Nippenburg has been expanded several times over the years. The kennel in front of the curtain wall dates from the first half of the 14th century. The outer bailey with the massive barn still preserved today was built towards the end of the 15th century.

Due to the newly developed explosion projectiles and the associated replacement of catapults with mortars and cannons, the castle complexes could no longer offer the residents adequate protection. Since people only lived cold, wet and uncomfortable in the castles, they were abandoned more and more. Around 1600, therefore, the construction of the manor house Schloss Nippenburg above the castle complex, which was expanded and changed in the 18th and 19th centuries.

When Wilhelm, the last knight of Nippenburg, built the manor house, he had stones broken out of the castle and used them as building material for his new manor. After the castle itself was inhabited until around 1700, it was left to decay in the following centuries. At what point in time the castle was completely abandoned as a place of residence and protection cannot be precisely determined. A stove plate from 1770 found during restoration work indicates that the castle was partially inhabited at a later date. From a correspondence between the bailiffs of Grüningen and Leonberg, who argued about well-preserved boards and beams of the Nippenburg in 1647 and 1648, it emerges that parts of the buildings within the castle were already abandoned at that time and that the Served the leftover remains of the castle until it was finally just a ruin. Over time, ivy and bushes covered the remains of the wall. Only the storerooms of the castle were used by the residents of the manor for a long time.

In the 1960s and 1970s the plan matured to renovate the ruined walls. In order to preserve the castle ruins, extensive restoration measures were carried out between 1979 and 1984 on the walls, which were in danger of collapsing. The main initiator was Helmut Theurer, to whom a plaque on the keep is dedicated. The costs for this were borne by the Baden-Württemberg State Monuments Office, the community of Schwieberdingen, the current owner, Count Leutrum, and the district of Ludwigsburg. Today the Nippenburg castle ruins are a popular destination.

Nippenburg castle ruins
The castle ruins are located southwest of Schwieberdingen on a hill on the edge of what is now the Nippenburg castle estate. The hilltop castle, located on a mountain spur surrounded by the Glems, was protected on three sides by swamps and the steep slope. This was once bare in the immediate vicinity of the castle, because no tree or bush was supposed to offer the attackers protection or cover. The castle threatened danger almost only from the east side, where the mountain spur continues into the open area. To protect against this, the lords of the castle built the mighty shield wall, some of which is still visible today. The sixteen meter high and three meter thick wall was also preceded by a ditch running southeast of the castle to ward off enemies. A stone arched bridge, which ended three meters in front of the castle gate, led over this wide moat, which was once around six to eight meters deep. The drawbridge between the bridge and the castle gate - presumably replaced by another stone bridge arch in the 15th century - could be pulled up in the event of danger. Due to this defense system, the Nippenburg gave its residents security and refuge for many centuries. So it is not recorded that the Nippenburg was ever captured, destroyed or burned down.


The facility has two bailey. The first, southern outer bailey with a large castle barn and the wide former courtyard area shows the remains of two castle gates in the west and east. The remains of the eastern gate tower to the left and right of the path still indicate that there was a well-fortified fortification on this side with a roofed battlement that went up to the castle barn. The castle guards stayed here as well.

In addition to the large open meadow, in the southern outer bailey there is a farm building that has largely been preserved in its original form, the Gothic castle barn built in 1483. Below it is an exceptionally large vaulted cellar, which was essential for storing food, especially during long periods of siege. Under the barn roof there are three grain floors built one above the other. The southern forecourt of the castle has probably been filled with the excavated material from the construction of the neck ditch. This created a high retaining wall, which is enclosed in the south by two walls in front of it.

The western castle gate leads down to the Glemstal. The former chain loops of the drawbridge can also be seen here. Following the path through the second castle gate towards the valley, there is a wall on the right that belongs to a former farmyard. On the inner walls of the farmyard, the stables and the blacksmith's shop were housed under a pent roof on one side and the servants' house with wagons and saddlery on the other. A little further on one comes across the recognizable remains of an earlier rampart and moat system, which served as the castle's first defensive area to the west. A steeply sloping footpath or bridle path leads to Glems, which is around 50 meters lower.

In the western outer bailey, opposite the large castle barn, you can only find the remains of a cistern and a once high keep with the five-meter-deep dungeon cellar underneath, which you cannot see.

Through the opening of the inner castle gate, which no longer exists today, you can get into the courtyard of the main castle. The rear of the mighty shield wall rises here in the eastern part, to which a circular wall connects on both sides, which in earlier times surrounded the entire courtyard. Today the wall is mostly still waist-high, well secured and only interrupted to the north. It is believed that parts of the wall on the steep slope came off due to erosion. On the inside of the old curtain wall there is an information board with a floor plan and history of the Nippenburg.

A gate in the towering ring wall in the southern part opens the way to the south-eastern Zwinger. Due to the large number of loopholes, this represented another important area of ​​defense. In the southeast corner of the Zwinger stood the watchtower, which was willfully destroyed in 1945 and popularly known as Käppele. The lookout, which is still completely preserved today, shows that the gatekeeper operated the drawbridge from here.

The spacious kitchen was located in the castle courtyard between the keep and the still preserved castle cellar. The vaulted ceiling of the castle cellar once formed the foundation for the only fragmentary palace, which, apart from a few windows and restored walls, has only a few details. The women's chamber, called the bower, was protected by the shield wall and was adjoined by a small chapel.

Nippenburg manor house
Since the castle more and more lost its original function from the end of the 16th century, a representative castle was built in its immediate vicinity, built in 1600 by Heinrich Schickhardt, rebuilt in 1728 and again in the 19th century. Today's three-storey plastered building with a classic structure, which can be considered a typical rural aristocratic residence, includes a farm yard with various buildings and a park. Since 1951, the castle has been inhabited again by the Leutrum von Ertingen family, the direct descendants of the Knights of Nippenburg.


In the rear area of ​​the manor house, the approximately two hectare large castle park is enclosed by old walls. The park, which is more than 200 years old, has been redesigned several times over the centuries. The oldest map from 1767 shows straight rows of fruit trees in the area of ​​today's park. It was only at the end of the 18th and 19th centuries that it was redesigned to its present form in the style of an English landscape garden. In contrast to a French baroque garden, an English garden should be modeled on nature as much as possible; there are no straight axes or strict geometric shapes. Along the paths paved with fine pebbles in the palace park in the middle of the close-cropped lawn you will find more than 30 different species, including rare oaks and beeches, sequoias, trumpet, tulip and ginkgo trees, as well as some sprinkled rose beds and flower borders. A botanical specialty is a primeval sequoia (Metasequoia). This deciduous conifer was only discovered in China in 1941 and was previously only known from fossil finds.

Like the manor house itself, the palace gardens are privately owned by the zu Ertingen family and are not open to the public. For the day of the open monument on September 10, 2006, which was under the motto lawn, roses and borders - historical gardens and parks, the home and culture area Schwieberdingen offered guided tours through the otherwise locked garden.

Residents of the Nippenburg
The Nippenburg was probably built as the ancestral seat of the lower nobility of the Nippenburg family. It is not clear where its name comes from. However, it is believed that it can be traced back to an Alemannic local lord named Nippo, who may have founded a settlement in the vicinity of the castle.

The family of the Lords of Nippenburg can be documented for the first time in 1275, when a knight named Fridericus de Nippenburc was listed as a witness in a certificate sealed by Counts Rudolf von Tübingen-Herrenberg and Ulrich von Tübingen-Asperg.

The Nippenburgs were initially connected as vassals to the former Count of Asperg, a branch of the Count Palatine of Tübingen, and then from 1308 to the Württemberg lords and lords. However, individual members of the widely ramified family line also appeared as Baden and Hohenlohe vassals in the course of history. In the 14th century the Lords of Nippenburg already had rights and property in many places, which expanded in the course of the 15th century. Their lands lay in a spacious area that stretched from the Korngäu and Schönbuch in the south to the Zabergäu in the north and from the Pforzheimer area in the west to the Remstal in the east. At times they also owned Kleiningersheim Castle, Ditzingen Castle Stables, Altsachsenheim Castle and Bromberg Castle in Kirbachtal. In 1488, the Knights of Nippenburg joined the Swabian Federation at an imperial request, which arose from the merger of the Knight Society Sankt Georgenschild and some imperial cities. Since the federal government was directly subordinate to the empire, they gained greater independence from their sovereign by joining. In addition to expanding and consolidating their secular power, the Lords of Nippenburg also endeavored to gain ecclesiastical power. In 1306 Fritz von Nippenburg was the first church lord of the Georgskirche in Schwieberdingen to be known by name and thus had a say in the award of church offices. As the local lords of Schwieberdingen, the Nippenburgers also acted as builders. In 1489 work began on the nave of St. George's Church, and in 1495 the construction of the choir. In addition, the construction of the moated castle in 1508 and the castle barn in 1565 can be traced back to the Lords of Nippenburg.

Philipp von Nippenburg, born in 1458, was the only one of his family to rise to the highest state offices. In 1498 he was appointed to the Württemberg government. In 1501 he was already ducal court master of Württemberg. During the time of the poor Konrad, he was one of the most important advisors at the side of Duke Ulrich von Württemberg, who then enfeoffed him in 1515 with the position of inheritance in the Duchy of Württemberg. The coat of arms of the Nippenburg family, previously an open eagle flight on a blue background, was expanded to include a cup from then on. The year 1518 brought another rise for Phillip von Nippenburg. He was appointed the Württemberg State Court Master and headed government affairs together with the legally qualified Chancellor Ambrosius Volland. During this time the people of Nippenburg were at the height of their economic and political power.


At the beginning of the 17th century, a decline in Nippenburg possessions, which had reached its greatest territorial extent towards the end of the 15th century, can be observed. This is mainly due to the fact that the lands were bequeathed to other knight families after the Nippenburg side lines had died out and died out. From then on, the possessions of the Lords of Nippenburg concentrated mainly around Hemmingen, Schöckingen, Schwieberdingen and Unterriexingen.

After the family of the Knights of Nippenburg in Schwieberdingen died out in 1609 with the death of the last heir, Wilhelm von Nippenburg, the castle and estate came to the Stockheim family in 1611 through the marriage of Anna Benedikta von Nippenburg and Baron Johann Heinrich von Stockheim. The male tribe of Nippenburg outside Schwieberdingen died with the death of Ludwig von Nippenburg in 1646. The name and coat of arms of the Nippenburg family lived on as an epithet in the counts of Bissingen-Nippenburg, since Johann Friedrich von Bissingen married Kunigunde von Nippenburg in 1646 and took over the Nippenburg family property. The former seat of the Counts of Bissingen and Nippenburg, the Hohenschramberg Castle, is therefore sometimes also called Nippenburg today. The female tribe of the von Nippenburg family survived until the end of the 17th century. Ursula Margaretha Truchsess von Höfingen, born von Nippenburg, died in 1696 as "the last of her tribe and name", as it is written on her tombstone in Böblingen.

Through Friederieke Julianne von Stockheim, the granddaughter of Anna Benedikta von Nippenburg, who brought the castle and estate in 1685 as a dowry to the marriage with Count Ernst Ludwig Leutrum von Ertingen, the property became the family property of the Counts Leutrum, who owned the castle, palace and estate still belong today.

Myths and legends
As with many medieval castles, there are also some sagas and legends about the Nippenburg.

In the swampy terrain of the Glemstal lowlands below the Nippenburg, all warriors are said to have sunk into the moor during a battle.

For a long time afterwards, a knight who had an only daughter lived on the Nippenburg. The knight Christoph von Hemmingen courted her. Once the bride did not return home until late at night. In the dark she lost her way and got into the moor. Nobody heard her cries for help and she sank into the moor. When they looked for her the next day, only a handkerchief was found. In order to forget his great pain and not to be constantly reminded of the terrible misfortune, the bridegroom went to war with the emperor. But even during the war, he could not forget his young bride and her painful end. Nothing more was heard from him in his homeland. After his military service, he is said to have entered a monastery where he lived for many years and dedicated himself to naturopathy. Having grown old, he was drawn back to the place of his former great love, and when a monk built a hut there below the Nippenburg and settled down there, nobody recognized the former youth, because many decades had moved into the country and on the Nippenburg and In Hemmingen there were only a few people left who could remember the misfortune of that time. Soon the word got around that an old monk lived below the Nippenburg and prayed day and night. He collected grasses, herbs and roots and distributed them to sick people who asked for cures for all kinds of diseases. They brought him food and drink and worshiped him as a saint. They also helped him build a little church. So the years went by, and when one morning someone knocked on his door again, there was silence: the old man was lying dead in his hut. When the men who had been summoned laid him on a stretcher, a gold cross came out from under his robe. It said on one side: "Knight Christoph von Hemmingen" and on the other: "Love never stops". The place below the Nippenburg is still called the Moorkirchle today.

The Nippenburg is also associated with all kinds of ghost stories. It is said that a count named Hans buried his fortune there and continued to look after it after his death. In earlier times it was also reported that at the Schwieberdingen quarry a rider without a head could often be seen, whose horses were braided by ghosts in the tail and mane. Furthermore, stories are told about the Käppele, the so-called old watch tower of the Nippenburg. So the way to Schwieberdingen should be avoided at night, because here the Käppelesgeist goes down from the Nippenburg to Schwieberdingen at night.

Nippenburg Castle Golf Course

The 18-hole golf course Schloss Nippenburg is in the immediate vicinity of the Nippenburg manor house. The 90 hectare site, which was once used for agriculture, was transformed into a modern golf course in 1995. The top German golfer Bernhard Langer was responsible for planning the 6,154-meter-long course at par 71. In addition to the 18-hole main course, there is a practice facility with a driving range, putting and chipping greens and three practice bunkers.

The golf course Schloss Nippenburg became known worldwide through the German Open, which was held here from 1995 to 1997. The Scottish Colin Montgomerie in 1995, the Welshman Ian Woosnam in 1996 and the Spaniard Ignacio Garrido in 1997 entered the winners list of the tournaments, each endowed with almost two million marks.