Fruits of a horticultural passion: baroque gardens in Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia

In the 17th century, Sophie of Hannover devoted herself passionately to garden design. The fruit of her talents can be seen today in the Royal Gardens at Herrenhausen, which she based on the House of Orange's magnificent baroque gardens.

Corvey Palace

This former Benedictine abbey in the Weserbergland hills of eastern Westphalia was a major Carolingian abbey in its day and boasted one of the region's most prestigious libraries. Hoffmann von Fallersleben, the poet, was librarian here from 1860.

Nordkirchen Palace & Park

Nordkirchen Palace and Park are often called the 'Versailles of Westphalia' because of their vast scale and baroque layout. Johann Conrad Schlaun built this moated palace in the 18th century for Friedrich Christian von Plettenberg, the prince bishop of Münster.

The Royal Gardens at Herrenhausen are among the finest in Europe. Electress Sophie von Hannover was the mastermind behind these splendid gardens. She had the country estate and summer retreat of Herrenhausen laid out in the beautiful baroque style favoured by the House of Orange.

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The Gardens of Kleve (Cleves)

This baroque garden in an idyllic setting on the Lower Rhine was designed by landscape gardener Jacob von Campen in the 17th century. It is home to a zoo on Sternberg hill, which has twelve tree-lined avenues radiating out in the shape of a star, and a wonderful amphitheatre on Springberg hill.

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