Etzenrade Castle Garden publicly opened in September 2021 and has grown into a popular destination for national and international walkers and garden lovers. The public garden holds its name after the castle that once stood on those grounds. Today, visitors can see the ‘Etzenrader Huisken’ (Etzenrader House), a national and provincial monumental building made from castle remains and surrounded by a unique garden that tells the hidden history of South Limburg.

Together with a team of designers, archaeologists, and renowned garden designer Piet Oudolf, LOLA Landscape Architects created a public garden with a focus on reviving the castle’s heritage, supporting biodiversity, creating more water storage, and improving the public garden’s accessibility with the broader area. The project is part of a bigger plan for the surroundings in which the Rode Beek (Red Brook) is upgraded for climate adaptation, ecological and recreational purposes.

Archaeological research was essential to ensure proper preservation, restoration, and accurate historical representation in the design project. Little is left of the old castle, however, the design ensured that its canals were re-excavated, using trial trenches. It now functions as a water buffer for runoff water from the surrounding hills and connects to the Rode Beek. For the garden, we intended to not literally restore history but to display the archeological process in a contemporary way.The trial trenches are now planting beds and a prominent museum park element, which remain visible in this way even though they are filled up again.

The public garden incorporates elements of different historic time periods, including the castle that was destroyed during the 18th century. Replicas of the most extraordinary artifacts unearthed during the archaeological investigation are displayed in the gardens at the exact location where they were found. Sculpture pieces can be seen amid the planting, and artifacts found in the ground and water are presented on a historical table. These artifacts historically date from the Full Middle Ages to the present day: household objects of the inhabitants, bones of the cattle that grazed at the site armor of knights who defended the area, and even weapon remains from the Second World War.

Castle Etzenrade is one of the important key projects of the IBA Parkstad. Since it’s opening it’s turned a private vacant grass field into a public garden that showcases the history and stories of the site, the local ecology and creates a new walking route in a stunning surrounding..


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