The origins of Castle Lenzen reach back until the Slavic age. The town's history can be relived through the various exhibits at the museum. The castle park as well as the herbal garden invite for walks.
Castle Lenzen, the visitors' and conference centre in the heart of the biosphere reserve Flusslandschaft Elbe-Brandenburg, sits overlooking the Brandenburg Elbe wetlands. Travellers find fascinating nature experiences as well as a relaxing calmness, and a river idyll here at one of the most popular long distance bike paths in Germany, the Elberadweg.
The visitors' centre offers various permanent exhibitions as well as changing special ones and allows interesting insights into natural and cultural history of the Elbe wetlands. You find tips about exciting explorational tours in one of the last near-natural river landscapes in Central Europe. The Grünes Band, a national nature heritage and landmark of German history, can be explored and experienced around Lenzen, too.
As the oldest town of the Prignitz, Lenzen looks back on more than a thousand years of history. Presumably in the 8th century Slavic people settled in the glacial valley of the Elbe. Where today Castle Lenzen sits they built a circular fortification, the castle Lunkini. Castle Lunkini was first mentioned on paper in 929 when King Heinrich I, angered by the rebellious Slavs, sent his army across the Elbe to conquer the “Slavic King's Castle”. Despite the victory over the Slavic people in 929, it took almost two more centuries before the Prignitz was colonized and Christianized. With the Wendish Crusade in 1147 the Slavic reign over the Prignitz ended.
After, the castle fell into the ownership of the German aristocratic family Edle Gans zu Putlitz. On top of the castle mound an early German castle was built. The tower that still stands today is a remnant from when the castle was first constructed in the 13th century and consits of imposing three metres thick walls. At Castle Lenzen, the Middle Ages were the ages of stewards and robber knights. During the 15th century Lenzen and its castle kept changing owners, often by way of pledge. In the 17th century, the Thirty Years War took its toll on Lenzen, too: the number of citizens shrank from 3000 to 300; the castle was badly damaged, and crenellations as well as bays had to be removed. The commission in Lenzen was disbanded in 1767 and the castle was divested by Friedrich the Great, In the history of the castle, a time of changing hereditary leases and private owners begins.
1953, after the war, family Renner who were owning the castle and its premises at the time were dispossed of it by decree of GDR authority. Castle Lenzen became a nursing home. The implementation of the home for party veterans secured only the bare necessities to upkeep the structure. However, supply bottlenecks and material shortages endangered the preservation of the historical castle complex. After the fall of the Wall, Ms Kreckel neé Renner regained ownership of the castle. She gifted Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND; Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland) the castle in 1993 explicitly stating the wish that the castle be used and upkept in terms of environmentalism and nature protection.
From the castle's East terrace you can make your way to the historical parterre, a special gem of the castle's park, via two flights of stairs. Straight in the centre of the frog fountain stands Fauna, “Das Badende Mädchen” (the swimming girl), surrounded by historical roses with pleasant-sounding names such as Reine de Centefeulles or Orpheline de Julier. Music stands are placed at the side of the paths holding Baroque verses. The NaturePoetryGarden (NaturPoesieGarten) filled with interesting experiences begins here: a near-natural pond, blossomy herbal meadows, perennials and grove piles offer ideal homes for butterflies, cicadas, bats, and amphibians, and allow ideal observation spots. This special connection of nature and poetry creates nine pieces of art with nature-philosophical quotes that can be found along the way. Beneath an imposing poplar near the Baroque garden you come across a plastered circle with a huge dented orb; later across a mirror, or the lectern with illustrated verses. Follow the traces of various natural philosophers through the centuries. Stay for a while and let your mind wander to the relationship between humankind and nature.
Germany's first interactive wetlands experience area stretches along an approx. 400 metres circular path.A river's wetlands merits and their impressive biodiversity are explained at six stops. Interactive exhibits as well as sensory and experience stations await and invite to relax, marvel and participate.
The AuenReich's area is embedded between giant old trees and river courses in the spacious park of the castle. The river wetlands biotope beckons you to a play table of the “WasserReich”. It allows you to create your own wetlands and test how it would look during a flood. Using sand and clay, you can form the course of your river and the embankment before you let water pour in with the help of a pump. Watch to see if the flood threatens your embankments or if the river has enough space to spread out. Another highlight is the suspension bridge between trees in the “WaldReich”. Fixed looking glasses allow you to discover elusive species that live in riparian forests. For everyone who prefers to take it easy there are two loungers in the “GenussReich”. The motto here: Eyes closed and ears pricked to take in the various sounds of the wetlands. This way everyone interested learns all about the fascinating facettes of riverscapes at six interactive outdoor stops—from earth to water and riparian forests. You'll look at the Elbe riverscape quite differently from here on out.
Riverscapes at the Grünes Band
Across four storeys up until the dome of the medieval castle tower the Elbe riverscape is presented with its typical habitats and rare plant and animal species. The central topic of the exhibition is the change of the landscape within the Elbe wetlands over the centuries.A “blue strip” of touch screens shows how the water dynamics formed the landscape and how humans modelled the natural space, using aerial photos and historical maps.A flooded model and a film in the tower theatre explain how this large-scale project of nature protection, “Lenzener Elbtalauen”, which is one of its kind in Europe, functions.A special highlight for both young and old is the virtual flight on the back of a goose, found right beneath the dome of the tower, as well as the fascinating view from lofty hights over the Elbe wetlands.
Lenzen's town history
Lenzen's historical and historico-cultural development, from its pre- and early history up until the present, is impressively documented in the museum for town (his-) stories. The heart of the exhibition is a diorama showing the battle between the Slavs and the East Frankish kingdom with about 8000 pewter figures near Lenzen in 929.
Insider tip: “Der Böse Ort”
The newly created flood plains around the Elbe are a paradise for beavers, storks, rare waterfowl, and endangered plants. The riparian wilderness is best observed from the “Auenblick”. Located directly atop the embankment, it offers special insights into the currently biggest dike relocation in Germany where the natural change between flood and low water forsm the landscape, and the typical mosaic of diverse habitats developed. The view over the giant river loop—which was dubbed “Böser Ort” (“bad place”) because of the difficulty of manoeuvering cargo vessels past it—is spectacular. The wide sandy shore right on the Lower-Saxonian side of the Elbe is used, depending on the season, as a resting place by enormous flocks of lapwings, geese, and ducks. The view over the “new” wetlands is as fascinating. Flood channels surrounded by generous pastures and riparian planting of different ages are what dominate the landscape.A special highlight are the “Liebenthaler Wildlinge”, a breed of wild horses, that function as “landscapers” and can be observed all year round. You can reach the “Auenblick” by bike from the Elberadweg or on foot from the “Böser Ort”.
GPS bike tour Auenwildnis am Grünen Band
With the help of an expertly guide, you'll get to know the most beautiful parts of the Grünes Band during a daytrip to the Elbe riverscape.
A visit to the exhibition “Flusslandschaft am Grünen Band” and the Museum für Stadtgeschichte(n) (museum for (his-)stories) in the castle allow an introduction to the topic and the region. Afterwards, you explore the riparian wilderness with its ornithological diversity, find out interesting things about the Elbe, the ecology of wetlands, and flood defence during a guided bike tour.
Four-country border cycle path: Lenzen town and castle are located on the 195km long four-country border cycle path, which explores the region on the Green Belt between the Elbe, Altmark and Wendland, where the inner German border and death strip were once to be found, is today an area full of life, in which nature, culture and history strike a harmonious triad.
BiberBurgenTour: 45 kilometers long, transnational adventure tour through 32 stations in the Elbe River Landscape Biosphere Reserve with a pocket PC as a tour guide leads through historic city centers and Elbe villages with unique views over the Elbe and its floodplains
Circular hiking trail Auenwildnis: 14km long tour with alluvial forests standing in the middle of the water and a fascinating variety of rare water birds in the dike relocation area accompanied by the concert of thousands of frogs and toads as well as the call of wild geese and the trumpeting of the cranes or the melancholy melody of the whooper swans (Tip: Auenblick observation station)
Binnendüne Schmölen (dune): with a good thirty meters, the largest inland dune on the Elbe with an impressive view over the Löcknitz lowlands, characteristic types of dry grassland, and above all the diversity of dragonflies, butterflies and birds is impressive
Canoe tour on the Löcknitz: start directly in the castle park and paddle on the quiet Löcknitz, the main tributary of the Elbe, discover broken and alluvial forests, large-scale reed beds, bank breaks, sandbanks as well as sliding slopes, the ideal habitat for many protected plant and animal species such as beavers, otters, bats, rare birds as well as numerous insects and dragonflies
Canoe tour on the Elbe: paddling on the fascinating wide river with its sandy beaches, remnants of near-natural riparian forests and romantic villages, observation of white-tailed eagles, black storks and beavers
observations in nature
On the trail of the Elbe beaver (March – September)
Where ant lions live (April – September)
Crane watching in Rambower Moor (all year round, especially October – November)
When the wild geese are coming (October – March)
Diversity of amphibians in the floodplain (April – June)