Kempen Castle, locally known as Burg Kempen, lies in the center of the town with the same name, in the North Rhine-Westphalia region in Germany.
The first castle on this site was mentioned in 1347. It was probably built in 1316. The present castle, built out of brick, was built between 1396-1400 by Archbishop Friedrich III von Saarwenden. It was situated in the northernmost area of the archbishopric of Cologne and served as a bulwark against Cleves. It served as the residence of the Archbishop's officials for the management of the area. It is therefore also known as a Kurkölnische Landesburg.
During the 16th century Kempen Castle was falling into decay until 1570 when Archbishop Salentin von Isenburg restored it. In those times the castle was surrounded by a water filled moat and the northeast flank of the castle was protected by a crescent-shaped bastion. In 1579 half the population of the town died of the plague.
In 1634, in the middle of the Thirty Years War, Archbishop Ferdinand von Bayern rebuilt the castle from a fort into a more comfortable residence. Amongst other things, arrow slits were replaced by large windows. Not only the Archbishop's officials resided here but also the Archbishop himself visited frequently when on hunting trips in the area.
This rebuilding proved a mistake for in 1642 the town and castle were besieged by Hessian troops. After a heavy bombardment they captured it and occupied it for 7 years. When they left, Kempen Castle was in a dilapidated state.
In 1794, after 150 years of peace, French Revolutionary troops attacked. They took the town and castle and ended the rule of the Electorate of Cologne. They confiscated Kempen Castle and in 1807 sold it to Peter von Löwenich, a silk manufacturer from Krefeld. He only sought financial gain and tore down the north wing and the bastion. After this the castle fell into ruin.
In 1851 a fire devastated Kempen Castle which only left the outer walls standing. Between 1856-1863 the burnt-out castle ruin was rebuilt in neo-Gothic style by the architect Wiethase. After this the castle was used as a school until 1925. During the 20th century the castle was used by various government officials. At present the castle houses an archive.
When I came by I couldn't visit its interior but later I found out that it is possible to visit and climb one of its 25-meters high towers. A very nice brick castle in a small town.