Behind and beneath the venerable walls of the Oberes Schloss in Siegen lies a weight of history. The Siegerland museum opened here in 1905. For many years, the Siegberg provided a secondary residence for the Nassau-Dillenburger and later the Nassau-Siegener. Prominent among the latter was Johann VII, who expanded the 13th century castle complex into a fortress complete with brewery, stables, wine cellar, adjacent armoury and flowering castle garden.
His son Fürst Johann Moritz had a greater influence on Siegen than almost anyone else, gifting the city his emblem – the Krönchen atop the Nikolaikirche tower – and laying the foundations of the Fürstengruft at the Unteres Schloss.
Rubens and other treasures
The Rubenssaal is dedicated to the famed Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens, who was born in Siegen in 1577. Here the Siegerland museum presents nine of his paintings and one of the most comprehensive collections of copperplate engravings and etchings after Rubens. Under the castle roof, the museum presents an absorbing exhibition charting life in the 19th century. On display are the drawing room of Ulrike von Levetzow, the last lover of Goethe, an historic Siegen kitchen and bedroom and many other artefacts bearing witness to the region’s history.
Visitors also get to go underground: directly beneath the courtyard of the Oberes Schloss is a fascinating exhibition mine. Visitors are invited to explore deep mining in the Siegerland, which defined the region for more than 2,000 years. Archaeological findings, including an Iron Age furnace from the La Tène period around 200 BC, prove that ore was being mined in the region back in the time of the Celts. The exhibition mine showcases the work of the miners and the processing of mined ore at a depth of around 100 metres. At its heart is a five-metre blowing engine dating from around 1840.
Bringing the city’s history to life
In the attic rooms of the Bischofshaus, the history of Siegen comes vividly to life – from the Middle Ages and the days of sectarian strife to industrialisation, the World Wars and subsequent reconstruction and on to the present day. In partnership with the University of Siegen, a 3D print of the city centre has been created and linked to IT systems with a view to conveying knowledge in an engagingly interactive way.
A digital future
Close to the Oberes Schloss is the Burgstrasse bunker complex, which is due to be converted into an extension of the Siegerland museum. This will create a place to reflect on the history, the present and the future of Siegen, a place where culture and history is communicated by digital, multimedia means.
Siegerlandmuseum at the Oberes Schloss
Oberes Schloss 2/Burgstrasse
Tel. 0271 230410