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If walls could tell stories, then the guests at Wasserschloss Quilow would get to hear quite a bit - because the manor house has experienced a lot. In the carefully renovated Renaissance building from the 16th century, there is therefore a small exhibition that tells the history of the house and the region very charmingly through objects and documents. And for those who want to stay longer, there are guest rooms in the caretaker's house, built around 1890. Quilow, meanwhile, is just one of many manors and estates in Western Pomerania that live culture, creativity and hospitality. We introduce you to five houses in the wildly romantic natural paradise of the Peene Valley

The villages in rural Western Pomerania are mostly small and quiet, the associated manors all the more magnificent - this creates charming contrasts. From the middle of the 17th century, many of these manor houses were built in the region amidst beautiful nature, and people settled around them. It was a time of new beginnings, especially in the countryside: the Thirty Years' War was over, people were enjoying life again, could plan and build something for themselves - not least because of this, many of the buildings turned out rather splendid and are today often called country castles. Their diversity still characterizes Western Pomerania today - many houses have now been renovated and filled with new life. And if the concept is good, then guests and locals alike have something to gain from it. The region can be discovered in a particularly relaxed and intensive way by bike. 


Quilow moated castle

Quilow moated castle reopened after extensive renovation and repair work ©Philipp Meuser
Quilow moated castle reopened after extensive renovation and repair work ©Philipp Meuser

Who did the little cream jar once belong to? And what do we read out of old inventory lists today? What kind of work did the oxen actually do, and how closely was the fate of the villagers linked to that of the landowner's family? The small, loving exhibition at Wasserschloss Quilow brings the past to life and tells us how it once was - because the walls can't really do that. At the same time, the house has recently become an open, creative place that invites visitors to stay. Wasserschloss Quilow is not a hotel in the true sense of the word, but you can hold workshops there, celebrate, or just drop in for the night. In the former castle, the attic has been converted into a large, inspiring room with open beams, and there are also smaller adjoining rooms that can be used by guests. In the former caretaker's house there are seven charming rooms where you can spend the night as it was in 1925. There is no TV and no Internet, but the bathrooms on the floors have been modernized. Artists and groups can stay there, but also cyclists and other guests passing through. On the first floor there's a kitchen for self-catering. But it was a long way until everything could be opened in summer 2020.

Quilow, built in 1575 in Renaissance style, had various owner families, served as a daycare center, restaurant and gymnasium during the GDR era, stood empty for a long time and fell into disrepair. A fate shared by many of the manor houses in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. In 2007, the moated castle was purchased by the "Stiftung Kulturerbe im ländlichen Raum Mecklenburg-Vorpommern". Uwe Eichler, once an actor with his own stage in Berlin, moved to Quilow (population 80) with his partner Dirk Lagall and took over the building management. His partner Dirk Lagall came along and provides energetic help. "The people of Quilow gave us a wonderful welcome," says Uwe, not a matter of course for two foreigners on such a special mission. Perhaps the one or other party in front of the caretaker's house and the fact that the castle café is the only one far and wide that also benefits the locals helped. Everything is financed by the state, the federal government, the EU and by donations; sponsorships can also be purchased. The concept of the makers: "We are and never want to be finished. The project should be allowed to develop constantly." You can see for yourself on site that this works.


Stolpe manor house

There is a charming connection from Quilow moated castle to Stolpe manor house near Anklam, and it goes like this: You walk or cycle three kilometers through forest and meadows to the Peene, which is about 70 meters wide here. The boatman is called with a metal gong, and his chain ferry takes up to 10 guests per tour across to Stolpe. There, an enchanting manor house hotel and the Stolper Fährkrug await you, both known for their first-class cuisine - pure Pomeranian culinary culture. A salon where you will be served tea or coffee, a starred restaurant where the landlord once dined, and a fireplace room for a cozy end to the day - in the manor house, which today belongs to the Relais & Châteaux hotels, you can really spend a quiet weekend in nature in style. Meanwhile, the nature park center in the same village provides information on how ecology and tourism go together in the Peene Valley.


Liepen Manor

How can sustainable tourism work? Stefan Wollert from Gutshof Liepen is trying the balancing act. Lavender, rosemary and fennel grow on raised beds in the large farm garden, the hotel and restaurant with rooms in country house style works sustainably and lacks nothing, from wellness area to farm store, everything is there. To explore the river landscape, the guest boards one of the hotel's own solar-powered electric boats, glides almost silently through still waters, beavers & Co on the reed banks remain undisturbed - Tom Sawyer feeling in the Peene Valley. In this last largely unspoiled river valley in Western Europe, you will experience a unique natural landscape with a high level of biodiversity. Due to the low gradient of the Peene, a flooded moor has developed, which offers protection and a home to many rare animals and plants. With a little luck you will see sea eagles, beavers, otters and kingfishers.


Hotel Neetzow Castle

Towers and battlements: Neetzow Castle was designed by Berlin architect Georg F. H. Hitzig, a student of Karl Friedrich Schinkel @ TMV/Tiemann
Towers and battlements: Neetzow Castle was designed by Berlin architect Georg F. H. Hitzig, a student of Karl Friedrich Schinkel @ TMV/Tiemann

Your hotel may look a little more stately, so that you can feel like a landlady or castle owner? Then the Hotel Schloss Neetzow is probably the place to be in Western Pomerania. The Tudor-style house has stood in the Peene Valley since the mid-19th century and was designed by a student of Schinkel. The garden architect of the surrounding, today protected landscape park is probably also famous: it is said to bear the signature of Peter Joseph Lenné. Hotel Schloss Neetzow, built in the style of English country estates, truly exudes the splendor of bygone days with its 29 guest rooms, its halls and retreats. Even the opulent wall and ceiling decorations of the representation rooms were still largely preserved and contribute to the charm of the castle today. The sun terrace facing the small lake with its landscaped park is a wonderful summer dining room and meeting place for guests from all over the world. Unquestionably, the estate is one of the most striking manor houses expressing a historicist-romantic architectural concept. No wonder that many couples celebrate their wedding there with a lavish party. But according to the hotel's management, the hotel is also splendidly suited for a quiet getaway, as it is, quote, "a peaceful retreat not far from the Baltic coast, where the chirping of birds and the buzzing of bees in its own landscaped park invite you to be the castle's lady and lord for a while." Well then, pack appropriate clothing. Nothing must, everything can.


Till Richter Museum at Buggenhagen Castle

Do you think that Western Pomerania is a long way from the art scene in the cosmopolitan city of Berlin? No. There are definitely exciting exhibitions of current art there, where you can get to know the work of future stars - for example, at Buggenhagen Castle. "We assume that the artists you see here today will have international success in the future," says Till Richter confidently - he is the founder and director of the museum that is at home in the castle. This was built around 1840 near Lassan and not far from the Peene River. It is built in the classicist style and is reminiscent - which is of course intentional - of the buildings on Pariser Platz in Berlin. So the connections to the capital are definitely multidimensional. Today, visitors can experience 10 to 15 exhibitions of contemporary artists there while strolling through the impressive rooms. Buggenhagen Castle, which is also inhabited by the Richter family, also regularly invites creative artists to live and work in the mansion in Western Pomerania during the summer months. Richter also cooperates with schools and regularly organizes events that bring together the people of the region, art enthusiasts and international artists. 

Cover photo: Hotel Schloss Neetzow is located in the middle of a landscape park with a small lake © fotograupner/Adobe Stock

In collaboration with Tourism Association Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania e. V.

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