Borken with its 780 years of history, offers a great many sights to see, which cover not only art and history but also nature and the outdoors, such as original examples of preserved moor and heathland, swathes of parkland so typical to the area, game and wild bird enclosures and a trout farm.
Short guided tours and visits to the most interesting sights:
One of the most beautiful moated castles in Münsterland. The Lords of Gemen, who received their first mention in history around 1100, lived under the protectorate (Vogt) of Vreden. They built the castle in 1411, out of the original "Gamini" manor house (built in 1017). Since 1946, the castle has been used as a youth camp under the guidance of the diocese of Münster. It is also known as Jugendburg (youth castle).
Not quite so old are the former village hall, Grave House, also in Gemen and the community centre in Weseke. They show how countryside life was in Borken some 200 years ago. These buildings have been restored to their original form and are still used today by the Gemen and Wiseke community associations.
Pröbsting Manor House
Pröbsting is a one time manor house and aristocratic estate from the 13th century. Thanks to restoration work in 1988, the moated manor been brought back to its former glory and is the central attraction of the recreational park that bears its name.
Döring House in Marbeck, takes an important place in the history of castles. It is one of the very few, remaining mott-castles that date to the Middle Ages. A mott-castle is built on a man-made hill or 'mott', often surrounded by water filled moats.
These castles often had their own watermills. The square-shaped, brick building was built at the end of the 17th century. The undershot water-wheel has been fully restored. The mill is however no longer used. The last time it was needed was after the war, when it was used to drive a generator to supply electricity.
Marbeck Community Centre
Since 1999, Marbeck has had its own community centre. From 1997 to 1999, the members of the community association managed to build a beautiful community centre out of the oak timber frame of an old shack. This was only possible thanks to their own hard work and initiative.
In the community centre you'll find a permanent exhibition of old agricultural machines, woodworking and handicrafts as well as an actual, traditional spinning room. The threshing floor and fire room are used by the association and visitor groups.
Outside, on the community centre's grounds you will find a dew pond with native plant species as well as a traditional kitchen garden, a barn with large, agricultural machines, a cosy bakery and the Chapel of the Mother of God (Muttergotteskapelle).
The house has become a meeting place for the residents of Marbeck. Groups of visitors are always welcome, however if you plan to visit, you should at least make an appointment.
Marbeck Community Centre (Heimathaus Marbeck)
Schulstraße 1 b
Telephone: +49 (2867) 490 (Mrs. Maria Schwane) and +49 (2867) 907977
In the summer months (15. april - 14. october 2012) Sundays from 14:00 to 17:00 hrs Coffee and cakes (except on the 01., 15. May and 27. May, 28 May open from 14:00 to 17:00 hrs). Guided tours can be given on request Large groups should contact Mrs. Schwane before hand.
Weseke Community Centre
A 'geological garden', a medicinal plants garden and a 'Backspieker' (communal baking house) are all connected with the community centre in Weseke. With a lot of effort, skill, knowledge and support from the state of Nordrhein Westfalen, the community association has achieved something very seldom seen and which is widely admired.
Guided and unguided visits
Weseke Community Centre (Heimathaus Weseke)
Telephone: +49 (2862) 1323 (Mr. Benning)
Sun 11:00 to 13:00 hrs.
Please notify the community centre prior to visiting.
The Town Towers
Definitely worth a mention are the five surviving Town Towers and the remains of the old town wall, located in the town centre and which date back to the 14th century (the town's fortifications were completed in the 16th century). The town's Medieval fortifications and tenacity of its inhabitants are displayed particularly well here. Today, the so-called "Thieves Tower" (Diebesturm) houses a widely known and well used establishment, namely the local Registry Office, whose centuries old, 2m thick walls make those words "I do" just that bit more memorable.
Propsteikirche of St. Remigius
The parish church of St. Remigius started out as a small wooden church. By 1160 the size of the congregation had grown, so a larger church was built in the Romanesque style on the original site. The church's mighty towers still dominate the skyline in this part of town.
Church tower dimensions:
Wall thickness (lower) 2.35 m, (upper) 1.10 m; Height (without finial) 73 m; Total height (with finial) 76 m
Church's inner dimensions:
Width 25.20 m; Length (without sanctuary) 31.50 m; Height of columns 7.80 m; Height of vault 13.56 m
Number of bells:
5 (Remigius Bell, Pius Bell, Ludgerus Bell, Marien Bell, Christophorus Bell) Dimensions of the largest bell:
(Remigius Bell) Height 1.70 m, Diameter 1.70 m, Weight 3200 kg
St. John's Church (Johanneskirche)
In 1263, the Order of St. John built their church and preceptory on the spot of a St. Ludgerus Church, which had been built prior to 1200. The church was bought by the Capuchins in 1658, by which time both buildings were completely dilapidated. A Baroque style church was built in around 1700 and extended with a side aisle in 1777.
As well as a permanent town history exhibition (way of life, handicrafts and household effects of earlier generations) and a collection of historically important dolls, the town museum also offers art exhibitions (graphic arts and photography), lectures on regional history and live evenings (blues, jazz and cabaret).
Town Museum, Marktpassage 6 (am Markt)
St. John's Church (Johanneskirche)
The evangelical St. John's Church was constructed in 1703 and lies outside of the old Freiheit. The church's windows detailed with family crests, are today the most important examples of a stained glass window-series in Westfalen. The lack of religious motives, is typical of the religious reforms of the time. The sparse colouring dates the age. It's worthwhile pointing out the two windows next to the lectern. They were commissioned by the Prussian king and queen, Friedrich I. (1712) and Sophie Luise (1708), a reminder of the suzerainty of Kleves over Gemen which was established in 1250. The legal heir to the Counts of Kleves was the Prince-Elector of Brandenburg, the later King of Prussia.
That is why Wilhelm II had the windows restored in 1897. The windows on the north and south sides of the church were also commissioned thanks to donations from the Countess Maria von Hessen of the House Wisch-Bronkhorst (1730), the Wesel Brewery and Bakery and the Mariner's Guild (1710).
St. Mary's Church (Marien Kirche)
St. Mary's Church was built in 1719 as an abbey church (Maria Immaculata) on the grounds of Gemen Castle. In 1756 a Baroque gable was added. The Franciscan abbey is used today for seminars and is part of the Gemen Castle youth camp.
Mariengarden Abbey Church (Klosterkirche Mariengarden)
Mariengarden Abbey Church was built in 1220, initially as a chapel but was later, granted parish rights in 1242. The many abbey buildings and church were taken over by the Missionary Oblates of Hünfelder in 1921. The missionary school has been officially recognised as a grammar school (Gymnasium) since 1969.
Tucked away in Borken's vast nature reserve, are a couple of very interesting natural areas. These include the Burlo-Vardingholter Fens, whose moor and heathland make a particularly rewarding visit. The nature reserve encloses some 74 hectares and is an estimated 4500 years old. On the moor, you'll find many species of plants and animals, which are unique to the area. The border between Germany and the Netherlands runs through the middle of the Burlo-Vardingholter Fens. Here you can still find many border markers made of Bentheim sandstone, dating back to 1766. On one side of the stone markers, the crest of Gelderland is carved and on the other side that of the Bishopric of Münster.
The Hombornquelle Nature Reserve
This stretch of parkland offers attractive and well marked hiking trails and cycling tracks (Münsterland Cycling Network).
However, the charming nature reserve lies far away from noisy roads and is also the perfect place for those looking to change down a gear and relax. Here you can experience the peace that comes from wide, open spaces.
The trout farm and trout stud Wolter are both located in the Hombornquelle Nature Reserve and are surrounded by broad swathes of wood and grassland. The trout farm with its many breeding and fishing ponds, rustic restaurant and grilling shack, has sprung up around the natural spring. Nearby is a game enclosure with fallow deer and wild boars and a large horse paddock with draught horses, ponies and cart horses for covered wagons. Riding, draught horse races and covered wagon rides are just some of the possibilities.
The interesting and romantic Picker Gardens are 3000 m² of perennial plants, situated on the edge of a small stream in Weseke, just waiting to be discovered.
The garden was planted up in 2002 and contains more than 1000 different plant types. These gardens are literally bursting with blossom and charm.
Some of the delights include a farmer's garden, a kitchen garden, several small ponds and fountains, dry stone walls and a rockery, as well as heavily scented roses and impressive flower beds bordered by box plants.
Sunday and Monday closed
Tuesday - Friday 09:30 - 12:30 and 14:00 - 18:00 hrs.
Saturday 09:30 - 14:00 hrs.
The Town Park
The Town Park, with its collection of very old trees, expansive grassy areas and ample benches, borders the town centre and is the perfect place to take a break and reflect upon things. A very popular spot in the park is the aviary of the Borken Society for the Protection of Nature & Birds. The variety of birds that live in the aviary never fails to amaze the on looker.
Dat iserne Krüs
"Dat iserne Krüs" on the Wesel A-road is a place steeped in legend.
The iron cross (iserne Krüs) was originally put up in 1900. Until 1960, it stood not far from where it is now. In 2003, the cross was relocated by an action initiative of the Borken Community Association. The place named 'Zwei Linden' (Two Lime Trees), where according to local legend, a murder was committed lies about 500 meters in the direction of the town. However, only one remains from this natural monument's original two trees.