History von Schloss Arff

Schloss Arff was built by two Cologne von Buschmann canons between 1750 and 1755 on the site of an earlier mediaeval castle and is described as one of the most important baroque buildings in the Rhineland. It took its name from the van der Arffe knights, who were first mentioned in a document in 1366. The knights, who were feudatories of the Electorate of Cologne for well over two centuries, were followed by the von Baesgen in 1572 and later by the von Blittersdorf, who then sold to the von Buschmann canons before 1750. The mediaeval castle is said to have been destroyed in the course of the Cologne War which broke out in 1583. Nothing is known about what the site looked like at that time. The von Buschmann canons were followed by Graf von Hompesch, who sold his property to the Electoral Cologne Collector General Freiherr Geyr von Schweppenburg in 1803.

The French imperial court architect of the Cologne electors, Michael Leveilly, not only built the magnificent, strictly symmetrical Schloss Arff, but also the Augustusburg Palace and Falkenlust Palace in Brühl as well as the town hall in Bonn. From 1728-1762, Leveilly is named as the successor to the famous architect Johann Schlaun. He was influenced by Francois Cuvillies. One unusual feature of the construction of Schloss Arff was that Leveilly built the main building and the outer bailey at the same time, and also the gardens and enclosure. The facade of the plastered main building with its discreet stucco decoration was repaired in the fifties and sixties and painted in pink and grey mineral tones under the leadership of government architect Karl Band, the restorer of many Cologne churches. In addition, the oak piling foundations under the main building were partially replaced with reinforced concrete in the fifties. The reason for this was the permanent draw down of the groundwater table as a consequence of the opencast lignite mines west of Cologne’s city boundary with Kerpen and Grevenbroich.

In recent years, the Freiherr Geyr von Schweppenburg family had been looking for an heir to Schloss Arff. A direct niece of Freiherr Geyr von Schweppenburg wanted Schloss Arff to stay in the family. So a plan was made that this niece would take over the house and estate in order to make it accessible to the public again. The transfer of ownership was made in 2015 and since then Schloss Arff has been owned by the Freiherr von Landsberg-Velen family. After extensive renovations and the conversion of the former stables into an “event barn”, Schloss Arff has been available for events of all kinds since January 2020. Since this date, Wolkenburg GmbH has been responsible for marketing the event venue and organising and holding the events.