6 January 2022
Angenstein Castle (Duggingen, Canton of Basel-Landschaft) was strategically important for the Prince-Bishop of Basel to control his territories in the Jura region (roughly the area of today’s Canton of Jura, the Birseck in Basel-Landschaft and French-speaking areas of Canton Bern). The site is located southwest of Basel in the Birs basin.
Angenstein was inhabited in the 13th century by the counts of Pfirt. They ceded the castle to the Bishop of Basel in 1271. After a long battle between the Bishop and the Canton of Solothurn over the ownership of this strategically important outpost, the Bishop emerged victoriously.
In 1557, after the Bishop was forced to leave Basel for Porrentruy (today’s canton of Jura), Melchior von Lichtenfels (1517-1575) donated the castle to his chancellor Wendelin Zipper.
He rebuilt the castle into the knightly and romantic residence it is today. He added half-timbered buildings to the four-storey donjon, which still characterises the image of Angenstein today.
With its three beautiful stained-glass windows donated by the Bishop and the canons, the chapel was completed in 1560-1562. These windows symbolise the three important church holidays Good Friday, “Christmas and Pentecost.
Various wars and looting (including by Protestant Swedish troops during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) and fires led to increasing decay.
In 1951, the city of Basel acquired the castle, which, however, is located in the territory of the Canton of Basel-Landschaft. Between 1988 and 1991, the complex was completely renovated and made habitable.
Not only this centuries-old history and the return of Basel as the owner (in 1951) are fascinating, but also the railway tunnel under the castle and the river Birs flowing alongside.
Modernity, history, natural barriers, and age-old rivalry between cantons are never far away in Switzerland.