Sostrup is an island fort established on a man-made island of granite boulders and hundreds of oak tree posts. The posts are to retain moisture so they don't become porous. This is why it is important that the moat doesn't dry out.
An old myth says that Sostrup castle will collapse into the moat on a Christmas night. This was not something the former owner, Jørgen Schell, also known as the wild earl, wanted to risk being a part of. Instead, he built a house in the neighbouring town of Gjerrild where he could stay on Christmas night. He named the house Kokkehuset and the house is still there to this day.
Many families of noble birth have owned Sostrup castle. The mighty Scheel family became the owner of Sostrup in 1612 and it remained in the Scheel family for 211 years. At the time, the castle was named Skeel which was the original spelling of the Scheel family name. The last person of the Scheel family to own the castle was Jørgen Scheel. He travelled around Europe on several occasions over a 15-year period. It was during these trips that he brought many cultural artefacts home with him; works of art, 11.600 books, furniture, hand-painted tapestry, etc. However, it was also this interest that eventually lead to the end of the Scheel family's era on Sostrup.
The Scheel earldom was revoked in 1807. Jørgen Scheel was declared incapable of managing his own affairs by the king, and after a signal overspending, the possesions were auctioned off and the family's ownership of Sostrup ended in 1823. It was, at the time, the largest bankruptcy in the history of Denmark. The state took possession of the earlier earldom.
Ernst von Benzon became the owner of the castle in 1840 and it stayed in the Benzon family's possession for over a hundred years. During this ownership, it was named Stamhuset Benzon. Ernst von Benzon was also an adventurous soul, a goal-oriented hunter, and a collector, who loved sailing to hunting grounds in Africa and South America in his schooner. Today, several of his trophies can be seen around the castle.
The time of Sostrup castle being owned by masters and mistresses was over in 1943 when the estate was sold to a private company. After World War 2., The Danish state resumed ownership of the castle, and it was around this time that it was renamed Sostrup. Afterward, the castle became a refugee camp for eastern European refugees, and later, it was an innovative boarding school with a focus on theatre that tested the strength of the old walls for a couple of years.
In 1960, the castle was turned into a monastery, when a group of Cistercian nuns resumed Sostrup. In 1992, the terrific Maria Hjerte Monastery and Marie Hjerte Church were built under the leadership of abbess Theresa Brenninkmeijer. The abbess and the 22 nuns left the monastery and Denmark in the summer of 2013.
Danish-American Kirsten Bundgaard took over the historic site in June of 2014. Today, Sostrup Slot is a modern meeting and conference centre, where there is room for intimacy, reflection, and immersion.
On Sostrup Slot, you can arrange meetings, conferences, seminars, and other events for 10-300 participants. In the boulder building, there are 3 meeting/conference rooms in varying sizes. The Monastery's impressive Pyramidesal (the glass pyramid-covered convent garden) has room for 220 guests for dining or 300 reception guests. Here you can have your wedding festivities and you can be married in Maria Hjerte Church that is on-site. Sostrup can offer sleeping accommodation for up to 120 people in the old Farm building and in the comfortable monastery cells.
Maria Hjerte Engen 1, Gjerrild