House of Fürstenberg (Westphalia)

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Not to be confused with House of Fürstenberg (Swabia).

Fürstenberg is the name of a German noble family of Westphalia, descended from one Hermanus de Vorstenberg, a liegeman of the Archbishop of Cologne, who was among the prince electors of the Holy Roman Empire. Hermanus held a castle for his lord called Fürstenberg ("Prince's Hill") in Ense-Höingen in Soest; this would give the family its name. His son was Wilhelm von Vorstenberg, the Justiciar and Castellan of Werl.

Already Imperial Knights, on 26 April 1660, the family were created imperial barons (Reichsfreiherren). Matriculation to the baronial class in the Kingdom of Bavaria occurred on 22 August 1891 for Friedrich Freiherr von Fürstenberg, Rittmeister à la suite in the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt and Freeholder of Egenburg by Würzburg.

Some members of the family were elevated to comital dignities during German Mediatization for their services to the Kingdom of Prussia, or given honorific titles for their twentieth-century achievements:

Herdringen Line: A Prussian graviate; the title was Graf von Fürstenberg-Herdringen, and an estate in tail, Besitz Herdringen, was given on 16 January 1843 to Franz Egon Freiherr von Fürstenberg of Herdringen (1818-1902), Member of the Prussian House of Lords and Seneschal in the Duchy of Westphalia.
Stammheim Line: A Prussian graviate; Graf von Fürstenberg-Stammheim, in the Demesne of Stammheim given on 15 October 1840 for the Royal Prussian Chamberlain Franz Egon Freiherr von Fürstenberg of Stammheim and the heirs of his body. This line died out in 1925.
Belgian Naturalisation as Baron de Furstenberg was granted 18 April 1887 for Clemens Freiherr von Fürstenberg. A Belgian comté was created with the title Comte de Furstenberg on 3 January 1964 for the agricultural scientist Wenemar Freiherr von Fürstenberg.

The baronial Fürstenberg family of Westphalia should not be confused with the princely family of the same name from Swabia.

Former holdings[edit]

The family's ancestral seat is Schloss Herdringen near Arnsberg. In the nineteenth century, the family also owned the following castles:

Notable members[edit]


  • Franz Egon Freiherr von Fürstenberg of Herdringen (1818-1902)
  • Engelbert Egon Graf von Fürstenberg-Herdringen (1850-1918)
  • Franz-Egon Graf von Fürstenberg-Herdringen (1896-1975) married to Gloria Guinness (1912-1980)
  • Wenemar von Fürstenberg-Herdringen (1897-1972)
  • Betsy von Furstenberg-Herdringen (1931-2015) a German-born American radio, television, film, and Broadway actress
  • Dolores Guinness née von Fürstenberg-Herdringen (1936-2012)
  • Franz-Egon von Fürstenberg-Herdringen (b. 1939)
  • Adelina von Fürstenberg, married to Franz-Egon von Fürstenberg-Herdringen



  • Gosmann, Michael (ed.): Fürstenberger Skizzen. Streifzug durch 700 Jahre westfälische Familien- und Landesgeschichte, Arnsberg, 1995.
  • v. Klocke, Friedrich (rev.): Fürstenbergsche Geschichte, 1st vol., Die Geschichte des Geschlechtes von Fürstenberg bis um 1400, 2nd edn., Münster, 1971.
  • v. Klocke, Friedrich und Theuerkauf, Gerhard: Fürstenbergsche Geschichte, 2nd vol., Die Geschichte des Geschlechtes von Fürstenberg von 1400 bis um 1600, Münster, 1971.
  • Lahrkamp, Helmut/Richtering, Helmut et al. (rev.): Fürstenbergsche Geschichte, 3rd vol., Die Geschichte des Geschlechtes von Fürstenberg im 17. Jahrhundert, Münster, 1971.
  • Andernach, Norbert/Keinemann, Friedrich et al. (rev.): Fürstenbergsche Geschichte, 4th vol., Die Geschichte des Geschlechtes von Fürstenberg im 18. Jahrhundert, Münster, 1979.
  • Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Freiherrliche Häuser, Vol.XV, pp. 135-177, Vol. 69 of the series, C. A. Starke Verlag, Limburg (Lahn), 1989.
  • Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Adelslexikon Vol. III, p. 420, Vol. 61 of the series, C. A. Starke Verlag, Limburg (Lahn), 1975.