Anna of Denmark (1532–1585)

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Princess Anna of Denmark as Electress of Saxony

Princess Anna of Denmark (born November 22, 1532 in Hadersleben , † October 1, 1585 in Dresden ), called "Mother Anna", was the Electress of Saxony .


The daughter of King Christian III. of Denmark learned from her mother Dorothea the spinning , needlework, collecting medicinal herbs, household, agriculture. In 1548 she married August von Sachsen ("Father August") in the Saxon capital of Torgau . The politically arranged marriage was already considered extraordinarily harmonious by contemporaries. The couple were only separated for a few days during their 37-year marriage, as the Electress accompanied her husband everywhere.

Of their 15 children, eleven died early. Before each birth, she arranged her shrouds so that they would be at hand in an emergency. She washed and buttered herself, doctored her husband and also tried to influence the affairs of state.

The Annendenkmal by Robert Henze , still on the old Annenfriedhof in Dresden (2008).

Court officials found ridicule about "gynecocracy" (rule of women) at the Saxon court. Elector August got so furious that he even changed his confessional affiliation: if he had previously favored the followers of Philipp Melanchthon , the Philippists , he now joined the Orthodox Lutherans . His Chancellor Georg Cracow died as a result of torture, the Filipino doctor Caspar Peucer was imprisoned (he had been caught making the following statement in a letter: "If we had Mother Annen first, it shouldn't be necessary, we wanted to get the gentlemen soon too" ), others went into exile. To celebrate this event, the Orthodox Lutherans had a medal minted “In memory of the victory of orthodoxy over reason” . Anna, very satisfied with this development, since she herself was close to Orthodoxy , did not make use of the princesses' old right to release prisoners. She remained implacable, even when her daughter Elisabeth married a Calvinist , and implored the young woman to stay away from the service at her husband's court, which led to a serious marital crisis. The Count Palatine Johann Kasimir von Simmern finally forbade his wife's correspondence with her mother; they continued it as secret correspondence. When Elisabeth gave birth to a dead child, her mother wrote to her that it was better for her child to be dead than Calvinist.

“Mother Anna” ran agriculture on her Ostravorwerk and in Dresden's Zwingergarten, dealt with medicine and pharmacy (she invented a famous gastric plaster, put on the Dresden court pharmacy in 1581, invented eye washes, antidotes, burned aquavit , etc.). In Annaburg , named after her , she had two laboratories set up and put together an “art book” with recipes. When the imperial vice-chancellor Zasius lost his wife in 1569, in his inexpressible grief he ordered several bottles of the aquavit, which was known to help not only against all ailments of the body, but above all against heartache.

Anna was in correspondence with famous doctors and trained young girls in herbalism. She looked after asylum seekers, pregnant women and the sick and tried to introduce regular midwifery classes. She also had several " woe mothers " hired for the city. She founded the Annenkirche in front of the Wilsdruffer Tor , where the so-called Mother Anna Fountain by Robert Henze was erected in her honor in 1869 , which was redesigned as a pure monument in 1892. After Dresden was destroyed in 1945, the damaged monument was erected next to the celebration hall of the Old Annenfriedhof in Dresden. Since May 20, 2011, the memorial has been about 50 meters away from the old location in front of the Annenkirche.

Anna died in Dresden in 1585. She succumbed to the plague , an epidemic that she had done much to control. She was buried in Freiberg Cathedral .


  • Johann Heinrich († 1550), Elector Prince of Saxony
  • Eleanor (May 2, 1551 - April 24, 1553)
  • Elisabeth (October 18, 1552 - April 2, 1590), married to Johann Kasimir von der Pfalz-Simmern
  • Alexander (February 21, 1554 - October 8, 1565), Elector Prince of Saxony
  • Magnus (September 24, 1555 - November 6, 1558)
  • Joachim (May 3, 1557 - November 21, 1557)
  • Hector (October 7, 1558 - April 4, 1560)
  • Christian (October 29, 1560 - September 25, 1591), successor of his father as elector
  • Marie (March 8, 1562 - January 6, 1566)
  • Dorothea (October 4, 1563 - February 13, 1587, married to Heinrich Julius von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel )
  • Amalie (January 28, 1565 - July 2, 1565)
  • Anna (November 16, 1567 - January 27, 1613), married to Johann Casimir von Sachsen-Coburg between 1586 and 1593
  • August 23rd, 1569 - February 12th, 1570
  • Adolf (August 8, 1571 - March 12, 1572)
  • Friedrich (June 18, 1575 - January 24, 1577)


King Christian I (1426–1481)
King Friedrich I (1471–1533)
Dorothea of ​​Brandenburg-Kulmbach (1430–1495)
King Christian III (1503–1559)
Johann Cicero Elector of Brandenburg (1455–1499)
Anna of Brandenburg (1487–1514)
Margaret of Saxony (1449–1501)
Anna of Denmark
Johann IV of Saxony-Lauenburg (1439–1507)
Magnus I of Saxony-Lauenburg (1470–1543)
Dorothea of ​​Brandenburg (1446–1519)
Dorothea of ​​Saxony-Lauenburg (1511–1571)
Heinrich I of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (1463–1514)
Katharina of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (1488–1563)
Catherine of Pomerania (d. 1526)


  • August Victor Richard: The Electoral Saxon Chancellor Nicolaus Krell . Kuntze, Dresden 1859.
  • Carl von Weber: Anna, Electress of Saxony . Tauchniz, Leipzig 1865.
  • Otto Posse: The Wettins . Giesecke & Devrient, Leipzig 1897.
  • Konrad Sturmhoefel : Electress Anna of Saxony. A political and moral history of life from the XVI. Century. Haberland, Leipzig 1905.
  • Otto Eduard Schmidt : Forays in Saxony . Grunow, Leipzig 1913.
  • Thomas Klein: The struggle for the second Reformation in Electoral Saxony 1586-1591 . (= Central German Research , Vol. 25), Böhlau, Cologne / Graz 1962.
  • Hellmut Räuber: garden art and landscape design . In: The Union . 4th June 1994.
  • Reinhard Delau: From the history of the Ostragehege (3): Blossoming and decline of the Ostraer Kammergut . In: SZ November 1, 1995.
  • Heide Inhetveen : Agricultural Pioneers. Women as carriers of agricultural progress . In: Hermann Heidrich (Ed.): Frauenwelten. Work, life, politics and prospects in the country . Verl. Fränkisches Freilandmuseum, Bad Windsheim 1999, pp. 13–26, therein pp. 15f. ISBN 3-926834-41-2 .
  • Katrin Keller : Electress Anna of Saxony. About the possibilities and limits of a “mother of the country” . In: Jan Hirschbiegel , Werner Paravicini (Ed.): Das Frauenzimmer. The woman at court in the late Middle Ages and early modern times . Thorbecke, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-7995-4511-5 (residence research vol. 11).
  • Katrin Keller: Electress Anna of Saxony (1532–1585) , Pustet, Regensburg 2010. ISBN 978-3-7917-2270-2 .
  • New edition 2010
  • Ursula Schlude: The court keeper. Electress Anna of Saxony 1532-1585 . WDR series Women of the Renaissance , WDR 2000, 15 min.
  • Ursula Schlude, Heide Inhetveen, Albrecht Hoch: From the business of the princess . In: Research (magazine of the DFG), 2 (2005), pp. 22–24.
  • Hans-Joachim Böttcher : Princess Anna of Saxony (1544-1577) - A life tragedy , Dresdner Buchverlag, Dresden 2013, ISBN 978-3-941757-39-4 .
  • Jette Anders : 33 alchemists. The hidden side of an ancient science. Past Publishing, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-86408-204-7 .
  • Hans-Joachim Böttcher : The time of my life was little and bad - Anna von Sachsen (1567-1613), Dresdner Buchverlag, Dresden 2016, ISBN 978-3-941757-70-7 .
  • Hans-Joachim Böttcher : Elisabeth von Sachsen and Johann Kasimir von der Pfalz - A marriage and religious conflict , Dresdner Buchverlag, Dresden 2018, ISBN 978-3-946906-06-3 .

Web links

Commons : Electress Anna von Sachsen  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

supporting documents

  1. Walther Schönfeld : Women in Western Medicine. From classical antiquity to the end of the 19th century , Enke Verlag Stuttgart 1947, pp. 96 + 97.
  2. Peter Schneck: The midwife profession through the ages. A Dresden midwifery order , in; Die Heilberufe, Issue 9, 23rd year, Springer Verlag Berlin 1971, pp. 263–266.
  3. a b Volker Klimpel : Anna von Denmark (1532-1585) , in: Hubert Kolling (Hrsg.): Biographical Lexicon for Nursing History “Who was who in nursing history” , Vol. 4 Elsevier Munich 2008, pp. 15 + 16.
  4. Dominik Brüggemann: Bronze statue of the Electress Anna is again in front of the Annenkirche ( Memento from August 4, 2012 in the web archive ), in: DNN-online , May 20, 2011
predecessor Office Successor
Agnes of Hesse Electress of Saxony
Agnes Hedwig von Anhalt