Duchy of Arenberg

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Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor with haloes (1400-1806) .svg
Territory in the Holy Roman Empire
Dominion / county / duchy of Arenberg
coat of arms

Alternative names Aremberg
Form of rule monarchy
Ruler / government Lord , 1549: Count , 1567: Prince , 1644: Duke
Today's region / s DE-RP

Reichskreis Kurheinisch
Capitals / residences Aremberg
Dynasties House Arenberg
1299: Mark
1547: Ligne
Denomination / Religions mostly catholic
surface 122 km² (around 1800)
Residents 2,900 (around 1800)
Incorporated into 1797: France
1815: Prussia

The Duchy of Arenberg was a territory in the Holy Roman Empire . It emerged from the Arenberg rule (later Arenberg county ). The territory existed from the Middle Ages until 1794/1801. It is to be distinguished from the Duchy of Arenberg-Meppen of the subsequent period.


The area is named after the Aremberg on the river Ahr . There was a castle on the mountain whose owners called themselves von Arenberg or Aremberg. Today the place is called Aremberg . The aristocratic family, on the other hand, call themselves Arenberg.

Heinrich von Arenberg was vice castle count and later burgrave in the archbishopric of Cologne in 1166 . These positions were passed on to the following generations. Johann von Arenberg sold the burgrave title to Archbishop Siegfried von Westerburg in 1279 . He also had to recognize the suzerainty of the archbishops. At the end of the century these claims were rejected. Around the year 1300 the archbishops of Trier and in the 16th century the dukes of Jülich tried in vain to assert rights to the area. By the end of the century at the latest, the area was undisputed as an allod of the House of Arenberg.

The original family died out by 1280. The name and the rule were transferred to a line of the Count of the Mark .

From the 14th and 15th centuries, the focus of the family's possessions shifted to the Meuse and the Brussels area . The homeland, however, lost its importance. The division of the family into different lines had no meaning for the home country.

Structure and administration

The area was named around 1300 as "heyrschaf van Arnberch" and in 1417 as "das lande van Arnberg". The Arenberger Land hardly changed territorially from the beginning to the 18th century. It bordered on Kurköln , the Duchy of Jülich, Kurtrier and the County of Blankenheim . The river Ahr was the border river in the east and south. The border to the north and west was less clear. Therefore, there were occasional conflicts there.

In the immediate vicinity of the castle was the private castle village of Aremberg. Lommersdorf was bigger . There was a main course for the rulership with 21 lay judges. There were also subordinate courts in Aremberg, Dorsel , Antweiler and Mülheim . The division into courts was the only administrative division of the small country. In addition to the private Arenberg valley, there were 14 towns or hamlets. Outside there were other mills and farms. In 1782 the territory was 8,800 hectares and had 2300 inhabitants. At the time of the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss , 11 villages with 508 houses and 2918 inhabitants were counted.

The land was administered by a bailiff until the 17th century. After that, a governor with the seat on the Arenburg took this place.

Agriculture in the Hocheifel was not very productive. The iron ore mines near Lommersdorf, Freilingen and Antweiler were therefore of great importance for the area . These supplied the raw materials for the huts in Ahrhütte and Antweiler. Most of the country's income came from mining and iron production.

History in the early modern period

Margaretha von der Marck-Arenberg

In 1509 the lordship was elevated to a county. This was prince in 1576. As a demonstration of her sovereign position, Margaretha von der Mark-Arenberg had coins minted for the first time. After the Mark-Arenberg family died out, the name and property fell to Johann von Ligne from the baronial house of Ligne through marriage with Margaretha von der Marck-Arenberg . In 1644 the area was elevated to a duchy. The titles always referred to the home country and not to the possessions in the Spanish or Austrian Netherlands. The Arenberg House remained the owner of the land until the end of the Old Kingdom. Only between 1450 and 1552 was it pledged to the Gymnich family. The area remained Catholic even after the Reformation. There have also been cases of witch hunts in the Arenberg area since the late Middle Ages and early modern times .

The End

In 1794 the country was occupied by the French Revolutionary Army. The eastern part of the country was added to the Rhine-Moselle department , the western part to the Roerdepartement . With the Treaty of Lunéville on February 9, 1801, the House of Arenberg completely lost its duchy on the left bank of the Rhine , south-west of Bonn in the Eifel and until then part of the Kurhein Empire circle to France. According to the lists of losses, it then covered an area of ​​4 square miles, with the town of Aremberg, 11 villages, 508 houses and 2918 inhabitants. These included the villages of Ahrhütte , Antweiler , Dorsel , Eichenbach , Freilingen (Nieder- and Oberfreilingen), Frohnhofen, Lommersdorf , Mülheim , Ohlenhard , Reetz and Wershofen as older possessions , as well as later acquisitions the County of Schleiden including the Müringen rulership, the Fleringen rulers , Kasselburg , Saffenberg , the Freiherrschaft Kommern with a share in the Herrschaft Mechernich , the Vogtei Gillenfeld and the tower estates of Ahrweiler .

As compensation, the Duke received the previous Vest Recklinghausen and the Meppen office as the Duchy of Arenberg-Meppen in the course of the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss .


  • Gerhard Köbler : Arenberg. In: Historical Lexicon of the German States. The German territories from the Middle Ages to the present. 4th, completely revised edition. CH Beck, Munich 1992, ISBN 3-406-35865-9 , pp. 20-21.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ "History" at aremberg.de
  2. see Peter Weber: Iron industry in the Eifel and in the Duchy of Arenberg online version
  3. ^ Gabi Best-Altmeier: Hexentod und -leid in Arenberg
  4. Christian von Stramberg: Memorable and useful Rheinischer Antiquarius , Volume 10, Part 3, 164, p. 299 digitized at Google Books