Amelungsborn Monastery

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Amelungsborn Cistercian Abbey
The interior of the Amelungsborn monastery church
The interior of the Amelungsborn monastery church
location GermanyGermany Germany
Lower Saxony
Coordinates: 51 ° 53 '50 "  N , 9 ° 35' 35"  E Coordinates: 51 ° 53 '50 "  N , 9 ° 35' 35"  E
Serial number
according to Janauschek
Patronage St. Mary
founding year 1135
Year of dissolution /
Mother monastery Kamp Monastery
Primary Abbey Morimond Monastery

Daughter monasteries

1145: Riddagshausen
1171: Doberan

The Amelungsborn (also Amelunxborn ) is a former Cistercian - abbey on the southern border of the Odfeldes in Negenborn and Stadtoldendorf in the district of Holzminden east of Vogler on the B 64 in southern Lower Saxony . After the Walkenried monastery, it is the oldest establishment of the Cistercian order in Lower Saxony . The St. Marien monastery church is also the parish church of the former monastery villages of Negenborn and Holenberg . The novel The Odfeld byWilhelm Raabe plays in the Amelungsborn monastery.



Exterior view of the monastery church

In 1124, monks from the Cistercian monastery in Altenkamp on the Lower Rhine reached the area west of today's Stadtoldendorf , which was donated to them by Siegfried IV , the last Count of Northeim - Boyneburg and Homburg, to found a new monastery .

The "villa Amelungsborn", which bears its name after the source still verifiable in the monastery area, the "Born" (fountain) of the Amelung, belonged to the hereditary property of the princely family. On December 5, 1129, the monastery was confirmed by Pope Honorius II. However , the authenticity of this document is disputed.

There is no longer a deed of foundation. The most likely year of the foundation is 1129, since according to the Cistercian registers the abbot and convent moved into the monastery on November 20, 1135 and usually six years passed between the foundation and the move into the convent. With the foundation of the new Cistercian monastery Amelungsborn, Count Siegfried IV. Von Boyneburg pursued  the goal of securing his territory far away from his ancestral seat in Northern Hesse - as well as with the construction of the nearby Homburg Castle .

In 1135 the monastery was consecrated by Bishop Bernhard I of Hildesheim . As with Walkenried and later also with Michaelstein near Blankenburg, the occupation took place from Altenkamp on the Lower Rhine, so that Amelungsborn was the grandchildren of Morimond and the great-grandchildren of Cîteaux , the ancestral monastery of the Cistercians founded in 1098. The first abbot of the monastery was Abbot Heinrich I , a half-brother of Count Siegfried IV.

Further development and subsidiary formation

The positive economic development of the abbey enabled the order to expand. As early as 1138 Amelungsborn provided the founding abbot for the Mariental Abbey near Helmstedt . In 1145 Amelungsborn sent a complete convent to found the monastery in Riddagshausen near Braunschweig and thus became the mother monastery of Riddagshausen . There the friars created a pond landscape for fish farming, which is now a nature reserve; Eleven of the former 28 ponds still exist today.

Amelungsborn became the mother monastery of the rich and powerful Doberan Monastery (in today's Bad Doberan ) near Rostock , whose occupation was initiated in 1171 and again in 1176 by the Wendenconverter monk Berno , who came from Amelungsborn . He became the first bishop of Mecklenburg in 1158 .

The oldest piece of news (between 1199 and 1206) about Wennigsen , which is only available in a copy of the 13th century in the Amelungsborn monastery book, is in a document from Hartbert (Bishop of Hildesheim 1199–1216). This document certifies that Count Bernhard von Poppenburg and Spiegelberg from Wennigsen renounced the administration of the salt works in Swalenhusen near Hemmendorf that had been transferred to his father by the Amelungsborn monastery .

Further grandchildren were monastery Isenhagen near Wittingen and Wahlshausen near Fuldatal by Riddagshausen and Dargun and Pelplin by Doberan. Amelungsborn became the richest monastery in the Guelph area, and at the same time most closely connected to the East German colonization movement. Around 1280 there were 50 choir monks and 90 lay brothers living in the Cistercian Abbey of Amelungsborn .

Even after the Mecklenburg estates, which were mainly grouped around Satow and Dranse, were alienated in the 14th century, Amelungsborn Abbey secured ample possessions, which apart from the noble lords of Homburg , who were the legal successors of the founder, and in particular the Counts of Everstein between Weser and Leine, generously increased it has been. Including the partly out were set farmyards formed villages or hamlets ( grange ): Allersheim in Holzminden , Schnedinghausen in Moringen , Erzhausen , Bruchhof and Holter Hausen in Greene , to Stadthöfe in Einbeck , Höxter and Hameln and forest ownership in the vicinity of the monastery. For Hermann II. Von Everstein and his wife Adelheid, a three-dimensional tomb was created in the choir of the monastery church in the middle of the 14th century .

After the Reformation

The monastery around 1654 by Matthäus Merian

In the 16th century, the Amelungsborn Abbey became dependent on the Princes of the Guelph with almost no resistance. In 1549 the rich outer courtyard of Allersheim near Holzminden was ceded to Duke Heinrich the Younger of Braunschweig . In 1568, after Duke Julius von Braunschweig took office, the Reformation was introduced and the monastery was connected to a Latin school. In 1588 the first Protestant abbot and founder of the monastery school, Andreas Steinhauer, died. The maintenance of the Latin school remained the main task of the monastery. The director of the Latin school was appointed prior of the monastery, the teachers were conventuals.

Since the Thirty Years' War , when a tipper and wipper coin was temporarily operated in Amelungsborn under the Landdrosten Regiment Duke Friedrich Ulrichs , the economic situation remained shattered. In the meantime, the abbot's chapel to the north served as a dairy.

In 1655 the Duke issued a new monastery order and appointed the newly appointed general superintendent of the Braunschweig Weser district in Holzminden as abbot of the monastery.

In 1760, Duke Karl I relocated the monastery school to Holzminden and merged it with the city school there, which later became today's Campe-Gymnasium . All corporate cohesion ended around 1810, although the office of abbot continued in the 19th century. When the monastery's school duties ended in 1875 when the school was nationalized, the abbot's office still existed as an honorary title for high Brunswick clergy.

In 1837 the monastery fell to Wolfenbüttel consistorial councils and had been vacant since 1912 because the question of the right of occupation between the state government and the Brunswick regional church was disputed.

The first restorations began in 1874, but some parts of the building, such as the cloister and the abbot's chapel, were completely demolished.

20th century

The district of Holzminden came from the state of Braunschweig to the Prussian province of Hanover through the area adjustment of August 1, 1941 . At the same time the church came to the Landeskirche Hannover. The church senate took over the rights of the former sovereign and took over responsibility for the Amelungsborn monastery.

During the Second World War the monastery complex was badly damaged by acts of war. On April 6, 1945, American troops, coming from Eschershausen and Bevern , advanced to the monastery. Shortly before the invasion, a food depot of the Reich government was opened for the population. 20 to 30 soldiers of the Waffen-SS initially offered resistance with light weapons until they had used up their ammunition and fled towards Stadtoldendorf. Although Amelungsborn was free of German soldiers, the US troops had bombings carried out on April 8 and took the monastery under heavy fire. Around 21 bomb hits fell on the houses and stables of the monastery complex.

The nave of the church was hit and collapsed, the southern part collapsed completely, and the southern row of columns was completely destroyed. The large east window from 1350 was also destroyed. Artillery fire put the hand of the tower clock out of action at around 1 p.m. The pulpit, altar and pews were badly damaged, a pillar in the chancel threatened to topple over, and all windows were destroyed.

Reconstruction began in 1954 and was largely completed by the church consecration on July 12, 1959.

The Loccum Treaty , a state treaty from 1955 between the state of Lower Saxony and the five regional churches , brought new opportunities for the monastery . The responsible church authorities were now able to regulate the prelatures Amelungsborn, Königslutter , Mariental and Riddagshausen without the involvement of the state.

In 1960 Christhard Mahrenholz became the new abbot, appointed a convent and founded the Familiaritas lay fraternity. The former monastery district, which until then had been administered by the Braunschweig Foundation, returned to the monastery in 1965.

The constitution of the Evangelical Lutheran Regional Church Hanover of February 11, 1965 states: “The Amelungsborn Monastery is a spiritual body in the regional church that has to fulfill regional church tasks. The church senate is in charge of the monastery; he issues the monastery constitution and, in agreement with the regional synodal committee, determines the regional church tasks of the monastery. The abbot is appointed by the church senate after hearing the convention. ”Today the convention consists of the abbot and eight conventuals. About 30 men belong to the Familiaritas.

The monastery buildings serve today as a conference center and are a stop on the Loccum – Volkenroda pilgrimage route .

Postal history

Postmark from Amelungsborn

In 1825 there was a post office with a mail attendant in the monastery estate, which was closed in 1842. From 1847 there was a mail collection point for local correspondence. The mail was supplied by the stagecoaches passing through between Eschershausen and Stadtoldendorf. From 1840 to 1842 a single-circle stamp "Amelunxsborn" with a date line was used. From 1843 there was a two-line stamp “Amelunxborn / Date (day in digits, month in letters)” on the letters.

For the development of the postal system in Amelunxborn, see: Braunschweig-Holzminden postal route .

Monastery complex

To the south of the nave and chancel, the no longer preserved cloister followed, the dimensions of which are indicated by a newer gravel path. Starting from the choir, the refectory and dormitory as well as the chapter house followed along the sides of the cloister, none of which have been preserved. This entire “inner” monastery area, the enclosure , was only allowed to be entered by monks and neither by lay people nor lay brothers ( conversations ). The fountain house was located near the western edge, the location of which is marked by a sandstone shell. The western part of the cloister was later integrated into the half-timbered house , which was connected there as a farm building and is called "stone". It currently houses the lay brotherhood's kitchen, refectory and chapter house.

To the west of the “stone” is the half-timbered brewery, which was the workshop of the lay brothers, and in whose cellar the barrels of the Einbeck monastery courtyard, which was authorized to brew, were stored, but in which no brewing took place.

To the east of the choir is the two-story prior house made of red sandstone. A small Gothic window shows the location of the former house chapel.

To the south-east is also the two-storey "Kantorey", which was built in the 17th century for the rector and cantor of the monastery school. After a major renovation in the 1990s, it now serves as a conference center and pilgrim accommodation. A monastery garden adjoins it to the south .

The large surrounding wall of the monastery district, built around 1300, has been completely preserved. The gatehouse still has Gothic parts.

Monastery church

As is common with Cistercian monastery churches, emphasis was placed on simplicity and functionality, without pictures and sculptures. The church had no tower, and a rood screen separated the western nave from the crossing and choir, which were reserved for the monks. The choir had a circuit for processions, and there were also numerous side altars for daily church services.

In front of the rood screen in the nave there was another altar for lay services. The nave and lower parts of the transept date from the first phase of construction around 1150, and can be easily read from the small Romanesque arched windows on the basilica-style nave . The central nave is significantly higher than the two side aisles, and light falls into the dark nave through the cliff windows. After the Second World War, a simple beam ceiling was installed in the central nave. In the west there is a gallery and below it a sacristy , which was built in the 19th century.

The choir and the transept were extended around 1350 in the Gothic style, built mainly higher and set off against the nave by three steps. The greater height was also planned for the nave, but was no longer implemented, but still legible on the west wall of the transept. The choir is angled a few degrees to the south in its longitudinal axis compared to the nave. The choir and transept have typically Gothic, pointed arched tracery windows and are therefore considerably lighter. Decorative panes were later attached to some of the vault ribs in the choir and transept, such as the coats of arms of the most important donors: the dukes of Braunschweig , the princes of Mecklenburg-Werle , the counts of Everstein from Holzminden and the noble lords of Homburg from Stadtoldendorf . In the crossing there are discs with the evangelist symbols, and the lamb of God adorns the keystones in the nave and transept, while the head of Christ and Mary, the two main patrons of the Cistercians, are depicted in the choir.

In the 14th century the monastery church was equipped with large stained glass windows. There is currently a modern stained glass window on the east facade of the choir. Originally the window there contained scenes from the life of Mary, the youth and passion of Christ in over 72 individual panes; but only a few remains survived the Second World War. These remains were distributed over three windows of the north aisle in the nave. In the north window of the transept the family tree of Christ was shown in a root Jesse representation . Already largely destroyed, twelve panes were removed in 1838 and were used to furnish the chapel at Blankenburg Castle . These were returned in 1964 and re-framed. Today they form the eastern end of the southern choir nave, in which there is an altar and a baptismal font from 1592.

The large east window in the choir was donated by the city of Holzminden in 1958 and designed by Werner Brenneisen from Hanover. It shows the life and suffering of Christ in 48 small-format scenes. The other modern windows come from Wilhelm de Graaf from Essen-Werden , who also created the round window in the west gable in 1957 with Christ's Descent from the Cross. He also made the south window in the transept above the organ with representations of the calling and working history of the four evangelists as well as the Homburg lion and the town's coat of arms.

The deceased monks used to be brought to the monastery cemetery in front of it through the death gate on the north transept facade. On the south side of the transept there is a portal that originally led to the cloister (above it you can still see the corbels that once supported the roof of the cloister). The stair tower was not added to the east next to the portal until the 19th century.

The first crossing tower was built at the end of the 15th century, but burned down after the Thirty Years War. This was followed in 1684 by a tower with a curved helmet and lantern, in gray lead cladding. After the Second World War the tower was rebuilt. The three bells were cast in the 1960s by the Heidelberg bell caster Friedrich Wilhelm Schilling and were given to the monastery.

Altar by Erich Klahn

In 2003, the so-called Thomas Altar was set up in the southern choir of the monastery church by Erich Klahn , an artist who can be assigned to the ethnic- national socialist milieu and who incorporated anti-Semitic and National Socialist representations in many works . The altar, created 1928–1930, was originally a private production for Christhard Mahrenholz . According to art historian Herbert Pötter, the artist depicted the figure of Christ in a physiognomy similar to that of Albert Leo Schlageter, who was executed in 1923, in his painting "The shooting of Albert Leo Schlageter", made in 1930. Albert Leo Schlageter was viewed by the National Socialists as a martyr and a forerunner of their movement. The report of Herbert Pötter was presented by the regional bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover, Ralf Meister, on February 9, 2016 in Hanover. According to the regional bishop, Klahn's works should not be covered or removed; instead, a discussion should be held about the artist in the churches in which his works are exhibited.

In contrast, the historian Helge Meyn-Hellberg comes to the conclusion that the figures depicted on the altar are much more about church music personalities who had a special personal or historical significance for Christhard Mahrenholz.

According to Meyn-Hellberg, the image program is as follows:

Left inside (baptism of Jesus - rediscovery of baroque organ building)

Inner midfield (disciples of Jesus)

Right inside (coat division of Saint Martin - rediscovery of baroque music)


Spire of the monastery church

Crossing in 2015 without a spire

In 2007 the tower on the Amelungsborn monastery church was dismantled together with the church bells . The new 29 meter long church tower was later assembled in two pieces from around 500 steel parts by a steel construction company from Sarstedt . The Corten steel used is extremely durable and should have a minimum durability of 100 years.

On February 5, 2016, two low-loaders transported the tower in two parts as a roof turret to the Amelungsborn monastery church. The base of the roof ridge was placed on the crossing of the church roof by the 350-ton crane and installed there by the building construction specialists . The abbot Eckhard Gorka and the construction manager Jürgen Goetz filled the documents capsule, which then found their place under the spire. It contains coins, blueprints, a historical picture of the monastery church with the original church tower and a current edition of the Holzminden Daily Gazette as the local daily newspaper.

The topping-out ceremony for the new tower took place on February 6, 2016, the inauguration on June 11, 2016.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover , the Hanover Monastery Chamber and the Braunschweigischer Kulturbesitz Foundation contributed to the costs of 1.1 million euros .


The organ was built in 1969 by Karl Schuke Berlin organ building workshop. The slider chest instrument has 23 registers on two manuals and a pedal . The playing and stop actions are mechanical.

I Hauptwerk C – g 3
1. Quintadena 16 ′
2. Principal 8th'
3. Reed flute 8th'
4th octave 4 ′
5. Pointed flute 4 ′
6th Forest flute 2 ′
7th Mixture V-VI 1 13
8th. Trumpet 8th'
II Positive C-g 3
9. Dumped 8th'
10. Principal 4 ′
11. Reed flute 4 ′
12. octave 2 ′
13. Fifth 1 13
14th Sesquialtera II
15th Sharp IV 1'
16. Krummhorn 8th'
Pedal C – f 1
17th Sub-bass 16 ′
18th Principal 8th'
19th Drone 8th'
20th octave 4 ′
21st Mixture V 2 ′
22nd trombone 16 ′
23. Clarine 4 ′

* Pair : II / I, I / P, II / P

local community

In 2006 the parish of Amelungsborn was founded. It includes the parishes in Negenborn , Holenberg , Golmbach , Warbsen , Lütgenade , and Reileifzen with the parish in Golmbach, which is also the monastery parish. The parish is part of the Holzminden-Bodenwerder parish .

Abbots of the monastery

The abbots in the recent history of the monastery were:

See also:


  • Nicolaus Heutger : The Amelungsborn monastery in the mirror of the Cistercian order history. Lax, Hildesheim 1968.
  • Nicolaus Heutger: The Amelungsborn Monastery. Become - grow - work. For the 100th birthday of Christhard Mahrenholz (= research on the history of the order in Lower Saxony , vol. 5). Oppermann, Hannover 2000, ISBN 3-87604-031-0 .
  • Hans-Christian Drömann, Herbert Göhmann: The Evangelical Lutheran Cistercian Monastery Amelungsborn. Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich and Berlin, 6th, revised. Edition 2008, ISBN 978-3-422-02092-4 .
  • Hans-Jörg Dietsche: Amelungsborn Monastery: A special case of the Reformation. In: Anna-Maria from the Wiesche, Frank Lilie (Hrsg.): Kloster auf Evangelisch. Reports from life together. Vier-Türme-Verlag, Münsterschwarzach 2016, ISBN 978-3-89680-904-9 , pp. 49–54.
  • Amelunxborn in the Topographia Braunschweig Lüneburg by Matthäus Merian ( Wikisource )

Web links

Commons : Amelungsborn Monastery  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Great architectural monuments. Issue 338. Amelungsborn Abbey . 5th edition Deutscher Kunstverlag, 1998, p. 2
  2. ^ NC Heutger: The Amelungsborn Monastery as reflected in the history of the Cistercian order. Hildesheim 1968, p. 13.
  3. Hans-Günter Partisch: Stadtoldendorf and its relationships with the Amelungsborn monastery .; accessed on November 16, 2014.
  4. 750 years of Wennigsen 1200–1950. Published by the preparatory committee for the 750th anniversary of the Wennigsen community. Printed by Buchdruckwerkstätten Hannover, 1950, p. 8.
  5. List of the Bishops of Hildesheim and external link Episcopal Press Office Hildesheim ( Memento of September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ; PDF) November 20, 2005, p. 31
  6. Meaning of the place names . ( Memento from September 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive ); accessed on November 16, 2014.
  7. Tomb of Hermann von Everstein and his wife
  8. Memorial plaque for April 6, 1945 in the monastery church on September 17, 2006
  9. Former Abbot Hans-Christian Drömann : Thomas Altar, a winged altar by Erich Klahn. (Accessed February 3, 2016).
  10. ^ Herbert Pötter: The altars and sacred images of Erich Klahn (1901–1978) in the context of their creation and imagery. (PDF) February 9, 2016, accessed June 9, 2016 .
  11. Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung , February 10, 2016, p. 6.
  12. Daily Anzeiger Holzminden , October 21, 2016, p. 13.
  13. Tower consecration festival in Amelungsborn Monastery on June 11, 2016 , accessed on April 13, 2020.
  14. Jörn Niggemann: Today we can close the wound. Amelungsborn monastery church gets a new spire. In: Leine Nachrichten from the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung on February 6, 2016, under Sarstedt on page 11 (accessed on February 8, 2016).
  15. ^ Organ in Amelungsborn , accessed on February 12, 2020.