Marienwerder Monastery

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Monastery church with neo-Gothic tower from 1861

The Monastery Marienwerder is an Augustinian monastery in the district of Marienwerder in the northwest of Hannover . It is one of the five Calenberg monasteries . The monastery church, built as a basilica in Romanesque style around 1200 , is the oldest church in Hanover.


The monastery complex is naturally located in the transition area from the Geest to the loess zone of the Calenberger Land . It is located in the terrace and meadow landscape of the Leine not far from the river. The monastery area includes larger sand dunes that were blown on the north bank of the Leine after the last ice age and are now forested.



Entrance area of ​​the monastery church

The monastery was founded in 1196 as Monasterium Sanktae Mariae in Werdere by Count Konrad I. von Roden . The founding site was on a no longer existing river Werder in the Leine. According to a legend, a wooden image of the Virgin was washed ashore there in a miraculous appearance, which is said to have led to the foundation of the monastery. A similar phenomenon is said to have led to the founding of the Mariensee Monastery about 25 km downstream in 1215 . In 1200 the monastery consecration of Marienwerder took place by the Bishop Themar von Minden . For the first few years the monastery was now an Augustinian canons' monastery . The abbey church adjacent to the monastery was also built at this time . In 1216 the monastery was consecrated for the second time and from then on it was inhabited by Augustinian nuns from Obernkirchen Abbey . In February 1250, Bishop Johann zu Minden merged the Garbsen and Marienwerder parishes so that the monastery church was now also used as a parish church. In the course of time the monastery was given property. This was the estate of the Counts of Roden , on which it was built and who were temporarily the city lords of Hanover. In addition, there were lands as well as fishing and milling rights. In the 13th century, the monastery property included the villages of Garbsen, Linden and Limmer .

Building history

The three-aisled monastery church was built around 1200 in the Romanesque style and was built from rubble stones. The north aisle was destroyed by fire in 1335 and was not rebuilt. During the Middle Ages, the building underwent various renovations.

In 1335 a fire destroyed almost the entire monastery complex, but the church remained largely intact. In the following years, the monastery was rebuilt with the help of donations and inaugurated again in 1339. In another major fire in the monastery in 1687, the church was again largely spared. In 1688 residential buildings on the monastery church were built as west and south wings. In 1704 a two-story east wing was built. Around 1860 there was a church renovation by Conrad Wilhelm Hase . Around 1885 the chancel was painted by Oscar Wichtendahl . In 1997, on the occasion of the 800th anniversary, the church received a remarkable entrance door made of bronze with biblical motifs.


In 1542 the monastery finally became Protestant due to the Calenberg Church Ordinance issued by Elisabeth von Brandenburg and Anton Corvinus . With this, both introduced the Lutheran Reformation in the Calenberger Land . An attempt at the Counter Reformation by Elisabeth's son Erich II in 1546 failed. Elisabeth then moved in the possessions of the monastery, but did not add them to the state treasury, but founded a fund . This resulted in the “General Hannoversche Klosterfonds”, which continues to exist as the Hanover Monastery Chamber to this day. In 1603, the common kitchen and economy typical of monastery life were dissolved, and the conventual women now received their own livelihood. During the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) the monastery suffered from raiding hordes of mercenaries, so that the four remaining nuns temporarily fled to a town house in Hanover belonging to the monastery. In 1663, Duke Georg Wilhelm von Calenberg issued a new monastery order and demanded that the nuns confess to the Augsburg Confession . In 1687 the second major fire of the monastery occurred. The following year the south and west wings were rebuilt and the monastery church was given a bronze bell.


Witches tower on a dune in the garden
View of the monastery complex

Garden across

Construction work on the east wing of the monastery took place in the 18th century. In 1727 the monastery was leased to Carl Anton von Hinüber. From 1760 Jobst Anton von Hinüber was the monastery administrator. He redesigned it according to the English model into an agricultural model estate.

In 1774, Jobst Anton von Hinüber had an approximately 40-hectare site laid out in a garden in the style of a Jardin anglo-chinois , which was called the Hinüber garden . The complex contained various staffage structures , such as a "Hexenturm" (artificial tower ruin), a "Chinese pavilion " and a grotto on the bank of the large pond, on which Venetian gondolas floated and in which a flower island was laid out. Von Hinüber also intended the harmonious unity of the landscaped landscape and agricultural use in the sense of a so-called ornamented farm . A visit to his garden is said to have been a must for educated guests of the Electorate of Hanover.

Remodeling in the 19th and 20th centuries

In the middle of the 19th century the monastery church was in very poor condition. Comprehensive renovation work began in 1858 only after a visit by the king: the galleries were rebuilt and the church received new furnishings in the form of benches, a pulpit, a lectern and a high altar. In addition, a community cemetery was laid out in 1862. In 1924 the monastery and cemetery chapel received new bells after the old ones had been melted down in the First World War . In 1927 the city of Hanover acquired the monastery property. In 1963 a care facility for canons of the Calenberg and Lüneburg monasteries was established. From 1976 to 1978, the east wing of the monastery was converted to make space for new apartments.

Todays situation

The property and the buildings of the monastery are administered by the monastery chamber of Hanover . In 2014, the convent of the monastery consisted of four ladies and an abbess. Since 2014 there has been a new model of age-appropriate support, a residential center with outpatient care and affiliated day care.

The monastery church is also used by the Marienwerder parish, which has around 720 members. The community maintains partnerships with communities in Leipzig and Tanzania.



Web links

Commons : Marienwerder Abbey  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Marienwerder Abbey: Shaping old age
  2. Brochure Monasteries & Ponds, p. 7
  3. Hans Werner Dannowski : "Horstet over the Leine," The Marienwerder Monastery , in ders .: Monastery trips . Between Harz and Heide, Weser and Leine , 2nd edition, Hanover: Schlütersche GmbH & Co. KG Verlag und Druckerei, 2009, ISBN 978-3-89993-661-2 , pp. 13–32; here: p. 25; limited preview in Google Book search

Coordinates: 52 ° 24 ′ 22 "  N , 9 ° 37 ′ 41"  E