Fischbeck Abbey

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The Fischbeck Collegiate Church
Church building
Window in the cloister
The triumphal cross in the Fischbeck collegiate church
Monastery building

Fischbeck Abbey (also Visbeck ) is a Kanonissenstift in Hessisch Oldendorf neighborhood Fischbeck in Lower Saxony .


The pin Fischbeck was founded in 955 by the noble helmet Burgis, with the Ecbertinern was related. The land on which the monastery stands was given to her by King Otto I , who placed the monastery under his protection as an independent protective monastery. In 1147, the Roman-German King Conrad III. the Fischbeck and Kemnade monasteries of the Corvey Benedictine Abbey , but Fischbeck was able to maintain its independence with the support of Henry the Lion .

From 1431 Fischbeck was a regulated Augustinian monastery , which was reformed in 1484 by the Minden bishop.

In 1559, the Reformation was introduced into the county of Schaumburg by a decree by Count Otto IV . The nuns of Fischbeck Abbey opposed this. However, they had to submit to the count's violence. The monastery was converted into a noble fräuleinstift. However, it retained its old facilities and continued to rely on its imperial immediacy . After the monastery buildings were badly damaged in the Thirty Years' War , the monastery was not rebuilt until the 18th century.

In 1810, under King Jerome von Westphalen, the monastery was abolished, but restored in 1814. The German Emperor Wilhelm II. Visited the monastery in 1904 to hand over the abbess's staff to the abbess Frau v. Butlar . In 1955 the monastery celebrated its millennium. Fischbeck Abbey is still a women's abbey today . The monastery belongs to the monastery chamber in Hanover.

Collegiate church

Exterior architecture

The collegiate church has its origins in the early 12th century as a three-aisled, flat-roofed cross basilica with a west bar and crypt . The reconstruction after a fire in 1234 led to architectural changes, especially to the choir and nave.

Apse , base of the choir square and west bar are built in ashlar masonry, the nave, choir above the base and transept in plastered quarry stone masonry with corner blocks. The transept and nave are without building decorations. The apse and the choir are emphasized by a rich structure and a decoration of rod-like arcature . The elongated six-pass windows of the apse, comparable to the Rhenish keyhole or fan-shaped windows, are remarkable .

The west block, built as an independent structure in the middle of the 12th century, consists of ashlar masonry. It is divided into five floors with small windows by cornices. The west vestibule is largely a 20th century reconstruction.

Interior design

The walls of the simple central nave are structured by a narrow, high row of arcades . The low aisles are narrow and do not reach half of the central nave. They are completed with beam ceilings.

A wide staircase leads to the eastern part, which consists of a transept, choir and apse . The dome in the crossing was not built until 1903/04.

The oldest component is the three-aisled hall crypt from around 1120. No model has yet been found in other churches for the quadruple pillars made from one piece .

As a three-aisled basilica, the church corresponds to other churches of the noble women's monasteries of that time. It is characterized by the Saxon architecture with a change of supports (column / pillar / column etc.), flat ceiling , crossing and west bar.

Renovation in 1903

In 1903 a gift from Kaiser Wilhelm II in the amount of 20,000 marks and numerous other donations enabled extensive renovation. The structural redesign was in the hands of the building historian Albrecht Haupt from Hanover. The overall Romanesque impression was accentuated and further developed. The entire interior was given a decorative painting based on medieval templates and predominantly ornamental and floral based on the designs of the interior designer Hermann Schapers from Hanover .

In honor of the imperial donor, the wooden ceiling was given an imperial eagle .

In the choir you can see representations of Bethlehem with the star and Jerusalem with the cross, in the apse of Christ as judge of the world and in the crossing dome of the Lamb of God .

Kaiser Wilhelm II and the Empress came to the inauguration of the renovated church in 1904 . He took over the patronage of the pen. In 1909 the visit was repeated.


Only a few individual pieces have survived before the furnishings from the time before the Reformation.


The tympanum above the west portal is one of the oldest pieces. It was found during an excavation in the porch in 1902. Christ has raised his right hand in blessing, in his left he holds the book of life. In the upper area, the rays of the sun are arranged in a semicircle as an image of the sky. The halo is framed by a tendril ornament.

John's head reliquary

The reliquary in the south transept is a copy. The original, cast from bronze and gilded, was made in the first quarter of the 12th century. It was in the pen for centuries. In 1902 it was sold to the monastery museum in Hanover to finance the renovation of the church.

Triumphal cross

The triumphal cross of the Fischbeck collegiate church is 235 cm high and 165 cm wide, the body measures 210 cm and has an arm span of 165 cm. The cross bars are original, but probably shortened at all ends. The triumphal beam, on which the cross has been attached since a renovation of the collegiate church in 1904, was probably placed higher than the original during this renovation, the original triumphal beam has not been preserved. It is not known whether the cross was part of a triumphal cross group. The body is well preserved. The toes show nicks. Some curls have broken off on the hair. The two crowns are carved on the head. The arms of the crucifix are separately carved and dowelled. There is an opening in the skullcap, possibly a reliquary deposit that was already empty when the figure was restored in 1965.

The cross comes from the Lower Saxony art circle. Recourse to traditional forms such as the double crown and open eyes are particularly striking. Similarities can be found to a triumphal cross in Deckbergen and to the triumphal cross of Osnabrück Cathedral , so that the Fischbeck cross can be dated to the middle of the 13th century. Since the Fischbeck collegiate church was damaged by fire in 1234 and consecrated again in 1254, the cross can be associated with this new consecration.

Female figure

A nearly life-size wooden female figure from the 14th century stands on a console in the choir. She wears a smooth gown belted in the middle, over which she holds an open cloak with her left hand. Her headscarf shows that she is married. The blockiness of the figure and the restrained play of movement between the play and supporting legs combined with the soft facial expression are characteristic of the sculptures of that time.

Funerary monument

On the western wall of the choir is a grave monument dating from 1360 showing Count Adolf VII from Schaumburg with his wife, Heilwig zur Lippe and their son Gerhard (later Bishop of Minden). At her feet are lion, dog and monkey, symbols of strength, loyalty and overcoming vices.

Eagle reading desk

The wooden figure is dated to the 14th century. The upright body is covered with bright red and black feathers. The outstretched wings support an iron frame for a book. The claws stand on a ball.

Christ in misery

The strictly symmetrical figure comes from the 3rd quarter of the 15th century. It stands in the left aisle and shows Christ after undressing immediately before the crucifixion.

Peter and Paul

The figures of Peter and Paul are attached to the north pillars of the nave (beginning of the 16th century). Their robes have thick folds.


A tapestry from 1583 hangs in the collegiate church, depicting the founding history of the monastery in six pictures. This carpet inspired the author Manfred Hausmann for his legendary game The Fischbecker Tapestry (1955), which was performed several times in the collegiate church in Fischbeck.


The baroque altarpiece above the medieval altar table contains a depiction of the crucifixion by the Dresden painter Karl Christian Andreae from 1874.


The pulpit, built in 1710, is richly decorated with acanthus . Under the sound cover is the dove of the Holy Spirit .

Baptismal font

The baptismal font in the choir dates from 1615. The foot is decorated with four ascending volutes . The four winged angel heads on the upper edge of the pool are supposed to testify to the baptism.


Organ of the Fischbeck collegiate church

The organ of the Fischbeck collegiate church was built in 1736 by the organ builder Johann Adam Berner (Osnabrück). The instrument had 27 registers on two manuals and a pedal . In the course of time the instrument was partly renewed, overhauled and supplemented. Today's organ was built in 2007 by the organ builder Martin Hillebrand (Isernhagen), based on the disposition and style of the organ builder Berner, with the disposition being expanded to 32 registers.

I Rückpositiv CD – d 3
Principal 8th'
Quintadena 8th'
Gedact 8th'
Gedact 4 ′
Gemshorn 4 ′
Octav 2 ′
Sesquialter II
Quinta 1 12
Mixture III 1'
Krummhorn 8th'
II Hauptwerk C – d 3
Principal 8th'
Drone 16 ′
Hohlflöt 8th'
Pointed flute 8th'
Octav 4 ′
Pipe flute 4 ′
Quinta 3 ′
Octav 2 ′
Waldflöt 2 ′
Mixture IV 2 ′
Cymbel III 23
Trumpet 8th'
Vox humana 8th'
Pedal C, D – d 1
Principal bass 8th'
Sub bass 16 ′
Gedactbass 8th'
Octavbass 4 ′
Rauschpfeif II 3 ′
Mixture III 1 13
Trombone bass 16 ′
Trumpet bass 8th'
Cornet 2 ′
  • Coupling : II / I, I / II, I / P, II / P
  • Effect register: Zimbelstern, cuckoo, nightingale


Eight bells hang in the massive tower of the westwork . Thus, the peal of the collegiate church can count itself among the ten ensembles with the highest number of bells in Lower Saxony. The bells date from five different centuries . While the oldest and smallest of them, a so-called `` sugar loaf bell '', was cast in the 13th century, the youngest bell was only made in 2014. During the renovation of the westwork in 2014, a new crown was welded onto the sugar loaf bell, a new bell was poured and all bells were moved from a steel to a wooden bell cage.

1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th
diameter 1258 mm 970 mm 860 mm 740 mm 732 mm 630 mm 610 mm 550 mm
Weight 1210 kg 590 kg 422 kg 200 kg 263 kg 171 kg 146 kg 120 kg
Caster JG de la Paix FW Schilling C. Bricon A. Bachert FW Schilling unmarked
Casting location Neheim Heidelberg Steinheim / Westf. Karlsruhe Heidelberg -
Casting year 1731 1955 1679 2014 1955 1959 13th Century
volume es'-1 as'-2 b'-2 c '' - 4 des '' - 3 it '' - 2 f '' - 2 as '' ± 0

Monastery building

The former enclosure is located south of the church . The residential and farm buildings were located here around the Kreuzhof . The still existing east wing of the Kreuzhof is a building from the mid-19th century with apartments for the canons. The existing west wing was probably built in the 2nd half of the 13th century. It once housed the nuns' dormitory on the upper floor and the chapter house on the first floor . In the preserved south wing there was a fireplace, kitchen and refectory on the ground floor . The cloister served as a place of prayer and procession.

Various half-timbered residential buildings are attached to the former enclosure.

The abbey building in the southern abbey area is the third in the history of the abbey. It was built in 1783 as a half-timbered construction with a small outside staircase. It is still the abbess's residence today . The current chapter house is located on the upper floor , the administration rooms and the apartment of the bailiff in the lower floor .

In 1888/89 the abbess Luci von Kerssenbrock built the connecting house between the Klostergeviert and the abbey building as a residential building for the canons, which is why it bears her name.


  • Werner Konstantin von Arnswaldt : Fischbeck Abbey on the Weser. Wienhausen 1928 ( digitized version )
  • Hans-Walter Krumwiede : The Fischbeck Abbey on the Weser , Studies on Early History 955–1158 (Studies on the Church History of Lower Saxony 9), Göttingen 1955.
  • Hans-Walter Krumwiede, Heinz Meyer-Bruck: The Millennial Fischbeck Abbey , Göttingen 1955, 2nd edition 1977.
  • Gustav André, Lothar Klimek : Fischbeck Abbey . Deutscher Kunstverlag , Berlin 1976.
  • FISHBECK. In: Georg Dehio : Handbook of German Art Monuments . Bremen Lower Saxony. Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich / Berlin 1992, pp. 468–472. ISBN 3-422-03022-0 ,
  • Ernst Andreas Friedrich : The Fischbeck Abbey , pp. 67–69, in: If stones could talk . Volume IV, Landbuch-Verlag, Hannover 1998, ISBN 3-7842-0558-5
  • Renate Oldermann , The Stiftskirche zu Fischbeck: Building history and furnishings after the Reformation, in: JBGesNdsächsKG 99 (2001), pp. 9–30.
  • Renate Oldermann, The history of the organ in the Fischbeck collegiate church. in: Acta Organologica 27, Kassel 2001, pp. 109-124.
  • Renate Oldermann, Catharina v. Rottorp, Anna v. Alten and Agnese v. Mandelsloh (1556 to 1625). Three post-Reformation abbesses in Fischbeck Abbey, in: JBGesNdsächsKG 100 (2002), pp. 239–276.
  • Renate Oldermann, Three post-Reformation abbesses in Fischbeck Abbey, in: Women-Christianity stories from Lower Saxony, Hanover 2003, pp. 11–50.
  • Renate Oldermann, The Stiftsprediger in Fischbeck since the Reformation (1557–1964), in: JBGesNdsächsKG 102 (2004).
  • Renate Oldermann: Fischbeck Abbey - A spiritual women's community in more than 1000 years of continuity (Schaumburger Studien 64), Bielefeld 2005, 2nd edition 2010. ISBN 3-89534-564-4 +
  • Renate Oldermann: Evangelisches Damenstift Fischbeck , art guide, Munich / Berlin 2015. ISBN 978-3-422-02417-5
  • Renate Oldermann: "Sprouted from a very respectable family as long ago as possible ..." The noble daughters in Fischbeck Abbey - Origin, Self-Image and Faith Practice , Göttingen 2019. ISBN 978-3-8353-3458-8

Web links

Commons : Stift Fischbeck  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Werner Führer: Schaumburg-Lippe . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie (TRE), Vol. 30, pp. 80–83, here p. 81.
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Renate alderman: Evangelisches Damenstift Fischbeck. DKV monastery guide No. 211, 9th revised edition, Berlin 2015
  3. Beer, Triumphal Crosses of the Middle Ages, Catalog No. 30
  4. The founding legend on the tapestry in Fischbeck Abbey.
  5. Information on the organ of the collegiate church , seen April 8, 2011.

Coordinates: 52 ° 8 ′ 31 ″  N , 9 ° 17 ′ 50 ″  E