Kulturhalbinsel Wettingen

Vindonissa

MUSEUM SITES IN VINDONISSA Vindonissa Legionary Trail The Roman adventure park offers play/theme tours, events, roman overnight stays, guided tours and much more. Vindonissa Museum The Vindonissa Muse

 
Vindonissa Museum

Guided tours for groups

A day trip to the Vindonissa Museum is packed with highlights for groups: start an interactive adventure tour as an archaeologist, book a guided tour or discover the exhibitions on your own. All offer

 
Vindonissa Museum

Tours for schools

At the Vindonissa Museum in Brugg, pupils can experience Roman history at first hand. The guided tours and other offers can be booked in English on request Turn archaeologist, discover small treasures

 
Vindonissa Museum

Roman adventures for families

The Vindonissa Museum offers great attractions for children: discover Roman history, turn archaeologist and solve tricky puzzles! The Vindonissa Museum in Brugg is an exciting destination for families

 
Königsfelden Abbey

Contact

Address Kloster Königsfelden – Museum Aargau 5210 Windisch Tel. 0848 871 200 Contact Organisation Museum Aargau Management Member Contact Dr. Marco Sigg Director E-Mail Dr. Angela Dettling Deputy Dire

 
Wildegg Castle

Contact

Address Schloss Wildegg – Museum Aargau Effingerweg 5 5103 Wildegg Tel. 0848 871 200 Contact Organisation Museum Aargau Management Member Contact Dr. Marco Sigg Director E-Mail Dr. Angela Dettling Dep

 
Vindonissa Legionary Trail

Guided tours for groups

An excursion to the Vindonissa Legionary Trail is packed with highlights for groups. Some of the offers can be booked in English on request. Swap your jeans for a Roman tunic and follow the legionarie

 
Lenzburg Castle

Excursions for families and children

Lenzburg Castle offers excursions for children and families. Visit the castle dragon Fauchi and discover the castle as a knight or princess! Lenzburg Castle is an exciting destination for families whe

 
Königsfelden Abbey

Guided tours for groups

Königsfelden Abbey offers guided tours and workshops for groups. These can also be booked in English on request. Experience Königsfelden Abbey as a group. Museum Aargau offers numerous guided tours an

 
Königsfelden Abbey

Tours for schools

Königsfelden Abbey offers guided tours and workshops for schools. These can also be booked in English on request. Experience Königsfelden Abbey as a school class. Museum Aargau offers numerous guided

Gradian
Historische Luftaufnahme Klosterhalbinsel Wettingen um 1964.

History of Wettingen Abbey

From foundation to museum

The history of Wettingen Abbey begins back in the 13th century. Founded in 1227, the abbey is now a museum and part of the Wettingen Cantonal School. A history in brief.

Foundation and construction of Wettingen Abbey

The Cistercian Abbey of Wettingen was endowed in 1227 by Heinrich II of Rapperswil. Little is known about its foundation. Legend has it that, in distress at sea he called upon the Virgin Mary for help and promised her an abbey if he was rescued. The storm subsided. A bright star, the Maris Stella, appeared in the sky, which Heinrich interpreted as a sign from Virgin Mary.

Back home, it took him some time to find the place for "his" abbey at the bend of the Limmat river. After the land was purchased from the lords of Dillingen and the Cistercian General Chapter and the Bishop of Constance had given their approval, the abbey was founded.

As usual, a mother abbey was sought, which sent some monks to the new abbey. Thus the first twelve monks came to Wettingen from the abbey of Salem near Überlingen. They began building the abbey complex.

Life in the abbey

The Cistercian Order emerged from the Benedictine Order in 1098. Some monks were dissatisfied with the development of the Benedictine Order. The Benedictine rules and the guiding principle of "ora et labora" had given way to wealth. First at Molesme, then at Cîteaux, many returned to the origins of monastic life. At the beginning of the 12th century, with the arrival of Bernard of Clairvaux, the Cistercians began to flourish.

In addition to the monks, who devoted themselves primarily to prayer and contemplation, the institution of the converses, also called lay brothers, emerged. Thesey were responsible for the hard physical work in the fields, in the gardens and in the abbey.

The Wettingen monastic community was also divided into these two groups. Often the monks were also ordained priests and responsible for the religious services in the surrounding villages.

Agriculture was an important element of abbey life. Wettingen Abbey had a vegetable garden and a herb garden as well as vines. The abbot had a small private garden built around his house. The quiet cloister garden was a good place to meet for contemplation. Today these gardens have been partially reconstructed and can be visited.

Difficult times in the 16th century

After the abbey was almost completely destroyed by a devastating fire in 1507, monastic life was soon in danger again in 1529 due to the Reformation. Most of the monks converted to the new faith and married. However, until they could be financially independent, they continued to live in the abbey. A monastic life in silence and faith was no longer possible. No sooner did the Catholic monks have "their" abbey back than they were hit by another wave of plague.

The abbey flourishes under Abbot Peter Schmid

Peter Schmid was elected abbot of Wettingen Abbey in 1594. He assumed office determined to help the abbey flourish again. Many new buildings were erected. But he also laid down new rules to bring abbey life back into the community. Good education for the monks was very important to him. After 1651, the two Roman catacomb saints Getulius and Marianus provided the income. This purchase brought pilgrims to Wettingen and with them donations in the form of money.

Revolution and dissolution of the abbey

The outbreak of revolution in France in 1789 ushered in a new era for everyone in Europe. "Egalité, Fraternité, Liberté" was the slogan. Everyone was to have the same rights and duties. The class order of the Middle Ages collapsed. Wettingen Abbey found itself in the middle of the war zone and had to accommodate numerous officers of all warring parties (French, Austrians, Russians).

However, much more drastic was the scepticism of the revolutionaries towards religion. In the 19th century, this scepticism was also widely shared in the young canton of Aargau. The existence of the large and rich abbeys was an affront to many. In 1841, the Grand Council in Aarau resolved to dissolve Aargau's abbeys. Wettingen's monks had 48 hours to leave their home. It took 13 years for the Wettingen Cistercians to find a new home in Mehrerau near Bregenz in Austria. They still live there today.

The abbey in modern times

The abbey buildings were subsequently used as a teacher training college. The greatest advocate of the abbey’s dissolution, Augustin Keller, became rector of the school. He moved into the abbot's apartment and ran the teacher training college with the same rigour as abbey life had been run in the past.

In 1976, Wettingen Cantonal School was founded, and has been housed in the former abbey premises ever since. More than 1,100 students attend either the secondary school or specialised school here.

Industrial culture

The canton sold large areas and buildings on the peninsula to businessmen. Johann Wild founded a very successful cotton spinning mill on the Limmat, whose striking building is now used as a cultural and commercial centre. Former workers' houses are still inhabited today.

Cultural heritage

In addition to the richly decorated church, the cloister with its stained glass of figures and coats of arms is a striking feature. These stained-glass windows were created by outstanding craftsmen in Europe. They mostly came to Wettingen Abbey as a donation.

Museum Aargau

As of 1 April 2022, Museum Aargau will operate a museum in the exterior and in selected interior rooms. The museum's "School makes museum" project breaks new ground. There is no permanent exhibition to see, but an evolving display with interactive personal mediation of the topics of faith, power and knowledge. Pupils make museum concepts, realise them and carry them out.

Further reading

  • Meng, Heinrich: 750 Jahre Kloster Wettingen 1227-1977: Festschrift zum Klosterjubiläum, 1977.
  • Hoegger, Peter: Das ehemalige Zisterzienserkloster Wettingen, Kanton Aargau, GSK Band 604/605, Bern 1997.
  • Hoegger, Peter: Glasmalereien im Kanton Aargau, Kloster Wettingen, 2002.
  • Kottmann A., Hämmerle M.: Die Zisterzienserabtei Wettingen, 1996.