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An extraordinary ensemble in an idyllic setting

Bebenhausen Monastery and Palace

Bebenhausen Monastery and Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende
Home to Cistercians and kings

The monastery and

the palace

With an idyllic location in Schönbuch, the medieval monastery of Bebenhausen has been almost completely preserved. In the 18th and 19th century, the rulers of Württemberg turned part of the monastery into a hunting lodge. This is where the last ruling couple lived after the end of the monarchy.

Visitors to Bebenhausen Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Niels Schubert

Bebenhausen was first documented in 1187.

Founder of a monastery with a long tradition

Bebenhausen was first named in a document from 1187. Count palatine Rudolf I von Tübingen had founded the monastery a few years before. The monasteries in Blaubeuren and Obermarchtal were also founded by his family. The founder of the monastery first settled Premonstratensian monks in Bebenhausen and granted the abbey an extensive estate. Count Palatine Rudolf and his wife Mechthild were buried in the chapter house of the monastery.

Cistercians in the cloister at Bebenhausen Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Bebenhausen local administration

Cistercians come to Bebenhausen.

New order, new faith

Shortly after its founding, the Cistercian Order took over Bebenhausen. Gifts and acquisitions made the new monastery rich. Up to 80 monks and 130 lay brothers lived here. In the 16th century, after the introduction of the Reformation, Bebenhausen became a Protestant monastery school. During the Thirty Years' War, monks once again took over the monastery, but the time of the Cistercians ended forever in 1648. The Protestant monastery school continued until the 19th century.

Hunting trophies in Bebenhausen Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Bebenhausen local administration

The monastery became a hunting lodge.

Good hunting!

The woods of Schönbuch were a favorite hunting grounds for the lords of the monastery. After 1342, the lords were the counts of Württemberg. During the hunts, they often lived in the monastery. Friedrich I, the first King of Württemberg, held lavish court hunts in Bebenhausen. He had outbuildings of the monastery converted into a hunting lodge. His grandson, King Karl I, modernized the spaces that he inhabited in Bebenhausen. The last ruler of Württemberg, Wilhelm II, lived here after his abdication.

Hunting trophies in the dormitory of Bebenhausen Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Bebenhausen local administration

Starting from Bebenhausen, the rulers of Württemberg held lavish court hunts in Schönbuch.

Members of Parliament in the plenary hall of the winter refectory of Bebenhausen Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Stephan Kohls

The monastery became the seat of the state parliament in 1946.

Members of Parliament in the monastery

After the end of World War II, Bebenhausen was the meeting place of the State Assembly of Württemberg-Hohenzollern. The seat of the military government of the French Occupation Zone was in nearby Tübingen. The task of the state assembly was to create a constitution for the state between 1946 and 1947. Until 1952, the State Parliament of Württemberg-Hohenzollern met in the winter refectory. Traces of this time still remain in the monastery today.

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