Imperial Abbey of Lindau
Reichsstift Lindau
Imperial Abbey of the Holy Roman Empire
1466–1802 Flag of Bavaria (lozengy).svg
Capital Lindau
Government Theocracy
Historical era Middle Ages
 - Founded 9th century
 -  Gained Reichsfreiheit 1466
 -  Secularised to Bavaria 1802
Lindau Stiftskirche und St Stephan

Lindau Abbey

Lindau Abbey (Reichsstift Lindau) was a house of secular canonesses in Lindau on the Bodensee in Bavaria, Germany, which stands on an island in the lake.


The community, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, is traditionally held to have been founded by Count Adelbert of Raetia in about 822[1]. The town of Lindau grew round the foundation.

The abbey was granted "Reichsfreiheit" in 1466.

During the Reformation the abbey of Lindau and its possessions on the mainland were the only places in this region to remain Catholic.

The community was dissolved in 1802 in the course of the secularisation of Bavaria, and its assets taken over by the Austrian Princes of Bretzenstein, who in 1804 exchanged Lindau for estates in Bohemia and Hungary. In 1806 the territory returned to Bavaria.

The residential and service buildings were used for local government offices.

The canonesses' church became the present Roman Catholic minster-church of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the market place in the Old Town of Lindau. The church building originated at the same time as the religious community, that is, in the early 9th century. After the fire of 1728 that destroyed most of the town the church was rebuilt in Baroque style by the master builder Giovanni Gaspare Bagnato, who also built Schloss Mainau and the "New Castle" at Meersburg. The interior has Baroque ceiling paintings and Rococo decorations.

Other religious houses in Lindau

Lindau has also contained other religious houses.


There was a monastery here of the Franciscan Friars Minor or Minorites (founded 1224, dissolved 1528) and also a house of female Minorite Tertiaries (founded before 1238), which survived the Reformation by becoming Protestant and was secularised at the same time as Lindau Abbey. The church of the Minorites is still in existence as the Lindauer Stadttheater ("Lindau Town Theatre") but the buildings of the Tertiaries were demolished in 1861.

Beguines; English Sisters

These premises were sometimes known as the Kloster am Steg ("monastery on the jetty"). (There was also a house of the Beguines, founded in 1268. On 15 May 1525 it was dissolved and sold off. The buildings were bought in 1857 by the English Sisters (Englische Fräulein), who founded here a "Private Higher School for Daughters" (Private Höhere Töchterschule). Of its successor establishments, the Insel-Institut was wound up in 1991, but the Maria-Ward-Realschule continues as a Realschule for girls within the educational programme of the Diocese of Augsburg.


  1. or possibly 817

External links

Coordinates: 47°32′48″N 9°41′15″E / 47.54667°N 9.6875°E / 47.54667; 9.6875