Imperial Abbey of Michaelsberg, Siegburg
Reichsabtei Michaelsberg in Siegburg
Imperial Abbey of the Holy Roman Empire
Coat of arms duke of berg
1512–1676 Coat of arms duke of berg

Wappen Siegburg.png
Coat of arms

Capital Siegburg
Government Theocracy
Historical era Middle Ages
 - Founded 1064
 -  Gained Reichsfreiheit 1512
 -  Lost Reichsfreiheit to Berg 1676
for Michaelsberg Abbey in Bavaria, see Michaelsberg Abbey, Bamberg
Abtei michaelsberg-2005 12 25

Michaelsberg Abbey, Siegburg

Michaelsberg Abbey (Abtei Michaelsberg) is a monastery of the Benedictine Order, belonging to the Subiaco Congregation. The monastery is situated on the Michaelsberg ("St. Michael's Mount"), about 40 metres above the town of Siegburg. For this reason it is occasionally also referred to as Siegburg Abbey.


The hill called the Michaelsberg, formerly known as the Siegberg, was first inhabited about 800 by the Counts of Auelgau who built a castle there. In 1064 Archbishop Anno II of Cologne founded a Benedictine monastery there, dedicated to the Archangel Michael, from whom both the mountain and the abbey thenceforward took their names.

The monastery quickly became a reformed abbey in the Cluniac Reforms. After the death of Archbishop Anno in 1075 he was buried in the abbey. After he was canonised, in 1183 his bones were translated to the "Anno shrine", which can still be seen in the abbey church.

In 1512, after a long legal battle, the abbey was recognised as reichsunmittelbar (that is, directly subject to the Emperor and to no other territorial authority). This led to bitter rivalry, and on occasion even war, with the town of Siegburg. In 1676 the abbey again became subject to the local territorial power.

The abbey was dissolved during the secularisation of 1802–03. Until their resettlement by the Cistercians on 2 July 1914, the buildings were used for varied purposes, for some time as a barracks, but also at other times as a lunatic asylum and a slaughterhouse.

In 1941 the abbey was again dissolved, this time by the SS; the monks were expelled and the buildings commandeered. The buildings were almost completely destroyed by a bombing raid in 1944, although they were in use as military hospital and flying the flag of the Red Cross. In 1945 the monks expelled four years previously were finally able to return, some from captivity as prisoners of war, others from exile. They had to rebuild the monastery virtually from scratch.

As of 2005, the community of Michaelsberg Abbey consisted of 13 members and one novice.

In the north wing and also in a large part of the west wing the Edith Stein Retreat House of the Diocese of Cologne has been accommodated since 1997.

Alcohol production

In 1504 production of the abbey's liqueur, Siegburger Abtei-Likör, began. After an interruption, production was resumed in 1952 and continues today[1].

Since 2004 a beer has also been brewed here, called "Michel".



  • Firmenich, H., 1978: Die Abtei Michaelsberg in Siegburg. (Rheinische Kunststätten 99). 6th edn. Neuss: Gesellschaft für Buchdruckerei. ISBN 3-880-94229-3
  • Mittler, Placidus, 1987: Abtei Michaelsberg, Siegburg. Geschichte und Leben. Siegburg: Schmitt. ISBN 3-87710-128-3
  • Weber, Wunibald, 1953: Michaelsberg. Geschichte einer 900jährigen Abtei. Siegburg.

External links

Coordinates: 50°47′45″N 7°12′39″E / 50.79583°N 7.21083°E / 50.79583; 7.21083