Zwiefalten Abbey
Reichsabtei Zwiefalten
Imperial Abbey of the Holy Roman Empire
Wuerttemberg Arms
1750–1802 Wuerttemberg Arms
Zwiefalten Abbey.png
Zwiefalten Abbey, shown with the River Danube running across the frame, 9°30′E running vertically, 48°N at the bottom of the frame and 48°30′N at the top.
Capital Zwiefalten
Languages Swabian German; Latin
Religion Roman Catholic
Government Theocracy
 -  Founder William of Hirsau
 - ca 1065–90 (First abbot) Noker von Zwiefalten
 - 1658–75 Christoph Rassler
 - 18th century Augustin Stegmüller
Historical era Middle Ages
 - Founded 1089
 -  Raised to Reichsabtei 1750
 -  Secularised and dissolved November 25, 1802 1802
 - Collapse of HRE July 12, 1806

Zwiefalten Abbey (in German Kloster Zwiefalten, Abtei Zwiefalten or after 1750, Reichsabtei Zwiefalten) was a Benedictine monastery situated at Zwiefalten near Reutlingen in Baden-Württemberg in Germany.


The monastery was founded in 1089 at the time of the Investiture Controversy by Counts Gero and Kuno of Achalm, advised by Bishop Adalbero of Würzburg and Abbot William of Hirsau. The first monks were also from Hirsau Abbey, home of the Hirsau Reforms (under the influence of the Cluniac reforms), which strongly influenced the new foundation.

Although Pope Urban VI granted special privileges to it, Zwiefalten Abbey was nevertheless the private monastery of the Counts of Achalm, later succeeded by the Counts of Württemberg.

The abbey was plundered in 1525 during the Peasants' War.

In 1750 the abbey was granted the status of "Reichsabtei", which meant that it had the status of an independent power subject only to the Imperial Crown and was free of the rule of Württemberg.

On 25 November 1802, however, it was secularised and dissolved and became a lunatic asylum and later psychiatric hospital, which it is today, as well as the site of the Württemberg Psychiatry Museum.


The present buildings were constructed in German Baroque style from 1739–47 under the direction of Johann Michael Fischer (1692–1766) of Munich, who began overseeing the work in 1741. The interior, considered a model of Baroque design, is filled with ornate chapels and gilded balustrades, dominated by the high altar, which combines a Gothic statue of the Virgin Mary dating from 1430 with Baroque additions (dating from about 1750) by Johann Joseph Christian (1706–77). The elaborate frescoes are by Franz Joseph Spiegler (1691–1757)[1].


  1. Germany: A Phaidon Cultural Guide, pp. 775-6. Oxford: Phaidon, 1985. ISBN 0-7148-2354-6
Zwiefalten 1826

Zwiefalten, 1826

Germany Zwiefalten Münster High Altar

High altar in Zwiefalten Abbey


Coordinates: 48°13′55″N 9°27′41″E / 48.23194°N 9.46139°E / 48.23194; 9.46139