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The history of Schloss Freudenfels

Originally constructed about 1300 as a fortress with a defensive tower, the present castle complex was built during the baroque period. For centuries, monks from the Abbey of Einsiedeln lived in the castle and estate before it was converted into a unique venue for seminars and festivities.

  • a brief historical outline
  • the building’s history at a glance
  • 1996

    For economic reasons, Marti endeavors to find a partner or successor for its training center. The Liechtenstein Academy Foundation takes over Marti’s contract and manages its own seminar and conference center, which, however, also offers its services to external organizations. Schloss Freudenfels AG is established.

  • 1989-1992

    The castle undergoes extensive and far-reaching renovation work; once completed, the building is placed under the protection of the Swiss Confederation.

  • 1988

    Einsiedeln Abbey enters into a leasing contract with Marti Unternehmungen AG: Marti receives the right to use the castle, where it intends to establish its own company training center. In return, Marti pays a monthly rent, takes on all renovation and conversion costs, and grants the monks of Einsiedeln the right to spend their holidays on the property during the training center’s annual closing - the perfect solution for the Abbey.

  • 1985

    The last governor from Einsiedeln dies at the castle and is not replaced. The governorship is affiliated with that of Schloss Sonnenberg (Stettfurt, Canton of Thurgau). The Abbey, which bears the cost of maintaining the buildings, seeks a solution.

  • 1960-1985

    The problems of farming and forestry - all over Switzerland - grow increasingly acute, and yields shrink significantly.

  • 1965

    The farm is leased to a company belonging to the Abbey.

  • Colored lithograph, probably by G. Gersbach, after the drawing by Friedrich August Pecht, 1832.

    1798

    In the wake of the Helvetic Revolution, Freudenfels loses its territory and manorial rights, including those in Eschenz. The Abbey’s possessions shrink to the castle and grounds, the farm, and approximately 100 hectares of land consisting of woodland, meadows, arable land, fields, and vineyards. The governor from Einsiedeln retains his position, but also undertakes pastoral duties. The revenues from farming and forestry are initially enough to pay the employees and maintain the buildings.

  • 1623

    At the instigation of the Swiss Benedictine Congregation, the Abbey of Einsiedeln acquires the domain of Freudenfels, which it merges with that of Eschenz. In accordance with the Counter-Reformation, this acquisition has the (successful) aim of re-catholicizing the local populace. Henceforth, the governor, a monk from Einsiedeln, manages the fortunes of the domain. The same year, the Abbey sells Schloss Oberstaad – acquired in 1608 –, which is located on the opposite shore of the lake.

  • 1524

    The castle owns a farm, two barns, two wine cellars and extensive lands, and exercises lower legal jurisdiction. This provides a considerable source of revenue.

  • 1464

    After the conquest of Thurgau by the Swiss Confederacy, Zurich takes over Freudenfels on a burgage tenure contract (protection).

  • 1359

    The Lords of Hohenklingen, owners at the time, sell their property to the Archdukes of Austria. Subsequently, the castle and its legal jurisdiction change hands frequently. Owners include squires and patricians from the local area as well as farther afield.

  • Circa 1300

    On the site of the current castle, a tower for defense and accommodation purposes is built to safeguard the region and protect trade on the Lower Lake and the River Rhine.

  • 958

    Emperor Otto the Great endows the Benedictine Abbey of Einsiedeln, now owner of Schloss Freudenfels, with the Manor of Eschenz, including parish rights and a court. This will subsequently fall under the legal jurisdiction of Eschenz.

  • 2008-2011

    Repair and renovation work is carried out on the façades and courtyard walls. The interior design is updated.

  • 1989-1992

    In compliance with conservation regulations, all buildings are completely renovated and converted into a training center, albeit involving little radical interference in the old structure of the building. The rooms are furnished accordingly. The former baroque garden is resurrected; a terrace is built between the castle and the “Women’s House”; and the farming family that used to live in the castle is given a modern home to the west of the new barn.

  • 1965

    A modern barn is added to the farm to the southwest of the property.

  • 1956-1965

    Various renovations and conversion work are carried out, both inside the castle and on the façade, partially reversing the interventions of the 19th century.

  • 1956

    The chapel is relocated to the north wing of the castle. Based on old illustrations, the gateway to the courtyard is reconstructed.

  • 1900/1901

    The ancient barn burns down and is rebuilt, incorporating the remains of earlier walls. Immediately to the west, an extension is constructed, featuring six rooms for farm laborers - presumably in the location of an earlier farmhouse.

  • 1891

    The chapel on the first floor is relocated to the southwestern corner of the entrance hall.

  • 1850-1861

    Further renovation work is carried out to repair damage dating from the revolutionary period (1798–1803) and immediately thereafter.

  • 1824

    Possibly during refurbishment, the castle is given a bell tower.

  • 1747-1749

    Urgent renovation work is carried out both inside and outside the castle under the direction of master builder Franz Singer from Messkirch, incorporating the mediaeval outer walls. Numerous contemporary decorative elements are installed, such as stucco, painted doors, and stoves. This remodeling has determined the country-house, baroque character of the castle to this day. At the same time, the so-called “Weiberhaus” (Women’s House) is built, featuring a bake-house, laundry, and chicken coop as well as rooms for female servants and a drying kiln.

  • 1716

    The farm belonging to the castle is replaced by a new one to the immediate west of the barn.

  • 1692-1697

    After numerous complaints on the part of the governor about the wretched state of the building, some repairs are carried out. It is likely that the moat was filled in and the walled courtyard built at this time.

  • 1617

    The tower is extended uphill. At the same time, the old buildings are restored.

  • 1524

    The building complex is described in greater detail when it is sold. The castle includes a farm, two barns, and two wine cellars.

  • Circa 1300

    A tower is built for defense and accommodation purposes. This is a three-floor edifice with 7,5 m side length constructed from coarse gravel standing on a rocky promontory, which is already very well protected by virtue of its location. The hillside is facing a moat.