Unesco World Heritage Site

Maulbronn Monastery

"Prof. Baeumlein reading me the riot act", caricature, 1830–1850. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff
A LONG TRADITION OF LEARNING

THE MONASTIC SCHOOL

Many cultural and scientific figures in Germany, including Johannes Kepler and Hermann Hesse, were educated at the Maulbronn monastic school. Both boys and girls now occupy the benches at Maulbronn's evangelical seminary.

Maulbronn Monastery courtyard with fountain. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

The monastery courtyard becomes a schoolyard.

FROM MONASTERY TO SCHOOL

In 1504, the Württembergs conquered Maulbronn Monastery. During the Reformation, it ceased to be a religious institution and was given new, secular functions: It became the administrative center and began to resemble a Swabian city. With his new church order of 1556, Duke Christoph von Württemberg converted the 13 male monasteries into monastic schools. From then on, only evangelical ministers would be trained, even at Maulbronn.

A STATE-OF-THE-ART INSTITUTION

When they were founded, the monastic schools were state-of-the-art. For the first time, even children from poorer families were given a chance at an education. They were obliged to study theology at the Tübinger Stift (Protestant theological institute) and later become ministers or teachers. 10 to 14-year-old boys who passed the entrance exams were given an educational stipend. The school day was characterized by extensive education, strict discipline and pressure to succeed.

19th-century caricatures of students and teachers, on display in the information center at Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff
19th-century caricatures of students and teachers, on display in the information center at Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff
19th-century caricatures of students and teachers, on display in the information center at Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff

19th-century caricatures of a school day, on display in the information center at Maulbronn Monastery.

Exterior of former abbot's house at Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Steffen Hauswirth

Former abbot's house, today the seminary.

TEACHING REFORMS IN THE EVANGELICAL SEMINARY

In 1806, during secularization, all monasteries became state-owned. The monastic schools were redefined as public corporations and evangelical theological seminaries. They continued to serve as educational institutions for training protestant ministers. Teaching reforms eased school rules and updated lesson plans however. In 1817, there were four evangelical seminaries in Württemberg. Today there are only two, Blaubeuren and Maulbronn.

Exterior of former hunting lodge, Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Former hunting lodge, today a seminary.

OPERATING THE SCHOOL TODAY

Since 1972, both male and female students are educated at Maulbronn, in shared classrooms. Duty bound to history and tradition: The evangelical church and the state of Baden-Württemberg, as the administrator of the Maulbronn seminary, decided to expand the grammar school. As of 2010, students in grades 11 or higher no longer need to transfer to Blaubeuren to finish their education, but can complete it entirely at Maulbronn.