The kingdom of the monasteries at Gudenåen

Several monasteries were built in the Middle Ages in the area called Søhøjlandet between the lakes Knuds Sø and Ravn Sø in the north and Mossø and the Skanderborg lakes in the south. The water of Gudenåen played an important role, as access to the fresh water of Gudenåen was important for the monks, and the water power was also used for water mills.

All the monasteries were situated in the countryside, as it was the intention that the monks should withdraw from the secular life and spend a life consisting of prayers and work.

The first monks in the area, the Benedictine monks, formulated this motto: Prey and Work.

The monasteries in Veng and on Kalvø were the forerunners of Øm Kloster, and today you can visit Øm Kloster Museum.

Three monasteries remained until the Reformation in the 1530s:

  • The Cistercian monastery in Øm
  • The Benedictine monastery in Voer
  • The Benedictine nunnery in Ring

All these three monasteries were powerful and rich. Their land possessions stretched far, the incomes were plentiful, and the monasteries also functioned as technical and cultural centres.

The monasteries also had several other functions in society such as education and nursing.

Many monasteries were built along Gudenåen in the beginning of the Middle Ages. The water of Gudenåen provided many advantages to the monks: They always had fresh water, lots of fish for eating during the fast and power for the water mills.

At Voer Kloster (today Klostermølle) you can see the Kloster canal, which was dug by the monks along Klosterkær, so that the monks could use the water power for the water mill of the monastery. Today you can go for a lovely walk along the Kloster canal.

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Øm Abbey

Øm Kloster ved Gudenå

The Danish Monastic Route

Den danske klosterrute

Historical Paths along Gudenåen

Historiske stier langs Gudenåen

Legends and myths

Sagn og myter ved Gudenå