The white beauty; The Vitskøl Abbey
Ranum Travel Blog› entry 123 of 565 › view all entries
The Vitskøl Abbey which previously was named Bjørnholm is a former monastery near Løgstør. You can see the preserved ruins of the abbey church were planned larger than it ended up being. Vitskøl name comes from the name of the village Withscuele and latinized of monks to Vitae Schola = Life School. The monastery is located on a coast of the Limfjord with good view and can be seen from afar when you are in this region.
There was a battle for the Danish throne after the assassination of Knud Lavard 1131 and it was not before Valdemar the Great, defeated Svend Grathe Hede in 1157 that call was re-established across the kingdom. Waldemar wanted then to thank God by building a monastery.
The monastery was founded in 1158 and it was originally thought to be the largest church in Scandinavia, and also in Northern Europe.
Construction commenced in year 1158, when King Valdemar the Great gave the area and the estate to the monks to thank God for the victory of King Svend Grathe Hede. The Cistenciens order were known to settle in deserted places, and with great skill mastering agriculture, fishing, milling, etc.
The Order built after their Procedure regulations first the four-winged building complex with the abbey church facing north. The church was built as a three-aisle cruciform church construction which if it had been completed, would have been Scandinavia's largest church.
They quickly added an impressive entrance with a series of apses, something that certainly was not following the requirements, but more an expression of local extravagance.
All culture and commerce throughout the region originated from Vitskøl Abbey. The Abbey also owned the island Livø and ran a big market on the Trend Beach.
They also built a channel linking Bjørnholm Å with Vilsted Lake, and there were a lot of traffic throughout the area. Vitskøl Abbey continued to play a major role as virtually the sole owner of all farms and agricultural lands throughout the region, and monastery enjoyed extensive privileges and royal protection throughout 1200 - and 1300-century.
The Abbey had three mills with contemporary phrases were called First Mill, Second Mill and Third Mill. The third mill is believed later to have given name to the nearby village Trend, where the present mill, however, first appearing in 1777.
After the Reformation in 1536 the Abbey Vitskøl was turned into a manor. The remaining monks were however allowed to remain until the 1563 and 10 years later the nobleman Bjørn Andersen took over the Monastery, which then also was renamed to Bjørnholm.
It proved impossible to maintain the great abbey church, and in the early 17th century they moved all the ceremonies of the monastery's west wing. In 1668 the abbey church was finally abandoned. In the following decades the building vanished, with local residents for years supplied the construction materials from there to their own houses and farms. The main building got its old name Vitskøl monastery back in 1942, while the corresponding farm still bears still the name Bjørnholm.