The monastery was founded in 1211 by Graf Albrecht of Orlamünde, nephew of King Valdemar II of Denmark. He founded it following a mystical experience which he later recounted happened while he was stalking a deer. After following it into a glen, the deer stood still and he suddenly saw a gleaming cross appear between its antlers. He felt that the site was a holy place which he called the Field of Mary (German: Marienfelde) and, to honor the vision, founded a monastery of nuns at a location some 2 miles (4 km) away. A monastery on the actual site of the vision was built only in 1260.