It was founded as Marienzelle by Ludolf the Wend, a ministerialis of Henry the Lion and steward of Brunswick, and settled in 1145 by monks from Amelungsborn Abbey. Henry endowed the new foundation in 1146 with the neighbouring village of Riddagshausen, from which it took its name.
It was mediatised in 1569 by Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, when it became a Protestant establishment. From 1690 it was also the home of a prestigious Lutheran seminary for training of preachers, the first in Germany. The religious community and the seminary were dissolved in 1809.
The site, now included within the city of Brunswick, in the district of Wabe-Schunter-Beberbach, is now mostly a nature reserve and arboretum[permanent dead link]. The nature reserve Riddagshäuser Teiche is designated as Important Bird Area and Special Protection Area.
- The seminary was however refounded in 1837 and after a century in various premises in Wolfenbüttel and closure because of World War II, was eventually re-established in Brunswick in 1952, although in the town's former Franciscan friary, not in Riddagshausen Abbey.
- BirdLife Data Zone. Retrieved on November 4, 2012.
- EUNIS Site factsheet[permanent dead link]. Retrieved on November 4, 2012.
- (German) Riddagshausen: local history and photo gallery
- (German) Riddagshausen Abbey photo gallery
- (German) Riddagshausen Abbey photos
- (German) Theological seminary formerly in Riddagshausen Abbey
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