Station: [17] The Baroque Damenplatz

A tiny hamlet right next to the venerable abbey walls! A handful of residential houses surrounding an old lime tree form a little square with an almost village-like atmosphere.

The Damenplatz, Ladies’ Square, in its present form was laid out during the Baroque period, in the early 18th century. By that time, the strictness of convent life was largely a thing of the past. The Protestant canonesses – unmarried ladies from the Brandenburg, and later the Prussian nobility – were meant to be able to lead a life befitting their rank and without financial worries. And that naturally included a small household of their own.

Accordingly, many of the buildings on Damenplatz bear the names of former residents. 

The southernmost property, for example, with its green doors and shutters, is the Lindeinerhaus. In the early 20th century, it was home to the canoness and teacher Auguste von Lindeiner. She’s buried just behind her house, in the nearby abbey cemetery. Today, her former home houses the abbey shop. During opening hours, you can even get a cup of coffee and a slice of cake there.

The half-timbered house in front of it on the left is the Putlitzhaus, named after Juliane Dorothea Gans Baroness zu Putlitz, who presided over the abbey in the early 18th century. She was responsible for rebuilding the houses after the great fire of 1719. If you look closely, you’ll also recognize her name on one of timber-framed building’s horizontal beams: "Putlitz". 

The house opposite, the one with the brick gable, evokes the name of a Fräulein von Wulffen. These days, it’s a retreat house, with seminar rooms and guest rooms for individuals and groups.

And the longest building, the one that’s next in the row of houses as you move north, is the "Grolmushaus". It bears the name of a teacher and headmistress at the collegiate foundation’s school in the mid-20th century. Marie-Eleonora Grolmus taught mathematics and science and was reverently called "die Doktern" by her pupils.

Finally, the northernmost house, with its pale yellow plastered half-timbering, was home to a canoness who provided lodging for up to six pupils in around 1900. Living there doesn’t seem to have been much fun, though. Apparently, some of her lodgers would have preferred to be in the large dormitories under the roof of the abbey with many of the other girls. It’s easy to see why...!

These days, the houses on Damenplatz provide accommodation for couples, families and single people who feel a connection with the values of the collegiate foundation without themselves being members of the community. Thanks to a special funding model, the housing units have been refurbished in recent years. As a result, Damenplatz is once again a lively site within the grounds of this venerable old abbey.

Depiction 1 © Gesine Mazel
Depiction 2 © Dietmar Rabich
Depiction 3 © Klosterstift zum Heiligengrabe
Depiction 4 © Klosterstift zum Heiligengrabe