Carthusian Monastery: History

UWC Robert Bosch College is located on the grounds of the charterhouse Freiburg, the former monastery of the Carthusian order in the Waldsee district of Freiburg.

The former Carthusian monasterycan be traced back to the donation of a private citizen of Freiburg, the mayor and knight Johannes Schnewlin-Bernlapp, dated on the year 1345. In the time of its establishment, the charterhouse contained only two monk cells. After the benefactor´s death in 1347, the monks expanded the complex first to five, and later to twelve cells. In the early 16th century, the entire site was retrofitted with a refectory and a late-gothic church. Windows, based on the designs of the Swabian artist Hand Baldung Grien, decorated the church building.

From very early onwards, the monastery had close contact with the university of Freiburg. Such, that Gregor Reisch was prior of the monastery from 1502 to 1525, while teaching at the university as professor. He is considered to be an important representative of the late-scholasticism. During this time, the monastery supported university students in need and received monetary contributions from persons of the university environment. Financed partially by donations from newly enlisted members as well as abatements of university professors, an extensive monastery library was developed.

In the Thirty Years´ War, the charter house was heavily destroyed by the Swedish army. When Kaiser Joseph II. Announced the abolishment of all Carthusian monastery in 1782, the Carthusians in Freiburg had to close their monastery, too. The building and property fell into the hands of the state and was sold to Franz Anton Freiherrn von Baden in 1783. The charter house was then transformed into a nobleness country residence. The cloister with the monks´ cells were broken down; a park was built on that area instead. Even though the new owner preserved the church, he sold the valuable glass windows to various municipalities.

In 1894, the administration of the foundation of Freiburg bought the grounds and buildings. The charterhouse was first used as an elderly home and later became a special-care home. In the year 2000, renovations of the charterhouse became necessary, but were not economically justifiable. Hence, a new home was built in the Waldsee district, with the last inhabitants of the charterhouse leaving the building in 2008. Until May 2012, the municipal museum of Freiburg used the former monastery as tansit-depot.