Veng Abbey was one of Denmark's earliest Benedictine monasteries, established in the late 1060s, with connections to the royal forebears of King Valdemar I. By the 1160s the abbey had fallen into a severe decline: the original endowments failed to sustain it, and it had gained a reputation for being 'unruly'. Eventually Abbot Jens was brought before a church tribunal and forced to give up his office on the grounds of immorality and theft of the harvest. Three recalcitrant monks were all that remained at Veng, and Svend, Bishop of Aarhus, received permission from Pope Alexander III to close the abbey.
Just a year later Bishop Svend granted occupation of the empty premises to the Cistercian monks from Sminge Abbey, originally from Vitskøl Abbey, who were dissatisfied with the infertility of the soil at Sminge. They settled at Veng Abbey in 1166. It looked like a very good location for the Cistercians, but they had not reckoned with Lady Margrethe.
Lady Margrethe was the widow of a local nobleman. She had petitioned Bishop Svend to convert Veng Abbey into a nunnery with herself as the abbess, a position which would bring with it a guaranteed annual income. When the Cistercians were confirmed at Veng, she did everything she could to make life miserable for them. She had her servants occupy the rent-producing farms that had belonged to Veng, and was accused of ordering one of her servants to steal the vestments from the church so that mass could not be said. Without income, the Cistercians had no choice but to leave, and in 1168 moved to another site on Kalvø Island in Skanderborg Lake.
On Kalvø, as previously at Sminge, the soil proved useless for farming and in 1172 the monks moved yet again to found Øm Abbey, where at last they were able to develop a permanent site, so successfully that Øm Abbey soon overshadowed the earlier existence of Veng Abbey. The few archival letters regarding Veng were transferred to Øm Abbey and the little information now available about Veng Abbey is due to their preservation there.
The abbey church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was constructed some time after 1100, probably as a replacement for an earlier wooden structure. It was built of limestone blocks, as were many early Danish monasteries, in the Romanesque style. It had a flat timber roof, a single nave, a choir, and an apse with two transepts, each with its own apse. The outside of the church retains several carved stones and other decorations from the original building.
The exact layout of the monastery complex has not been determined, but it is thought to have had at least two ranges, a dormitory, and a refectory attached to the church. Excavations in 1984 to determine the layout were unsuccessful.
The abbey church became the parish church of Veng, while the conventual buildings were converted for use as a farm. Even before the Danish Reformation there were no remains of Veng Abbey except for the church.References:
The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.
At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.
During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.
In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.
In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.
The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.