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:
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.