Susteren Abbey is a former Benedictine abbey founded in the 8th century. Early in 714 Pepin of Herstal and his wife Plectrude sent Saint Willibrord letters of conveyance and protection for the monastery, permitting free election of abbots. The Benedictine foundation served as a refuge for the missionaries working in Friesia and the Netherlands. The abbey was destroyed by the Vikings in 882 and refounded as a house of secular canonesses, whose first abbess was Saint Amelberga of Susteren, who died about 900.

The Lotharingian King Zwentibold, a benefactor of the abbey and either the father or the brother of the abbesses Benedicta and Cecilia, was buried (according to a later tradition) in Susteren Abbey in about 900. Also buried there are Saint Wastrada, who died in the mid-8th century, and Saint Gregory of Utrecht (d. about 775/777), a companion of Saint Boniface in his missions to Friesia, and later abbot of the Martinsstift in Utrecht.

The abbey was suppressed at the end of the 18th century when the French Revolution spilled over into the Low Countries. The church alone remains. The abbey church, one of the major examples of Romanesque architecture in the Netherlands, although marred by a poor restoration in 1885-1890, was built in the 11th century. It was clearly influenced by the Ottonian minster church of Essen Abbey. It was dedicated to Amelberga in 1886, after authentication of the relics kept here. On 6 September 2007 the church was declared a basilica minor.

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Founded: 714 AD
Category: Religious sites in Netherlands

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From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.

Since Duke Mislav of the Duchy of Croatia made Klis Fortress the seat of his throne in the middle of the 9th century, the fortress served as the seat of many Croatia"s rulers. The reign of his successor, Duke Trpimir I, the founder of the Croatian royal House of Trpimirović, is significant for spreading Christianity in the Duchy of Croatia. He largely expanded the Klis Fortress, and in Rižinice, in the valley under the fortress, he built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia. During the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav, Klis and Biograd na Moru were his chief residences.

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