LOON Limburg between rod and throne
A thousand years of the County of Loon


The approach to Belgian history in schools and research all too often limits itself to the Low Countries, which the County of Loon and the Prince-Bishopric of Liège were never part of. They continuously belonged to the Holy Roman Empire of the Germanic Nation from their start until 1795.

The Historic Study Centre and the Grand Commandery Alden Biesen hope to fill this gap with the exhibition of nearly 400 objects from Belgium and abroad. 




The exhibition in numbers

The magnificent setting of the Grand Commandery Alden Biesen will be the scene of this outstanding historic exhibition from 26th October 2018 until 10th March 2019.

Nearly 400 objects from 95 museums and private collections can be admired - not only from Belgium but also from the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, France and the Netherlands.

The patron committee already boasts 22 prominent members from Flanders, Germany and the Netherlands.

Limburg between rod and throne. A thousand years of the County of Loon will receive a follow-up in Bavaria.

It was already known in the spring of 2018 that the exhibition on the Counts of Loon would move to Bavaria in the summer of 2019, albeit in a downsized, slightly adapted version. The City Museum of Spessart in Lohr am Main is a truly symbolic location as it used to be the second residence built by the Counts of Loon. Furthermore, it focuses on the Loon-Rienecker history.

The German Press has already paid ample attention to the ‘new’ bond between Loon and Bavaria by publishing an interview in March between curator Dr. Jan Vaes and Mrs. Barbara Grimm, head of the Spessart Museum - the scoop of which was for the Main Post, with its 110,000 subscribers.

Also the Geschichts- und Museumsverein Lohr am Main website took a generous interest in this hype.

The Bavarian exhibition will carry as its title: “From Flanders to Franconia. The Counts of Loon  and Rieneck – Traces of 1,000 Years”. Just like in Alden Biesen, it is supported by an honorary committee that can take a pride in many prominent members from Bavaria. Moreover, Mrs Grimm and Dr. Theodor Ruf, pioneer in the history of the County of Loon, were guests at the Third Loon Colloquium in the Grand Commandery Alden Biesen, which captivated an interested audience of 250.

The members of the Historic Study Centre Alden Biesen are therefore extremely proud of the exhibition as a result of their many efforts.

Exhibition topics

1 Between Rod and Throne: the County of Loon in the German Empire

2 The County dynasty and their residences

3 The European dimension

4 The Rod: the Prince-bishops of Liège as Counts of Loon

5 The Rod of Silence: monasteries in Loon

6 Trade-offs between Rod and Throne. The Counts of Loon and the German Order of Knighthood

7 The People and the Rod

    7.1  Church, cathedral and heretics

    7.2 Beguinages, brotherhoods and local saints

   7.3  Comfort and healing

8 Freedom between Rod and Throne? Cities in Loon

9 Culture at the service of Rod and Throne

10 In the shadow of Rod and Throne: the Loon countryside

11 The fall of Rod and Rhrone: the end of Loon

Curator Dr. Jan Vaes: “As the subject is so wide-ranging, a selection was needed. We have aimed at a balance between appeal, the larger frame, new insights, as well as new and well-known material. However magnificent its setting, the Grand Commandery Alden Biesen has its limitations. Therefore, many aspects are unfortunately left under-exposed. In this jubilee year, the prime aim of the exhibition is to confront as many visitors as possible with the historic witnesses of the little-known County of Loon. This scope requires a broad vision rather than depth and specialisation. That is why we did not opt for a display of documents, which  would be hard to crack for the average visitor. The archives, however interesting, are limited to a minimum of only vital pieces as well as less high-ranking but striking illustrations of certain aspects of the topic.”

Principal lenders

Grand Curtius, the Diocese of Liège, the City Museum of Hasselt, the State Archives of Hasselt and many less well-known regional museums in Belgium, the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom. Obviously, many objects were borrowed from German Museums. The County of Loon, after all, was part of the German Empire and not of the Netherlands. Extremely interesting are the artefacts that illustrate the items from Bavaria, Holland and Chiny that were obtained through marriage. These are presented in our country for the very first time.

26 oktober 2018 tot 10 maart 2019 landcommanderij Alden Biesen