Resting poles in the course of time: Monasteries have to reorient themselves, also in the Five Lakes Region. SeeMagazin author Karin Lochner and photographer Peter Felbert have looked around. Their visit led them to the Wessobrunn monastery, where Martina Gebhardt has settled with her natural cosmetics company. But also in the monastery Beuerberg, the archabbey St. Ottilien and in the monastery Bernried they are rethinking. Are you ready for a reading sample?

  • Martina Gebhardt stands in the stucco hall of the monastery Wessobrunn
  • Close-up of dried blue flowers in white apothecary bowl
  • Interior view of an ornate staircase in the monastery Wessobrunn
  • Woman weighing red dried flowers on a mechanical scale
  • Red and yellow dried flowers in large white apothecary bowl
  • Martina Gebhardt stands in the pharmacy of the monastery Wessobrunn and looks at a jar with natural cosmetics

The old stove is still standing, it is used for the preparation of raw materials. The oven is also still used for drying herbs. And in the former dining room, where 80 sisters used to be fed, the dispatch department is housed. From here they go out into the world: the "Seven Herbs Mask", the "Rose Cream", the "Ginseng Tonic". In the monastery of Wessobrunn with its 1200 years of history, natural cosmetics are now sold, packaged - and soon also produced. Five years ago, Abbess Hildegard Jansing and organic cosmetics pioneer Martina Gebhardt signed the contracts to sell the monastery. It was agreed not to disclose the purchase price. Only this much is known: The building service charges alone, including all outbuildings, are around 50,000 to 60,000 euros per year.

Detail of a ceiling in Wessobrunn monastery, elaborately decorated with stucco

The Wessobrunn monastery stands in the Pfaffenwinkel, like a counterpart to the Andechs monastery, which is enthroned on its hill, visible from far away. Wessobrunn, on the other hand, crouches modestly behind a hill. The monastery is famous for the "Wessobrunn Prayer", a poem of creation which is one of the oldest poetic testimonies of the old German language. Likewise for the "Wessobrunn School", which has produced important stucco artists since the 17th century, such as the brothers Johann Baptist and Dominikus Zimmermann. Masterly stucco decorations still bear witness today to the monastery's heyday in the 17th and 18th centuries. Wessobrunn was the most important stucco centre in Europe—and attracted many visitors to the small town.

"At first glance, architecture does not match cosmetics. But I'm in charge of the skin in both cosmetics and a house."

Martina Gebhardt

  • Exterior view of the Archabbey of Saint Ottilien
  • Monk of the Archabbey of Saint Ottilien stands in front of a showcase with stuffed mountain animals
  • Aerial view of the Bernried monastery with Starnberger See in the background
  • Two nuns stand at the reception of a monastery behind a glass pane

You can read the whole story about Martina Gebhardt and her extraordinary company headquarters in SeeMagazin 2019, which also provides exclusive insights into the Archabbey of St. Ottilien, Beuerberg Monastery and Bernried Monastery.


Cover of the SeeMagazin 2019 with a drone picture of the Starnberger See
Can you see the whole story? SeeMagazin 2019

We love to collect beautiful pictures and stories from the Five Lakes Land and present them in our SeeMagazin. Every year we meet many interesting personalities. "Change of Perspective" is the motto of the 2019 issue, and we explore the lakes from a different perspective: whether from the air, on a board or on land - with our picture series, stories, ideas and tips we would like to invite readers to discover the region in a new way.