The Sisters’ House

The Sisters’ House. Photo: Ole Akhøj

Home of the unmarried sisters

The Sisters’ House, Nørregade 14, was erected in 1776 and several extensions were made up until 1881. It comprises 4000 m2. Originally, the house contained dormitories, living rooms, workshops and a choir hall. The choir hall is the second largest room in the town and therefore, the community uses it as a church hall in the winter. The interior of the house is dominated by very long corridors with many beautiful doors, rococo staircases and empire details such as the chandeliers in the beautiful choir hall. Behind the Sisters’ House, there is a courtyard with the Moravian workshop and part of the original garden is still intact.

The Sisters’ House from Nørregade. Photo: Unknown
The Sisters’ House. Photo: Christiansfeld | Museum Kolding

Everyday life in the Sisters’ House

After their confirmation, the young girls moved away from home and into the Sisters’ House, where they lived until they would marry, if they chose to do so. The house was the home of up to 250 young and older women. Many of these women earned their living by sewing, knitting or processing textiles. There was a shop to the right of the entrance and here they sold the finished products. In addition to this, some of the women worked in the factories of the town, especially the tobacco factory. In the period from 1923 to 1941, the back premises of the Sisters’ House were used for the production of margarine. Due to raw material shortage during the Second World War, the margarine factory had to close down in 1941. After the war, the production continued until 1961, when the factory was sold and the activities were moved out of the building.
The religious life also had a prominent place in the everyday life. The Sisters had many gatherings: daily morning and evening devotions, weekly choir meetings with either a ”choir speech” or a choir liturgy, special gatherings with other liturgical forms and a long series of celebrations. The most important celebration was the annual choir celebration, at which the choir was renewing its covenant about devotion to the will of the Savior.

The architecture of the Sisters’ House

The Sisters’ House consists of a main building, two side wings and back buildings. On the backside to the north of the main building, there is a courtyard with a well.
The symmetrical main building has a central location on the northern side of the Church Square. Towards the north, the Sisters’ House concludes the Church Square and next to the Hall, it is the largest and most prominent building. The location of the Sisters’ House bears witness of its importance.
On each side of the main building, there is a side wing. Especially the eastern side wing has been built together with the main building and adapted to it in an extraordinarily beautiful way. For one, the choice of materials corresponds completely to the materials used for the main building. The half house end of the side wing, springs naturally from the shape of the main building, and from here, the cornices continue on the side wing. On the house end of the side wing towards the east, there are original rococo windows, the most prominent ones being the large windows in the middle with the flat relieving arcs. These windows belong to the long corridors inside the building. On the house ends, all windows have equally high window backs on each floor.
Even though the western side wing is clearly different from the east wing, it has also been built together with the main building in an elegant way. The western house end and the side house end have both been covered by a wooden casing, which gives them a different and more greyish appearance, but the materials, the simplicity and the placing of the windows are all delicately adapted to the house front of the main building towards the Church Square.
The demarcation of the courtyard consists of tall buildings on three sides. Since the walls are so tall, the impression can be overwhelming rather than charming, so it is assumed that the Sisters have gone into the garden to enjoy their leisure time.
On the backside the different window types can be seen very clearly; there are both rococo windows and classicist windows - and the location of the choir hall can be determined with ease.
Last, but not least there are small back buildings in the courtyard, which are both smaller and lower. The materials and the proportions of the back buildings are the ones that are so characteristic and typical of the house in Christiansfeld. The back buildings are an important part of the entire building complex and of the courtyard of the Sisters’ House. They were used as workshops such as dressmaker’s workrooms, weaver’s workshops etc.

The west wing. Photo: Ole Akhøj
Courtyard behind the Sisters’ House. Photo: Eva Kristensen

The Sisters’ House today

Today the renovated Sisters’ House contains the "House of Cultural Heritage, Art and Science " including Christiansfeld Centret, The Moravian Museum and Archives, The Local Historical Archives of Christiansfeld, The Danish Mission of the Moravians, the Star Shop and the Christiansfeld Department of the Musical School of Kolding Municipality. It is possible to visit the choir hall and the Moravian Museum in the Sisters’ House during the opening hours of Christiansfeld Centret. Tickets are available in Christiansfeld Centret.

The Sisters’ House. Tourist information. Photo: Christiansfeld | Museum Kolding

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