The "Kirchhügel" (Church Hill) of Bendern, where the Liechtenstein Institute is located, is a prominent landmark in the Low Country of Liechtenstein, with beautiful views of the Rhine valley in the direction of Switzerland and Austria. It was already inhabited in prehistoric times. In the sixth century a good-sized farm building stood here and a short time later the first house of worship was erected.
In 1194, Emperor Henry VI transferred the Church and the belongings of the almshouse to the Premonstratensian monastery of St. Luzi in Chur. In the 16th century the monks found refuge in Bendern, when the St. Luzi monastery was secularised during the Reformation. Many buildings were erected on the "Church Hill" before the Premonstratensians had their property in Chur restored around a hundred years later. The imposing governor’s office (around 1539), with its stepped gables, and the old rectory (1600), together with the church, form one of the most distinctive groups of buildings in the country.
Up to the beginning of the 19th century, the people (subjects of the reigning prince) used to gather in front of the governor's office for the so-called “Landammännerwahlen” (election by show of hands of the head of the local Council). When Prince Johann Adam of Liechtenstein purchased the Lordship of Schellenberg, the people came here to pay their respects to their new sovereign on 16 March 1699.
The village has a long history and is rich in symbolism. After the St. Luzi monastery moved its headquarters to Chur, only two monks remained in Bendern. The old rectory degenerated into a dilapidated "parish house".
From 1995 to 1997 the building was renovated. It is owned by the municipality of Gamprin-Bendern. Since 1997 the Liechtenstein Institute has been based there. The building has thus acquired a new purpose which is fully in harmony with its historical significance.
© Barbara Bühler