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Beilstein, Rhineland-Palatinate

Beilstein is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Cochem-Zell district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It belongs to the Verbandsgemeinde of Cochem, whose seat is in the like-named town.



The municipality lies on the river Moselle.


Finds from Frankish graves show that Beilstein was settled about AD 800. Beginning in 1268, the village was a fief held by the Lords of Braunshorn. Under Johann von Braunshorn (1299–1346), Beilstein was granted town privileges in 1309 by Heinrich VII and was fortified. In 1309, a Jewish community was founded, whose graveyard up above the castle still exists today. In 1310 the former parish church was endowed. After the family von Braunshorn died out, the fief passed in 1360 to the family von Winneburg. After the Electorate of Trier took over ownership of Beilstein in 1488, it enfeoffed the Imperial Counts of Metternich with the Lordship of Winneburg and Beilstein. In 1689 came the destruction of Castle Metternich (known as Die stolze Gemäuer, or “The Proud Walling”) by French troops. The Carmelite monastery was founded in 1636 (and dissolved in 1803). In 1691, the Carmelite monastery church’s foundation stones were laid; the church was completed in 1783. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the village’s appearance took on the shape that it still largely retains today. The Metternich lordship was swept away in 1794 when French Revolutionary troops occupied the region. In 1815 Beilstein was assigned to the Kingdom of Prussia at the Congress of Vienna. Since 1946, it has been part of the then newly founded state of Rhineland-Palatinate.


Municipal council

The council is made up of 6 council members, who were elected by majority vote at the municipal election held on 7 June 2009, and the honorary mayor as chairman.


Beilstein’s mayor is Eugen Herrmann.

Coat of arms

Beilstein’s old arms, adopted in 1951, were the arms formerly borne by the Lords of Braunshorn. In English heraldic language they might be described thus: Gules a bugle-horn argent stringed Or. The single charge in these arms has been incorporated into the new arms, designed by A. Friderichs, albeit with the string in the same tincture as the horn itself. These newer arms might be described thus: Quarterly, first Or a bend dancetty gules, second sable an escallop argent, third gules a bugle-horn of the fourth and fourth argent a cross quartered of the second.

Culture and sightseeing


The small village has one of the best preserved historical appearances on the Moselle and is thus also sometimes known as a miniature Rothenburg ob der Tauber or Dornröschen der Mosel (“Sleeping Beauty of the Moselle”). Towering above the village, which despite its small size is built to look much like a town, are the ruins of Castle Metternich, which once belonged to the like-named noble family.

The village is a pilgrimage site, for it is here that the “Miraculous Black Madonna” is displayed in the Baroque Saint Joseph’s Monastery Church. This is a statue of Spanish origin from the 12th or 13th century, left behind by the Spaniards after their short time as Beilstein’s lords after the Thirty Years' War and shortly thereafter taken to France, only to be brought back to Beilstein in 1950.

The organ in the monastery church was built by Balthasar König from Münstereifel/Cologne in 1738. Restoration work in 2002 gave the instrument back its original sound and character.

Each year in July and August, the Beilsteiner Märchensommer (“Beilstein Fairy-Tale Summer”) is held, at which the marionette theatre from Cochem produces fairy tales at the winegrowing museum. Always opening and closing the series of events is a traditional version of the Brothers Grimm’s “Sleeping Beauty”, in keeping with one of the village’s nicknames.


The following are listed buildings or sites in Rhineland-Palatinate’s Directory of Cultural Monuments:

Beilstein in film

The municipality has been the setting in a number of German films, such as the 1958 film version of Der Schinderhannes, about the well known outlaw starring Curd Jürgens, Nazi filmmaker Carl Froelich’s 1936 work Wenn wir alle Engel wären (“If We Were All Angels”) starring Heinz Rühmann and the 1938 film Das Verlegenheitskind starring Ida Wüst and Paul Klinger.

Famous people

Honorary citizens

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