The Thienen are an old noble family, that origins lie with the “Equites Originarii” the oldest aristocratic knights of Schleswig-Holstein. Over the centuries, the family owned properties in Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Russia, Austria, and now in the Czech Republic.
The spelling has changed from Tyne and Tynen to Tinen, Thien, Tienen, Thinen to finally Thienen. The barons of Thienen-Adlerflycht, who belong to the high nobility of Denmark are the only branch of this family existing to this day.
The genealogist Johann Daniel Eberus in 1670 published “Insignia et tabula genealogica dominorum a Thinen” in which he explains the origin of the family. According to his work, the Thienen were expelled from Schleswig-Holstein at the beginning of the 9th century by Charlemagne. The family then fled to Brabant (today’s Belgium) where they established the city of Tienen (French: Tirlemont). The name Thienen appears first in a document of Charles the Bald that dates to April 20, 872.
However, the first completely provable member of the family who bore the family name is the knight and statesman Heneke of Thienen (ca. 1270-1320) who signed a royal decree in 1314 that is now in the Danish State Archive. His grandson Johann of Thienen (1342-ca.1390), had a long political career and eventually served as the steward of the Duchy of Schleswig.
The Thienen family always had a strong fondness for architecture and building, which can be seen in numerous family-built castles and manor houses. This affection to building still prevails and is now concentrated on Lomnice and Luhačovice.
Examples of family built manor houses and castles
Manor house Wahlstorf
The original moated castle Wahlstorf was built in the 15th century by Detlev of Thienen (1430-1490) and his wife Cecilia of Ahlefeldt. Their son Claus (1482-1542) married to Dorothea of Rantzau completed the construction. Castle Wahlstorf became one of the two main ancestral houses of the family. It is one of the oldest preserved manor houses in Schleswig-Holstein. After more than 320 years in continuous family ownership, it was inherited in 1788 by the Plessen family, that still owns it today.
In 1469, the same Detlev of Thienen also acquired the neighbouring lordship Kühren and erected the now demolished castle. The estate remained in the possession of the Thienen family until 1756 and, in addition to Wahlstorf, became one of the two main ancestral houses of the family.
The castle Güldenstein was built in 1726 by Heinrich of Thienen (1686-1737) who employed the famous architect Rudolf Matthias Dalin. The moated castle lies on an oval island and is surrounded by a pond. It constitutes a prime example of Baroque architecture in Schleswig-Holstein and is today owned by the Grand Dukes of Oldenburg.
Manor house Grünholz
The manor house Grünholz was built by Ida Lucia of Thienen, neé of Brockdorff, the widow of Heinrich of Thienen, from 1749 to 1752 on the remains of an older castle. Today the manor house is owned by the princes of Schleswig-Holstein.
The Thienen palace in Itzehoe, was built in the 16th century and still is the most important secular building in the city. The bailiff of Steinburg, Otto of Thienen (1514-1582) acquired it in 1569 and built a “double house” in the following years. Today it houses the district museum.
In 1687, Claus Christoph I of Thienen (1657-1708) acquired the estate Bülk in the Danish Wohld. He then added the manor houses Ravensbek and Eckhof in 1708.
Subsequently, his son Claus Christoph II of Thienen (1693-1752) divided the estate into three parts to bequeath it to his children. The old Meierhof (farmhouse) Ravensbek was expanded into the estate Neu-Bülk. The Meierhof Eckhof was enlarged to the estate Eckhof, now owned by the counts of Reventlow, and the old estate Bülk greatly reduced and from now on called Alt-Bülk.
Barons of Thienen-Adlerflycht
The oldest branch of the family was granted the title baron in 1840 for the Danish diplomat (Legationssekretär) Konrad Christoph of Thienen-Adlerflycht (1804-1884) and his descendants by King Christian VIII of Denmark.
The name combination was due to the marriage of Konrad Christoph of Thienen to Luise Thekla of Adlerflycht in 1833. The Adlerflycht were an old aristocratic family from Sweden, that later became patricians of Frankfurt/Main. In order to prevent complete extinction of the name after the death of Louise’s father Justinian of Adlerflycht (1761-1831) and her uncle Carl Friedrich Christian of Adlerflycht (1765-1835) a double surname was created.
Konrad Christoph’s son Karl (1835-1900), who was married to Elisabeth Sergievna of Zybin (1847-1933), was a senior grand ducal offical (Kammerherr) of Luxembourg and the diplomatic representative of Denmark and numerous German duchies at the imperial court in Vienna.
Therefore, the family moved to Austria where his son Waldemar (1869-1942), married to countess Helene of Dubsky from Třebomyslice (1874-1956) owned castle Katzenberg in Upper Austria. Waldemar was a senior grand ducal offical (Kammerherr) of Luxembourg and later inherited his mother’s estates in Russia, that he lost after the Russian Revolution in 1917.
His grandson Wolfgang (1896-1942) was married to countess Anna of Thun-Hohenstein from Děčín (1903-1943) and moved to castle Neuhaus in Salzburg, which they received as a wedding gift. When the Serényi family fled to Austria, they found refuge in castle Neuhaus.
Here, Isabella Serényi met her future husband Konrad Christoph Thienen-Adlerflycht (1924-2010). Konrad Christoph was an important historian, after studying theology and history he focused his studies on noble families that showed a high level of social responsibility and enlightenment at the times before the French Revolution, in the Industrial Revolution and the 19. Century in general. Specifically, he focused on members of his mother’s family, the Thun-Hohenstein of Dečin.
His grandfather prince Franz of Thun-Hohenstein was the governor of Bohemia at the same time as Isabella´s grandfather Otto Serényi was the governor of Moravia.
The descendants of Isabella and Konrad Christoph Thienen now live in Lomnice and Luhačovice.