Clam Castle (Burg Clam)

Clam Castle (Burg Clam)

Location: Upper Austria  Map

Constructed: 12th century


Description of Clam Castle

Clam Castle is a large medieval stronghold in Upper Austria region of Austria. Clam Castle was constructed in the middle of the 12th century. It overlooks a strategic valley of Danube River that flows below. Clam Castle or Burg Clam is one of the few citadels in the region that remained virtually unchanged since its construction.




Clam Castle was first mentioned in a document in 1142. At that time it was owned by Walchun, the brother of Otto von Machland from the Perg-Machland noble family. A supposedly older mention of Clam Castle can be found in a document from the Gleink monastery, which is dated 1125. But this document is most likely a forgery from the 13th century. With Walchun's heiress Adelheid, the castle became the property of the Velburg family and, with the death of Ulrich von Clam-Velburg in the Damiette Crusade in 1217, fell to the sovereign, as did Klingenberg Castle. At that time, a second castle was also mentioned in Klam, of which the remains of the fortifications on the opposite hilltop, the so-called Schwedenschanze Achatzberg, could testify.

From 1234 to 1324 the Holzer and from 1250 to 1413 the Hauser appear as fief bearers of Clam. According to Wilhelm dem Hauser, Christian and Christoph von Zinzendorf may have been the owners. From 1416 Gilg, Ortaker, Gilg and Wolfgang Wolfstein first owned the castle, after Wolfgang's death it passed to Jörg Seusenecker and then to Prüschenk and from 1454 to the Counts of Hardegg.

In 1524, Christoph Perger bought “Castle and Veste Clam together with the tower” from the Counts of Hardegg. After Christoph Perger I. came Christoph Perger II., his son Hanns Enoch Perger and Johann Gottfried Perger.

Johann Gottfried Perger
Johann Gottfried Perger zu Clam (1598-1673) was considered the greatest supporter of the market town of Klam and its citizens. He had the castle extensively renovated from 1640, which is why he is still considered a "restorer familiae". His wife, Sibylle Countess von Kagenek, was also not idle: she gave birth to 12 children and had enormous assets from the Kagenek family. Johann Gottfried Perger had the market's old freedoms confirmed, the church in Hofkirchen renovated in 1641 and the local church built in 1659. He donated the hospital and the herb fields. In 1640 Emperor Ferdinand III. was awarded the title "Edle Herr zu Clam" and in 1655 he was raised to the rank of baron. In the same year, Johann Gottfried Perger converted to the Catholic faith. Outerstein Castle has also belonged to Clam Castle since 1665.

Clam Martinic
In 1759, Empress Maria Theresa bestowed the title of Hereditary Austrian Count on the family. The Clam family was divided into the Clam-Clam, Clam-Gallas and Clam-Martinic lines. After the Clam-Clam family died out in 1815, the Clam-Martinic family, who had significant estates in Bohemia, took over the old family estate. Clam Castle is inhabited all year round by the (former count) family. Today's lord of the castle is Carl Philip Clam-Martinic. The most important members of the family were Heinrich Clam-Martinic, Austrian prime minister and military officer, Heinrich Jaroslav Count Clam-Martinic, Bohemian politician, and Georg Clam Martinic, Austrian engineer, farmer, author and monument conservator.


The castle complex

The castle complex is a castle inhabited by the owners all year round. Clam Castle was fundamentally rebuilt by the Hauser family in the 14th century, so that today nothing remains of the original fortifications from the 12th century. The oldest part of Clam Castle that is still visible today is the higher round tower built in the 13th century.

Through an outer bailey with a large, irregular courtyard formed by administration buildings, garages and the Palas, a wrought-iron gate leads to the castle courtyard, which is bordered by a stone balustrade and surrounded by arcades. The rock on which the castle was built reaches up to the first floor. From the courtyard, sgraffiti can be seen on the wall of the palace. The ensemble is completed by a keep with a conical roof, located a little to the side of the castle.

The castle has been in the same family for around half a millennium and has never been destroyed. This is the reason why many furnishings and a large number of historical gems have been preserved.

In the castle there is a St. Chapel consecrated to the cross and another chapel from the 14th century rediscovered in 1934 on the fourth floor of the palace.


Clam Castle Museum

Accessible sights of the castle include the three-story arcaded courtyard, the armory with armor used to defend the castle, the Gothic castle chapel built in 1422, the castle pharmacy with a medicine chest from 1603, and the living quarters of the Counts of Clam, including the breakfast room with a porcelain collection and several sumptuously furnished guest rooms, the master's kitchen, a music room and a large set banquet table in the landscape room.

Todays use
Next to the actual castle complex there is a castle brewery and a Meierhof. The riding hall and riding arena of the castle are operated by the Burg Clam riding club. Since 1990, the clam concerts with internationally renowned musicians have taken place in the brewery garden and on the Meierhofwiese.

In 1923, Heinrich Clam-Martinic had an electricity plant built in the Klam Gorge. The residents of the communities of Klam, Saxen, Baumgartenberg and Mitterkirchen im Machland were supplied with electricity. Georg Clam-Martinic had another power station built in 1963, for which the hammer mill was demolished and the Bergmayr mill and sawmill ceased operations.