Cusanus Foundation / St. Nikolaus Hospital

Cusanusstraße 2
54470 Bernkastel-Kues

Tel.: +49 6531 - 22 60

Opening times

Sun - Fri: 9:00am - 6:00pm
Sat: 9:00am - 3:00pm
only on appointment
April - October:
Tue: 10:30am
Fri: 3:00pm
and on appointment

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Published: 03.06.14
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updated: 13.04.2024 17:51:44

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The St. Nikolaus Hospital – also known as the Cusanus Foundation – is situated in the district of Kues, and is the late Gothic monastery complex according to the monastic model of Nikolaus of Cusa. On 3rd December 1458, after a construction period of less than 10 years, he founded the St. Nikolaus hospital. The Foundation derives its name from its patron saint, St. Nikolaus, who was also the patron saint of Nikolaus of Cusa’s family. The Foundation came about in the wake of his parents‘ rich heritage which consisted mainly of properties, among these a winery. The Cusanus Foundation was originally intended as a hospital for the poor.

In accordance with the 33 years in the life of Christ, 33 needy men over 55 years of age – among them six clergy and six nobles – should receive board and lodging. The Foundation has remained true to its mission to this day.

As is usual in a monastery, the Cusanus Foundation grounds had cells, a refectory, a kitchen, living quarters and a hospital ward – as well as a chapel and a historic cloister.


The chapel of the monastery-like construction is among the finest religious buildings in the Trier region. The stellar vault in the square room is supported by a single central pillar. The chapel forms the centre point of the St. Nikolaus Hospital. Several times a day, the residents used to meet here in accordance with monastic practices for prayer and worship. Here in this very chapel lies the heart of its founder, Nikolaus of Cusa.


The medieval library is located above the chapel and houses a unique collection of manuscripts, among others works by Nikolaus of Cusa himself. This is one of the most valuable private manuscript collections with 314 cataloged manuscripts in Latin. The library is accessible within the framework of formal guided tours.

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