Wildegg, Habsburg and Effinger

Wildegg Castle was also founded by the Habsburgs. They laid the foundations of Wildegg in the first half of the 13th century on the foothills of the Chestenberg near the villages of Holderbank and Möriken (today canton Aargau).

The castle was long inhabited by stewards of Habsburg, most recently by the lords of Hallwyl. In 1415, Bern and other members of the Confederation conquered Aargau. Although the defenders (the Hallwylers) successfully resisted at Castle Wildegg, the castle still came into Bern’s possession through an agreement.

The nobleman Kaspar Effinger (1442-1513) from Brugg bought the castle in 1483. He had already fought under the Bern flag against the Burgundians (1474-1477) and maintained good relations with Bern. The Effinger families lived at Wildegg for almost 450 years until 1912.

The lord of the castle operated several businesses: wine growing, farms, a brickyard and mill and dairy workshops. Bernhard Effinger (1658-1725) converted the medieval castle into a Baroque palace around 1700 and added French gardens.

After 1798, life also changed for the Effingers. There was no place for noble privileges in the new canton of Aargau (1803). Although the family was allowed to keep much of their property, they lost most of their privileges.

Adelheid Pauline Juliette von Effinger (1837-1912) bequeathed the castle and estate to the Swiss Confederation after her death in 1912. The National Museum of Zurich opened the museum (Schlossmuseum) in 1917. The canton is the owner today. The castle is part of the Museum Aargau.

The reformed church and its cemetery in Holderbank are the family’s final resting place. Holderbank also has a Habsburg history. King Rudolf I of Habsburg (1228-1291) obtained the village through sale just before his death in 1291.

The church went over to the other faith in 1528. Bernhard Effinger rebuilt the church in the late Baroque style in 1701.

(Source and further information: Museum Aargau; U. Frick, Die reformierte Kirche Holderbank. Hofkirche der Effinger, Holderbank-Möriken-Wildegg, 2018)