Sophia of Rheineck – The Countess who died in the Holy Land




There is no known image of Sophia. This is her husband Dirk VI, Count of Holland (public domain)

Sophia of Rheineck was born circa 1120 as the only daughter of Otto I, Count of Salm and Gertrude of Northeim. She was married to Dirk VI, Count of Holland before 1135 and most likely in 1131. They went on to have at least 9 children together: Floris (future Count of Holland), Otto (future Count of Bentheim, through his mother), Dirk (died at the age of 12), Baudouin (bishop of Utrecht), Gertrude (died young), Petronilla (probably died young), Sophia (Abbes of Rijnsburg) and Hedwig (a nun at Rijnsburg). Dirk also had an illegitimate son named Robert who died sometime before 1190.

Sophia was known to be very pious. We know this because of her many gifts to the Abbeys of Egmond and Rijnsbrug and to the poor but she also went on several pilgrimages to the Holy Land. Her son Dirk was given the nickname “the Pilgrim” after being born during one of these pilgrimages. She also undertook a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela and was rescued from robbers with the help of Saint Adelbert. She went to the Holy Land three times during her lifetime. One of these pilgrimages was in 1173 after she had been widowed. She was accompanied by her son Otto.

Three years later, she went again and was probably joined by her sons Floris and Otto, at least part of the way. She would die in Jerusalem on 26 September 1176 and she was buried at the St. Mary’s hospital of the Teutonic Knights there.1

  1. E.H.P. Cordfunke – Gravinnen van Holland






About Moniek 1351 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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