Bismark launched the infamous Kulturekampf, from 1871-78, to reduce the influence of Catholicism in Germany . A central part of Bismark's campaign were the 'Jesuit Laws' of 1872 which banned the order in Germany. The immediate and urgent need for the German province was to replace the formation houses that had been closed. Initially many German scholastics who were forced to emigrate, ended up at Ditton Hall in Widnes, England which had been left to the Jesuits by Lady Stapleton. This was only suitable as a temporary solution. Thus an 18 hectare property was bought in Valkenburg in Holland. It became one of the biggest institutions in the Jesuit world. It contained 350 rooms and halls; the largest chapel has 31 altars; the house-library was greater than any other private library in Germany or Holland.
Scholastics and Novices moved there and at the start of the academic year of 1895/6 there were 112 Philosophers, 65 theologians, 30 Fathers and 52 brothers, altogether numbering 259 Jesuits. Further arrivals came from Luxembourg as the writers house was closed down in 1915 and then from Spain as the Jesuits were exiled in 1932 including a certain Pedro Arrupe, as well as scholastics from other provinces who had been displaced. Karl Rahner and Augustin Bea were also to do part of their training there. However today in 1942 the Gestapo were to move in and commandeered the building from the Jesuits. Within a month it was bombed by the British.
The German assault on Valkenburg was part of the Battle of the Hague which took place in May 1940. Valkenburg was the site of one of three key Dutch airbases. It was the first opposed paratroop assault in history. The main effect of the battle was unforeseen: the large loss of German transport aircraft. According to military historians the loss of the transport aircraft had a direct effect on the planning for the proposed German cross channel invasion of Britain. An interesting footnote to add is that before the Gestapo took St Ignatius College,the Jesuits hid a valuable 15th Century painting of the Resurrection in the Marl quarries near Maastricht. It is now in the hands of the Indiana University Art Museum (link).