The House of Salm was an ancient Lotharingian noble family originating from Salmchâteau in the Ardennes (present-day Belgium) and ruling Salm. The dynasty is above all known for the experiences of the Upper Salm branch which came to be located at Château de Salm in the Vosges mountain range and over time came to rule over a principality whose capital was Badonviller then Senones.

Noble family
Coat of arms
Coat of Arms
Parent houseHouse of Ardenne–Luxembourg
CountryDuchy of Luxembourg
Holy Roman Empire
Founded11th century
Cadet branchesSalm-Salm



The noble family possibly descended from Count Palatine Wigeric of Lotharingia (d. before 923), the founder of the House of Ardenne. His presumable son Sigfried (d. 997) appeared as first Count of Luxembourg about 950. Sigfried's grandson Giselbert (d. 1059), is documented as a Count of Salm in 1036 and as Count of Luxembourg in 1047. When he divided his estates among his heirs, his younger son Hermann received the County of Salm and thereby became the progenitor of the comital dynasty. During the Great Saxon Revolt, he even was elected German anti-king in opposition to King Henry IV in 1081, however, he remained isolated until his death in 1088.

In 1163, Hermann's grandson Count Henry I of Salm (d. before 1174) again divided the estates among his son Henry II and his daughter Elizabeth, who had married Frederick II, Count of Vianden. Henry II received the County of Upper Salm in the Vosges, while Elizabeth and Frederick II founded the comital line of Lower Salm in the Ardennes.

Lower Salm


The descendants of Elizabeth and Frederick became extinct in 1416. Their possessions were inherited by the Lords of Reifferscheid, who resided at Reifferscheid Castle. The succession arrangement was challenged by the Raugraves, however, they had to accept a 1456 judgement by the Luxembourg councillor Antoine I de Croÿ.

Coat of Arms Altgrave Salm-Reifferscheidt-Raitz

The Salm-Reifferscheid line was later divided into the branches of Salm-Reifferscheid-Bedburg/Krautheim, Salm-Reifferscheidt-Raitz and Salm-Reifferscheid-Dyck (extinct in 1888).

Upper Salm

Ruins of Château de Salm

The Counts of Upper Salm resided at Château de Salm in Alsace, where they had to compete with the neighbouring Prince-Bishops of Strasbourg and the Dukes of Lorraine. In 1475, half of the estates were inherited by the Rhinegraves; the remaining half passed to the Lorraine dukes in 1600.

The Rhinegraves began to call themselves Counts of Salm too, they were raised to princes in 1623. Their line included several cadet branches ruling over minor principalities such as Salm-Salm, Salm-Horstmar, and Salm-Kyrburg. In the German Mediatisation of 1803, the Princes of Salm-Salm and Salm-Kyrburg received the southwestern estates of the former Prince-Bishopric of Münster with the Lordship of Anholt and ruled the newly established Principality of Salm jointly as a condominium.

Notable members


Among its notable members were the counts of Lower Salm in the Ardennes, advocati of the abbaye Saint-Pierre at Senones, counts of Upper Salm in the Vosges mountains, governors of Nancy, marshals of Lorraine, marshals of Bar, princes of the Holy Roman Empire and sovereign princes of the Principality of Salm-Salm:

See also