After five centuries, the Protestant Reformation celebrates its 500th birthday in 2017; The past Luther Decade has built up both spiritual and secular awareness of Martin Luther’s history-changing protest

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Highlights in 2017

Opening of the Reformation Anniversary Year: October 31, 2016

After five centuries, the Protestant Reformation celebrates its 500th birthday in 2017. The past Luther Decade has built up both spiritual and secular awareness of Martin Luther’s history-changing protest. Reformation Day on October 31, 2016 marks the start of the year-long jubilee, with celebrations both solemn and joyous. The world is invited to see special exhibitions, to listen to concerts, to take part in moving services and to join in animated discussions. So, in 2017, come and visit LutherCountry, the German federal states of Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, and pay your respects to the Great Reformer.


MAY 20 – SEP 10, 2017

In Lutherstadt Wittenberg, this special two-part exhibition not only examines Luther’s influence, but also brings the Reformation to life. One part connects you, the visitor, to Luther using a “treasure chest” of 95 priceless possessions: Luther’s own Bible and will; artifacts from his homes; a rare portrait that was painted when he was translating the New Testament into German. And Wartburg Castle, the very spot where he carried out that translation, also hosts a special exhibition “Luther and the Germans” (May 4 – November 5, 2017). The second part highlights 95 people he influenced, such as composer J S Bach, painter Lucas Cranach the Younger and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.


MAY 20 – SEP 10, 2017

Next summer, Lutherstadt Wittenberg’s Old Town will be alive with discussion, new ideas and new friendships. Along the city’s ramparts, seven “Gates of Freedom” will reflect on how the Reformation changed opinions and society in Germany, Europe and the world. Special stages and tents will welcome visitors to stop by and discuss seven topics. Since “Reformation” infers shaping the future, the subjects will range from peace and justice to globalization and youth, as well as ecumenism, spirituality and culture. International visitors are encouraged to apply for spaces (with seats, electric power etc.).



MAY 25 – 27, 2017

Lutherstadt Wittenberg is linking with six other German cities that have close ties with Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation: Leipzig, Magdeburg, Erfurt, Jena/Weimar, Dessau-Rosslau and Halle (Saale)/Lutherstadt Eisleben. From May 25 – 27, they will host six “Kirchentage”. These special days involve prayer, worship and singing. As well as showcasing their cultural heritage, they will host major exhibitions, concerts and gatherings to further connect the Reformation to modern audiences. In Weimar, for example, the program will include Bible studies, as well as music and theater; in Jena, it will focus on the present and future of religion.


MAY 28, 2017

Standing where Martin Luther once stood is an emotional experience. Across the Elbe River from Lutherstadt Wittenberg are the meadows where the Great Reformer walked. Here, an open air church service will be held on May 28, 2017. This will be the culmination of Kirchentag on the Way (see above). For those, who have visited the six partner cities, it will be especially meaningful. Joining together in song and prayer, they will look across the river to Lutherstadt Wittenberg, the Birthplace of the Reformation and to the Castle Church, where Luther nailed up his 95 Theses.


It was in the town of Schmalkalden that Luther’s Articles of Faith were incorporated into the Evangelical church’s Book of Concord in 1537. And these Schmalkalden Articles of Faith are still used today in the ordination of priests. Schmalkalden itself is a medieval gem, with half-timbered houses, ancient churches and cobbled streets. Summer brings organ and choral concerts; a highlight is “Lutherfest”, the festival that takes you back in time to “Eat and Drink like Luther” (June 16 and 17, 2017). Sit at long wooden tables in the market square; enjoy traditional fare; be entertained by troubadours and acrobats.


Eisenach and Wartburg Castle, where Luther translated the New Testament, are two of LutherCountry’s most popular destinations. Special events and exhibitions in 2017 include the Reformation Festival Week (April 29 – May 7, 2017), “Luther and the Germans” at Wartburg Castle (May 4 – November 5, 2017) and “Bach and Luther” in Bach’s former home (April 29 – November 5, 2017). Stay at two fine hotels. Below the castle is the atmospheric, century-old Romantik Hotel at the Wartburg, with 37 individually-designed rooms and fabulous views. In town, the 126-room Steigenberger Hotel Thüringer Hof combines the best of traditional service with modern comforts, close to festivities.

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About LutherCountry: Where you can walk in Luther’s footsteps

Would you like to step inside the very room in which Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German, or admire the pulpits from which he preached and where pastors still preach today? Do you want to taste beer brewed the way Martin Luther liked it? Then come and visit LutherCountry, where you can explore Luther’s old stomping grounds and much more!

LutherCountry is situated in the heart of Germany and has so much to offer, from fascinating churches and museums for the believers and history or culture fans among you, to beautiful landscapes that could be straight out of a children’s picture book.

What do the places in LutherCountry all have in common? Centuries ago, they were the stage for Martin Luther’s tumultuous life and thus played a special role in the Reformation, which changed the way people thought about so many aspects of daily life. Martin Luther’s influence spread through Western Europe and, with European settlers, to the United States.

Although Luther lived five centuries ago, his presence is still tangible today. Grab your suitcase and come experience the unforgettable –LutherCountry is waiting to be discovered!

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