500th anniversary of the ReformationJune 21st, 2017
Martin Luther once said: "For faith is a free work, to which no one can be forced". Berlin is not a religious but an open and tolerant city. In 2017 Berlin celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with numerous events.
Each year, tens of thousands of faithful churchgoers gather in Berlin for a weekend to honour the German Protestant Church, at the joyful Reformation and Church Festival. In 2017, the theme is focused on the 500 years of the church since the Reformation itself.
Luther 2017 is open to all and promotes peaceful tolerance, much like Berlin and its residents, so feel welcome regardless of your faith. Several museums also celebrate and examine the significance of Luther; don't miss "The Luther Effect. Protestantism – 500 Years in the World" at the Martin-Gropius-Bau or the Luther Collection at the State Library Unter den Linden.
Around 250 denominations and world views call Berlin home and practise their beliefs in countless churches and religious buildings. Many of these are also worth visiting as architecturally and historically important places. Admire the magnificent mosaics of the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral). Pause for a moment inside the Gedächtniskirche (Memorial Church) with its blue glass tower and the Coventry Cross which is a symbol for reconciliation after the war.
Visit St Hedwig’s Catholic Cathedral with its impressive dome, which is reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome. Berlin’s synagogues and community centres are hubs of Jewish life. The stunning Şehitlik mosque also welcomes non-Muslims. Guided tours bring you closer to Muslim life in Berlin. Every year on Whit Sunday churches open their doors for the Lange Nacht der Offenen Kirchen (Long Night of Open Churches). During this event, all different types of religions jointly invite visitors to religious services, concerts and singing.
Among the absolute highlights of these 2017 celebrations are the three National Special Exhibitions in Berlin, Eisenach, and Lutherstadt Wittenberg. Not only are they a very special exhibition project, they are also major events with an extraordinary format befitting the significance of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Three renowned German museums – the Deutsches Historisches Museum, the Wartburg Foundation, and the Luther Memorials Foundation of Saxony-Anhalt – have prepared exhibitions on the topic of “Reformation” in all its facets and manifestations.
Each exhibition has its own specific focus in both content and methodology, which makes it accessible and interesting for all visitors. The exhibitions complement and build upon one other, offering a broad overview of important aspects of the Reformation.