Travel News For Germany

Lutherstadt in Wittenberg where actors portray Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora at the door of the 95 theses.Photo by Jürgen Blume courtesy of IMG - Investitions- und Marketinggesellschaft Sachsen-Anhalt mbH.

Lutherstadt in Wittenberg where actors portray Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora at the door of the 95 theses.
Photo by Jürgen Blume courtesy of IMG – Investitions- und Marketinggesellschaft Sachsen-Anhalt mbH.

Luther Rules the Roost for 2017

(TORONTO, ON) – I attended a German National Tourist Office dinner in Toronto where various representatives of the GNTO explained the main themes for travel to Germany in 2017. Last year’s theme was Nature in Germany.

Martin Luther, the theological founder of the Reformation movement, will be at the centre of a whole host of events and exhibitions, in 2017, to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. In addition to the national exhibitions and events, which will be running throughout much of the year, other events will also shed light on various aspects of Luther’s life and the Reformation.

National Exhibitions

Under the common theme The Full Power of the Reformation, three concurrent national exhibitions explore the subject in all its different aspects and facets, although they vary in the focus of their content and design.

The three exhibitions complement and reinforce each other so that collectively they offer a comprehensive overview of the key aspects of the Reformation.

12 April to 5 November 2017

The Luther Effect. Protestantism 500 Years in the World’, Berlin

The exhibition at the Martin Gropius building in Berlin presents the events of the Reformation in a global context and looks at the consequences and repercussions of the Reformation around the world.

4 May to 5 November 2017

Luther and the Germans’, Eisenach

This exhibition at Wartburg Castle focuses on the great reformer’s complex relationship with the German people, which has been exploited time and again through the ages for a vast variety of different purposes.

13 May to 5 November 2017

Wartburg Castle EisenachPhoto by Christof Herdt courtesy of Deutsche Zentrale für Tourismus e.V.

Wartburg Castle Eisenach
Photo by Christof Herdt courtesy of Deutsche Zentrale für Tourismus e.V.

Luther! 95 Treasures – 95 People’, Wittenberg

The exhibition at Luther’s House and the Augusteum paints a picture of Luther as a person, and of the world he lived in.

Other Events In Germany

Tour dates from 14 January to 29 October 2017

Luther pop oratorio, on tour

A choir project, involving around 1,500 to 2,500 voices and a symphony orchestra, brings a musical version of the story of Martin Luther and the Reformation to the stage. The production will be touring Germany.

20 May to 10 November 2017

World Reformation Exhibition, Wittenberg

During the summer of 2017, the Reformation anniversary year, churches from around the world will join international institutions and organisations and members from the arts community in Wittenberg in presenting their current views on the Reformation. The World Reformation Exhibition will be accompanied by a wide-ranging programme of events, on stages large and small, which will include podium discussions and debates in the event marquees.

9 to 11 June 2017

Luther’s Wedding, Wittenberg

Luther and Katharina von Bora were married on 13 June 1525. For more than 20 years, the people of Wittenberg have commemorated this event by hosting a major annual festival with a parade in historical costumes.

13 July to 12 November 2017

Melanchthon's house in Wittenberg, the "town of Luther".Photo by Astrid Schwarz courtesy of Deutsche Zentrale für Tourismus e.V.

Melanchthon’s house in Wittenberg, the “town of Luther”.
Photo by Astrid Schwarz courtesy of Deutsche Zentrale für Tourismus e.V.

Luther, Columbus and the Consequences’, Germanic National Museum, Nuremberg

With Columbus’ discovery of the new world, Luther’s Reformation and the new model of the universe put forward by Copernicus, the 16th century was a time of great upheaval. The 250 exhibits on display allow visitors to gain a profound insight into the spirit of the Reformation era, which was a turning point in religious and political history.

3 November 2016 to 20 May 2017

European Roadmap

The European Roadmap will link a series of European towns and cities associated with the Reformation with the World Reformation Exhibition in Wittenberg. Regional and ecumenical partners in each of these locations will take turns to celebrate their local connections to the history of the Reformation for 36 hours each.

Eight Luther routes cover the whole of Germany. They link 42 places associated with the life and work of the great reformer and provide independent travellers with a useful framework for planning their tours. The start and end points, and the destinations along the way, are easy to reach by bus, train, car or bike.

Route 1

From Berlin to Magdeburg: The Heartland of Luther’s Legacy

The first Luther route runs from Berlin – a venue for the national exhibition in the 2017 anniversary year – to Potsdam with its many attractions, before continuing to the Reformation heartland of Saxony-Anhalt and two key towns in the life of Martin Luther: Eisleben and Wittenberg. Highlights include the castle church in Wittenberg, where Luther posted his 95 theses in 1517, and the houses in Eisleben where Luther was born and where he died. Today these outstanding monuments to the life and times of Martin Luther are all inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Another place of interest is the Prince George Library in Dessau-Rosslau, which contains hundreds of prints and manuscripts from the time of the Reformation. The final location on the route is Magdeburg, where Luther attended school for a time, and where he later became active as a dedicated and outspoken preacher.

Route 2

From Berlin to Frankfurt: Life and Times

Starting again in Berlin, the second Luther route also includes Wittenberg and Torgau, before continuing to Luther towns in Thuringia and to Frankfurt in Hessen. The route runs through Eisleben and Mansfeld, where Luther’s childhood homes are located, as well as Torgau, where Luther’s wife Katharina von Bora died in 1552.

In Erfurt, where Martin Luther spent six years are a monk, visitors can see his cell at the abbey of the Augustinian hermits, the largest of the city’s surviving abbeys. Another highlight is Eisenach, home to both Luther’s House and Wartburg Castle, where Luther translated the New Testament into German.

Route 3

From Eisenach to Altenburg: Reformation and Cultural Heritage

The third Luther route concentrates on Thuringia, taking visitors to Eisenach, Erfurt and smaller towns that were shaped by the Reformation era. The starting point is Eisenach, where Luther went to school for several years. It was also here, at Wartburg castle, that he translated the Bible under the alias of ‘Squire George’. The town and castle will be venues for the national Reformation exhibition in 2017.

Lesser known towns on the route include Möhra, the traditional home of the Luther family, Schmalkalden, where Protestant princes and cities forged a defensive union in 1531, and Mühlhausen, where Thomas Müntzer, the reformer and leader of the peasant’s revolt, was executed. With stops in Gotha, Weimar and Altenburg, this route also touches on many other fascinating aspects of the Reformation in Thuringia.

Route 4

From Leipzig to Dresden: Politics and Rebellion

The fourth Luther route starts in Leipzig. Here, in 1519, Luther engaged in intense debate with the Catholic theologian Johannes Eck, which ultimately led to his excommunication by Rome.

The route also takes visitors to Jüterbog in Brandenburg – where preacher Johann Tetzel, whose selling of indulgences is thought to have been the catalyst for Martin Luther’s 95 theses, was active in 1517 – and Grimma, where Luther’s future wife Katharina von Bora lived for many years.

The journey ends in Saxony’s capital Dresden, where the Church of Our Lady, the largest Protestant domed building in Europe, is just one of many fascinating places to visit. The famous Dresden Kreuzchor boys’ choir, one of the oldest in Germany, is celebrating its 800th anniversary in 2016.

Route 5

From Frankfurt to Berlin: Sermons and Imperial Diets: Luther’s Travels

The fifth Luther route presents an almost complete overview of the key aspects of the Reformation. Starting in Frankfurt, its first stop is Worms, where Luther defended his writings before the Emperor. Next is Speyer, where important imperial diets convened between 1526 and 1529.

Then comes Heidelberg, where Luther preached his first sermon after nailing his theses to the door of Wittenberg castle church. The route continues to Augsburg, where Luther defended his theses before the feared Cardinal Cajetan in 1518, and on to Nuremberg, which was the first free imperial city to introduce the Reformation.

Coburg was Martin Luther’s home for several months in 1530, and visitors today can see the rooms in which he lived and worked. Upon leaving Coburg, the route continues to towns and cities associated with Luther in Thuringia – such as Eisenach and Erfurt – and to Halle and Wittenberg in Saxony-Anhalt, before finishing in Berlin.

Route 6

From Frankfurt to Berlin: Vision and Reality

The sixth Luther route touches on some of the places the reformer visited on his travels: town and regions where he tried to win people over with his ideas. After stops in present-day Hessen, the route passes through the well-known Luther sites in Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Saxony, before arriving in Berlin.

After Frankfurt and Worms, the next destination is Marburg. It was here, at the Marburg Colloquy in October 1529, that Zwingli and Luther debated their differing interpretations of the role of The Last Supper. In nearby Bad Hersfeld, Luther held a sermon at the striking collegiate church on 1 May 1521.

Other points on the route include Eisenach and Wartburg Castle, Erfurt, the UNESCO World Heritage town of Weimar, Leipzig, Halle and Torgau. After passing through the Luther towns of Eisleben and Wittenberg, this route culminates in the magnificent cities of Potsdam and Berlin, both of which offer a wealth of cultural, architectural and historical attractions.

Route 7

From Frankfurt to Wittenberg: Small Beginnings, Big Impacts

Time and time again, Luther sought out smaller towns and even villages to voice his ideas. Many of these places may be considered ‘insider tips’, but they are of great importance in understanding the Reformation. One example is Bad Hersfeld in Hessen, where Luther preached in 1521. The local pastor at the time, Heinrich Fuchs, is said to have been the first priest ever to marry.

Zwickau is home to a somewhat unconventional Luther site: the Lutherkeller, located directly beneath the Luther Church, serves as a bar, band rehearsal room, cycle and carpentry workshop and table tennis cellar – and hosts a blues service five times a year.

The route also includes Grimma, Luther’s childhood home in Mansfeld, and Zeitz, where Luther preached key sermons between 1642 and 1645. It ends in Wittenberg.

Route 8

From Frankfurt to Munich: Beyond the Borders: Roads to Europe

The eighth Luther route looks beyond Germany’s borders to other places closely associated with the ideas of the Reformation and emerging Humanism. After Frankfurt, Worms and Heidelberg, the next stop on the itinerary is Strasbourg.

At the time of the Reformation, the French city was a centre for book printing, which played an important part in the proliferation of Luther’s ideas. Next comes Basel, where the great humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam lived and taught from 1514, and then Zurich, where Ulrich Zwingli became a preacher and minister at the Great Minster in 1519.

At Lake Constance, visitors find themselves back on German soil. The town of Constance is home to the Hus Museum, which documents the life and legacy of Jan Hus. An advocate for freedom of conscience, Hus presented his pre-Reformation theses at the Council of Constance in 1417, which led to him being burned at the stake for heresy.

The route concludes in Augsburg and Munich.

Now it might seem at bit of an esoteric theme to focus on, but there are some 800 million Protestants worldwide accounting for almost 6% of the global population.

Germany’s national airline is purchasing some 23 new A 350-900 Airbuses for long haul flights. The A350-900 significantly reduces fuel emissions and contains 24 different light settings to fit in with day and night biorhythms which will reduce jet lag.

Lufthansa’ Boeing 747’s will also be refitted with the new lighting system.

Passengers on the A 350-900 will be able to preselect their own entertainment from the comfort of their homes using a phone app.

The first A 350-900’s will be based in Munich and used to fly to New Delhi and Boston. It is anticipated that Canada might be serviced by the new aircraft in 2018. Lufthansa celebrates 6o years of flying to and from Canada.

The carrier currently employs 37,000 employees and will be hiring 3,000 additional employees this year. As well, Lufthansa has recently signed a $100 million global catering contract with Etihad Aviation Group in the United Arab Emirates.

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About the Author

Robert Stephen (CSW)
Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he loves The Square. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write." Email Robert Stephen