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500th anniversary of the Reformation

In 2017 the protestant church is celebrating an important event: the 500th anniversary of the Reformation

On October 31, 2017 protestants will celebrate that historic day when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, an act which shook the religious world of the time.

The 500th Reformation anniversary also means a great deal to Heidelberg. The then capital of the Kurpfalz (the Electoral Palatinate) played an important role in the spreading of the new doctrine. On April 26, 1518, Martin Luther visited Heidelberg, residence of the Elector Princes. As in Wittenberg, he proclaimed his 95 theses and defended himself before the General Chapter of the Augustine monks at the famous Heidelberg Defense. The commemorative Luther plaque marks where the Augustine abbey once stood. In 1563 the famous Heidelberg Catechism was formulated, the most significant confessional document in the reformed christian faith the world over.

You will find the background to Martin Luther and the Reformation in Heidelberg here.

Events and activities in Heidelberg 2017

Varied, exciting and uniting: The events taking place in Heidelberg as part of the Reformation anniversary celebrations demonstrate how current Martin Luther and the basic ideas of the Reformation are even 500 years later.

  • A varied program celebrating Heidelberg as a “European Reformation City”, from October 31,  2017 to the end of April 2018
    The communities and institutions of the protestant church in Heidelberg have planned some 80 events throughout the city and suburbs to celebrate the anniversary. You can find the program outlined here.

  • A concert for the Reformation Anniversary “Im Osten und im Westen“ (East and West) April 18, 2017 at 7.30pm in the Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Spirit)
    An illustrated church concert in which musicians and audience, as they wander from east to west, can experience the spatial and acoustic dimensions of the church which was once divided into a Catholic and a Protestant half.
    more information

  • Exhibition: “Aufs Maul geschaut – Mit Luther in die Welt der Wörter“ (“Mark my words – a close look at Luther’s world of words”) February 25 to March 26 2017, Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Spirit)
    Martin Luther listened to the voice of the people when translating the bible from Latin  – and in so doing made a significant contribution to the German language. The exhibition illustrates the dimensions and currency of his language in today’s world.

  • Jazz Church Service "Von der Freiheit eines Christenmenschen" (The freedom of the christian person) “ May 14,  2017, 11am, Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Spirit).
    In this service Martin Luther’s hymns will be freely interpreted
  • Exhibition in the Kurpfälzisches Museum (The Palatinate Museum), 21 May to 22 October 2017: Popes –Princes – Professors – Reformers  “Heidelberg und der Heilige Stuhl“ (“Heidelberg and the Holy See”)from the Reform Council of the Middle Ages to the Reformation 
    Parallel exhibition to the Popes Exhibition in the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museums in Mannheim from May 21 to October 31,  2017: „Die Päpste und die Einheit der lateinischen Welt“ (“The Popes and the Unity of the Latin World”)
    more information

  • Baden Choral Festival in the Old Town, June 30 to July 2,  2017: “Die Reformation feiern mit Gesang“(“Celebrating the Reformation in Song”)
    During the Choral Festival 2017,the regional state church and the choirs from all over Baden will sing their celebrations in the Reformation city of Heidelberg- at squares around the inner city, in churches in the Old Town, at church services and workshops, on choir walks and many other encounters. 

City Walking Tours as part of the Reformation Anniversary Celebration

  • Group tour: “Following Martin Luther’s Footsteps through Heidelberg“ Themed tour for groups of up to 28. Duration:  90 minutes.
    Available in German, French, English, Italian and Spanish.
    more information

  • Public tour: “Heidelberg, Luther and the Reformation“ From April – October, every second and fourth Saturday of the month at 5pm for 90 minutes, in German.
    more information

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