logo of the German Kirchentag
The Deutsche Evangelische Kirchentag (DEK) has its origins in 1949 at the end of an Evangelical Week in Hannover (remember that evangelisch in German means Protestant). It was begun by Reinhold von Thadden-Trieglaf as a lay movement and an "organisation in perpetuity", following the isolation of the church from the state during the Nazi era. picture of Marketplace standThe purpose was to "draw together Protestant Christians in Germany in order to strengthen them in their faith, to prepare them for responsibility in their churches; to encourage them in witnessing in the world; and to have solidarity with those in the world-wide community of Christendom."

Since 1954 it has been a biennial event; previously it took place every year. It has always had a bias towards the integration of theological, social and political themes, and has never shied away from sensitive issues. Nowadays the Kirchentag - literally "Church Congress" - commands the respect of international leaders in church and politics, and world-class speakers on every subject are found in the programme of events.

picture of a local church service The format hardly changes, although recent Kirchentags have included an Ecumenical Village, reflecting the growing sense of unity and co-operation amongst the churches. The Kirchentag begins on a Wednesday evening in late May or early June in the "odd" years, and continues until the Sunday morning open air communion service. Within that time-frame there are around 3000 events to choose from - some serious, some cultural, some just fun - on a variety of topics under three or four main themes.

History was made in Berlin in 2003 with the first-ever Ecumenical Kirchentag, jointly planned and organised by the Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches in Germany.

people walking between events Thanks to the generosity of German people, visitors from outside Germany can be accommodated with families in whichever city is the venue for that year. The actual fee for participants is around €90, but you must add on at least the cost of travel to and from the German city and the cost of meals other than breakfast. The fee includes free public transport in the city and beyond.

If you have not yet attended a Kirchentag, consider it now! Join in with about 160,000 other people! Someone once described it as "one Keswick Convention, two Edinburgh Festivals (complete with fringe!), three Open University Summer Schools, a Lourdes pilgrimage, a visit to Taizé, an Ideal Homes Exhibition and a Cup Final". After my thirteenth Kirchentag, I reckon that's about right!

Interested? Here is all kinds of information about the Kirchentag. If you'd like to ask questions, then email Robin Blount or phone him on 01233 629611.


YearCityTickets sold (approx.)
1949Hannover5,000+
1950Essen25,000
1951Berlin70,000
1952Stuttgart40,000
1953Hamburg60,000
1954Leipzig60,000
1956Frankfurt am Main55,000
1957Berlin - GDR rejected plans for Thüringen,
so an autumn event was held
3,000 delegates
1959München48,000
1961Berlin42,000
1963Dortmund - first Kirchentag in divided Germany14,000
1965Köln13,000
1967Hannover14,000
1969Stuttgart17,000
1971Augsburg - Pentecost8,000
1973Düsseldorf7,000
1975Frankfurt am Main14,000
1977Berlin58,000
1979Nürenberg78,000
1981Hamburg117,000
1983Hannover114,000
1985Düsseldorf130,000
1987Frankfurt am Main125,000
1989Berlin150,000
1991Ruhrgebiet - Dortmund, Bochum and Essen100,000
1993München125,000
1995Hamburg128,000
1997Leipzig98,000
1999Stuttgart98,000
2001Frankfurt am Main92,000
2003Berlin - the first Ecumenical Kirchentag191,000
2005Hannover105,000
2007Köln110,000
2009Bremen99,000
2010München - second Ecumenical Kirchentag160,000
2011Dresden118,000
2013Hamburg117,000
2015Stuttgart97,000
2017Berlin-Wittenberg 

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