500 trees for Wittenberg

Aerial view of the Luther Garden in Wittenberg
Aerial view of the Luther Garden in Wittenberg (Foto: epd-bild/Steffen Schellhorn)

In 2017, when the Protestants remember the posting of the theses in Wittenberg 500 years ago, the memory of the beginnings of the Reformation shall already have grown strong roots. Since the beginning of the Luther Decade in 2008, 500 trees are being planted, by and by, in Wittenberg. They are going to grow and thrive in the city as green monuments in the memory of 500 years of living Reformation.

Some of these trees can be found in the "Luther Garden", a park in the old fortifications (near Andreasbreite) of Wittenberg. As a living memorial of the beginning of the Reformation in Wittenberg, it shall also reach out beyond the city. Churches of all denominations from all over the world are invited to become "godparents" for one of the 500 trees in Wittenberg and to plant a second tree in the area of their home parish.

Positive impulses for the city, the region and the state

The project was initiated by the Lutheran World Foundation in Geneva. Its realisation has been supported by the German National Committee of the Lutheran World Foundation, the United Evangelical Church in Germany and the Luther City of Wittenberg.

The cooperative concept enables many new contacts and communicative processes. The impulses have a positive effect on the city, the region and the state, and send signals across the borders regarding the significance of the Reformation. For the Lutheran World Foundation, the worldwide dimension of the project supports its fundamental notion of the church, as it has been phrased in its constitution: "The Lutheran World Foundation confesses the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church and wants to serve the unity of Christianity." On this basis, the Lutheran World Foundation wants to underline the ecumenical significance of the Reformation anniversary and its importance for the ecumenical relationships.

Trees from all continents

According to the plans of the landscape architect Andreas Kipar (Milan/Duisburg), the Luther Garden has an oval shape and will contain 270 trees from all continents. 230 additional trees will be planted in the area of the old fortification of the city of Wittenberg, so that there will be 500 trees altogether, symbolising the 500 years of the Reformation. The place in the centre of the garden will be paved in the shape of a Luther rose.

Several times, the measurements of the complex reflect the number 95, the number of Luther's theses. Paths and alleys connect the park with the world. Some of them lead to the city centre of Wittenberg, to the Castle Church and the City Church, which are other sites of the Reformation history. In-between, there are orchards with local fruit trees. The whole Luther Garden will be built in nine construction stages between 2009 and 2017.