Luther House, Wittenberg

The Luther House (German: Lutherhalle or Lutherhaus) in Wittenberg, Germany, is the most important and interesting Reformation museum in Germany. It is located in the Augustinian monastery where Luther lived, first as a monk and later as owner with his family. In addition to the well-preserved rooms that were used by Luther, the museum contains an unsurpassed collection of Reformation manuscripts and artifacts.

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History of the Luther House

The Augustinian monastery of Wittenberg, at which Martin Luther was a monk, was dissolved at the outset of the Reformation. Part of it was made into a residence hall for students and the rest was given to Luther as a family home.

This building hosted several important events in Luther's life, not the least of which is his conversion from fearful monk to confident preacher of "justification by faith alone."

Later, the Luthers' living room was the setting of the famous conversations held with university students, recorded in Table Talk beginning in 1531. It was also from here that Martin and Katie Luther's wedding procession left for the nearby City Church of St. Mary.

What to See at the Luther House

Today, Martin Luther's house is well-preserved as a museum dedicated to the reformer and the Reformation. You can explore the Lutherstube (Luther's Room), a grand hall with a coffered wooden ceiling and Renaissance tiled oven, and the smallish lecture hall where Luther taught up to 400 students at a time.

In the courtyard is the ornate Katharinenportal (Katharina's Door), which was a birthday gift from Luther's wife, a former nun, in 1540.

The Lutherhalle (Luther Museum) boasts the world's most important collection of objects related to the history of the German Reformation, including Luther's own desk, the pulpit from which he preached at the Stadtkirche, his teaching robe, and first editions of his books. For Luther pilgrims and history buffs, there is no better collection of relics.

The museum also includes an interesting section on Reformation art, with portraits of Luther and propaganda work by Lucas Cranach the Elder and the Younger. Of special note is Cranach the Elder's famous didactic painting of The Commandments.

Just down the street is the Luther Oak (Luthereich) marking the spot where Luther burned a papal bull of excommunication in 1520.

Quick Facts on the Luther House

Site Information
Names:Luther House · Luther House and Museum · Lutherhalle · Lutherhaus
Country:Germany
Categories:historical sites; museums; Reformation history sites; World Heritage Sites; historic houses
Dates:16th C
Status: museum
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:51.863914° N, 12.652522° E
Address:Collegienstrasse 54
Wittenberg, Germany
Phone:03491/498610
Website:www.martinluther.de
Hours:Nov-Mar: Tue-Sun 10am-5pm
Apr-Oct: Tue-Sun 9am-6pm
Closed Mondays
Lodging:View hotels near the Luther House
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

References

  1. Personal visit (April 11, 2008).
  2. Signs in the museum.

More Information

Exterior of the Lutherhaus (Luther House), a former Augustinian monastery in Wittenberg. © Holly Hayes
Exterior of the Lutherhaus (Luther House), a former Augustinian monastery in Wittenberg. © Holly Hayes
The Katharinenportal (Katherine's Door), a birthday gift from Luther's wife, the former nun Katherine von... © Holly Hayes
The Luther family living room, where the conversations recorded by students in "Table Talk" (starting in 1531)... © Holly Hayes
Original portrait of Martin Luther from the workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1528. © Holly Hayes
Original portrait of Katherine von Bora from the workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1528. © Holly Hayes
Luther's prayer book, published in 1522. This is one of only two surviving original copies from this date. © Holly Hayes
The earliest known copy of Luther's hymn, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," first published in 1529. This copy... © Holly Hayes
Close-up of Martin Luther's robe, made around 1517. © Holly Hayes
Wooden mug of the early 16th century with a silver mounting of 1694. An admirer of Luther added the mounting.... © Holly Hayes

Map of the Luther House, Wittenberg

Below is a location map and aerial view of the Luther House. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.