Luther House

The Luther House was to be the scene of the reformer’s most important acts for over 35 years. Originally built as an Augustinian monastery, after 1508 it served as his home – and from 1525 it was also the home of his wife Katharina and their growing family. It was here that he had his theological breakthrough, here that he offered lectures to students from all over Europe, and here that he wrote his treatises that changed the world

Today, the Luther House is open to you as the world's largest museum dedicated to the history of the Reformation. It opened its doors to visitors back in 1883. The Lutherstube, Martin Luther’s living room, is still largely as it was when the reformer lived here, and it has allowed people from all over the world to be transported back to his time ever since.

Please note that due to a technical malfunction of the elevator we temporarily cannot offer you a barrier-free access to the Luther House. We apologize for any inconvenience!

ADdress

Luther House
Collegienstraße 54
06886 Lutherstadt Wittenberg

Exhibition
Martin Luther. life – work – Effect

The authentic site in which Luther lived and worked has always exerted a particularly strong pull. The Lutherstube is where the reformer's famous ‘Table Talks’ took place, while the refectory is where Luther’s relatives, guests and friends ate their meals. The head of the house composed his powerful treatises in his study located in an annex, the foundations of which – including the latrine – were not rediscovered until 2004.

The Lutherstube is the historic location in which Luther’s ‘Table Talks’ took place.

The other rooms in the Luther House are home to the exhibition ‘Martin Luther. His life – his work – his impact’, which features unique exhibits from the life of Luther and tells the story of his everyday family life, as well as of the impact of the historic figure Luther and his works down to the present day.

Here you can get a close look at Luther’s pulpit from the town church, from which he spoke to the people of Wittenberg, as well as his monk's habit and the panel of the Ten Commandments by Lucas Cranach. The ‘Gemeine Kasten’, a type of social fund for supporting the needy and a starting point for social changes in the time of the Reformation, can be seen, as can Luther’s Bible, many valuable manuscripts and prints, and countless paintings from Lucas Cranach.
 

Martin Luther in Wittenberg

The biographical tour of the ground and first floors offers you an overview of Luther's life. Much of this tour, which leads through all of the most important rooms in the house, is focused on Luther's Wittenberg years from 1508 to his death in 1546.
 

At home with Martin Luther

In the vaulted cellars you will be able to gain an impression of the everyday life of the Luther family. Countless written sources have provided us with a very detailed picture of the reformer’s household, which his wife Katharina von Bora ran like a small company in which the boarding fees paid by the students living and eating in the house were an important source of income.

Katharina von Bora ran the house like a small company.

In order to ensure that the home’s residents were provided with everything that they needed, Katharina oversaw extensive agricultural and horticultural activities. Models depict eight scenes in which you can see and hear what happened in Luther’s house. They help to bring the everyday life of the Luther family in their home, farm and garden to life.
 

Luther’s picture and Luther pictures

The portion of the exhibition on the second floor draws on an extensive collection focusing on Luther's reception in images ranging from 1546 to 1983: Luther in paintings large and small, busts of Luther, Luther on medals, memorial sheets and satirical graphics, Luther on cups and tins, not to mention Luther chairs, Luther on posters and Luther in film – it is a fascinating journey through the centuries as we follow the path of Luther.
 

Luther's Latrine

A building fragment unearthed on the south side of the house has revealed additional historical layers of the Luther house. In the summer of 2004, garden work resulted in the discovery of bricks belonging to the basement of an annex that has been completely preserved. The annex received worldwide publicity due to the fact that it housed Luther’s toilet. The foundation has now been uncovered and can be seen in the outdoor area all year long.

‘Black Monastery’, ‘Rear building of the Augusteum’, ‘Luther Hall’ and finally ‘Luther House’ – these various names tell the eventful story of more than 500 years of the history and use of the Luther House in Wittenberg.

Chronicle of the building’s history and use

In 1504, construction began on the Augustinian monastery. The completed south wing essentially corresponds to the present-day Luther House. It was given the name ‘Black Monastery’ as a result of the colour of the habits worn by the Augustinian monks.

Luther lived here as a monk starting in 1508. When the monastery was dissolved as a result of the Reformation, he initially continued to live here with a former fellow monk, and from 1525 he was joined here by his wife and his family.

The house was transferred to Luther in 1532. Use of the building as a home for the Luther family involved extensive alterations.

After Luther’s death in 1546, the university took over the building, converting it into a residence hall for the recipients of scholarships from the electors.

The front building with the side wing was built in the mid-1580s. In honour of the patron of the University, Augustus I of Saxony, it was named the ‘Augusteum’.

Friedrich August Stüler was commissioned to refurbish the building in 1844, and over the course of four decades it was extensively renovated in accordance with his plans.

From 1834 to 1937, the western end of the ground floor housed a Luther School.

In 1883, some of the rooms on the first floor with the ‘Lutherstube’ (Martin Luther’s living room) were made into a museum on the history of the Reformation that was open to the general public.

Successively larger areas of the house were devoted to museum purposes beginning in 1911.

This was followed by a thorough revamping in 1983, to commemorate the Luther Jubilee and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the museum known as ‘Luther Hall’.

In 1996, UNESCO designated the Luther House as a World Cultural Heritage site.

Most recently, Luther House was comprehensively renovated in 2001 and 2002 and extended through the addition of a modern entrance building (architects: Pitz & Hoh, Berlin). This building work testifies to a respectful approach to its status as a World Cultural Heritage site while offering a confident sequel to the story in a modern language of design. The new entrance building to the Luther House was awarded the Architecture Prize of the State of Saxony-Anhalt in 2004.

With the redesign of the building and of the permanent exhibition, the museum was renamed to ‘Luther House’ from the misleading ‘Luther Hall’.

Now half a millennium old, the Luther House continues to offer an authentic look at Martin Luther’s person and works right down to the present day. 

 
Zum Seitenanfang scrollen