The Luther500 Festival

The Luther500 Festival is a seven-day cultural-immersion experience that brings the Reformation to life as you serve, learn, and celebrate in the places where Martin Luther did the same 500 years ago. This pilgrimage to Germany will help revitalize schools, congregations, and personal faith journies as participants come face to face with the breadth and importance of the Reformation, make new friends, connect with their heritage, and experience first hand how Church history can be a whole lot of fun.
How Will You Celebrate the Reformation Jubilee?

In 2017, you have the choice of three different weeks to accommodate your group's schedule.  All three festival weeks, May, June and October have the same content -- full of insight and discovery, new friends, and plenty of fun.

Welcome to three Festivals in 2017

Questions & Answers

About the Festival  |  Registration for the Festival  |  What to Know about Germany 

What does "Luther500" mean?


The phrase “Luther500” commemorates the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran reformation. It was in 1517 that Dr. Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of the Castle church in Wittenberg (right next to our Festival!). The year 2017 will be the event year - 500 years after. Already now Germany runs a big program called “Luther Decade” facing to the official celebrations in 2017, and the Luther500 Festival is a part of it. But you know and we know: The Lutheran reformation is not something what happened on one day. In fact in Winter 2010/2011 as we planned the first Festival, it was 500 years since Luther was a pilgrim in Rome. And more anniversaries will come up like 500 years translation of the Bible, 500 years Small Catechism, 500 years Augsburg Confession… So “Luther500”, invented by Terra Lu Travel, stands for all this events to remember. And that’s why the Luther500 Festival will take place every other year - as God wills - even after 2017.

Who organizes the Festival?


The Luther500 Festival is presented by LOST AND FOUND and organized locally with their German partner Terra Lu Travel. Michael Bridges and George Baum of LOST AND FOUND as well as the founder and owner of Terra Lu Travel Rev. Christian Utpatel are rooted in the Lutheran church and have a long term experience with gatherings, festivals, and other events. On site in Wittenberg many other institutions are involved like the local churches and church organisations, museums, businesses, business associations, and others. Many persons of very different backgrounds are involved to provide the best experience. Read more: > Who Does the Festival?


Registration for the Festival

How can I register, or change my registration?


You can easily register for the Festival by creating an account in our online registration system. By signing in again you also later change your registration or cancel (which would be very sad, but it would work. For more explanations in details see the little videos at > Help

Where will we sleep at the Festival?


Accommodations for the Festival will be of two varieties.

The Conference Center in Wittenberg: Built in 2007 it has nice and modern beds and conference rooms - since it is a converted part of the Castle in Wittenberg, it is right next door to the Castle church and the door where Martin Luther posted the 95 thesis! Sleeping rooms have 2- 6 beds, all with a private bathroom. The most special location of the House is the Lutherkeller with original set equipment from the Luther movie!
Hotels in Wittenberg: These are comfortable tourist hotels throughout town within easy walking distance to all of the activities.

When you register for the festival you will book your housing separate from the registration fee. It's
490 Euro for the registration fee
+ the housing of your choice
+ add ons like airport shuttles and additional nights of your choice.

For a detailed explanation about housing see the page > Housing Options.

What is the difference between a 2 people room that is listed "1+1" versus a "Double"?



A “double-bed” room consists of two beds which are put together to make couples feel more comfortable. In Germany every person staying in a hotel or guest house has to have a single bed. If you want to be in a room with your spouse, and have the habit of sleeping close, you will have one large bed (sometimes it's just like two beds together). This kind of room is marked with "2" in our registration system.

If you want to be in a room with your friend, and are not in the habit of sleeping close, you'll get a room with two separate beds (and sometimes there is just a coffee table between the beds). This kind of room is marked with "1+1" in our registration system.

For a detailed explanation about housing see the page > Housing Options.

What are the details of the medical insurance that is included?



We have an insurance with the Europäische Reiseversicherung (ERV). This covers medical insurance for all festival participants who are not citizen of the European Union and do not need a visa for travelling into Germany / the Schengen countries. In short: It covers festival participants from the USA, Canada, Australia, and similar countries.

(EU citizen are covered by their regular health insurance in all EU countries anyway. Participants who need a visa need a health insurance with the visa application.)

If you fall ill or have an accident during the festival (or a post-trip you booked with the festival), the insurance we will pay the costs for any necessary treatment and aids in the host country. It does not matter whether you receive in-patient or outpatient treatment. The insurance organises your return transport home with medically adequate means and will bring back your luggage. There is no excess and no age limit. The insurance provides a 24/7 hotline which also helps with translation between the doctor and the patient.

Please contact festival staff in case you need medical help, and they will know what to do. In case of an emergency: Call the ambulance, and they will help you.

For more details > open this pdf. Don't care about the tariffs mentioned - it's paid with your festival registration.

Is there any transportation to/ from airports to Wittenberg?



The closest airport is Berlin Tegel TXL, or you may use Frankfurt FRA or even any other airport to fly to Europe.

Your transportation to and from Wittenberg is not included in your festival arrangements, but airport shuttles with motor coaches are offered from and to Berlin and Frankfurt airport. You can book a ticket for an airport shuttle as an "add on" with your registration.

Shuttles on Monday, the arrival day:

Shuttles leave from Berlin TXL at 11am and 1pm. Travel time Berlin to Wittenberg: approx. 1.5 hours.

Shuttles leave from Frankfurt at 12 noon. Travel time Frankfurt to Wittenberg: approx. 5.5 hours

Please book a flight which lands at least 1 hour prior to shuttle departure to allow enough time for customs!

If you can't make it for our motor coach shuttles, the best way to get to Wittenberg from Berlin is by booking your private shuttle. Book online with our partners at > shuttle-pool.com
You may also use shuttle pool if you land in Berlin SXF and need to get to TXL to get on one of the motorcoaches.

If you land in Frankfurt but can't get there on time, the best way to get to Wittenberg is > taking the train.

Shuttles on Sunday, the departure day:

Coaches are supposed to leave from Wittenberg at about 1 pm. Travel time Wittenberg to Berlin: approx. 1.5 hours. Travel time Wittenberg to Frankfurt: approx. 5.5 hours

We don't take liability for missed flights - please allow enough time to make your flight in case of traffic delay.

Whether you arrive early or your flight leaves the next morning you may want to book a hotel close to the airport. Use these links:

> Hotel Berlin Airport

> Hotel Frankfurt Airport

NOTE: If you take any of the post-Festival Trips to Prague, Bavaria, or Berlin you do NOT need a shuttle from Wittenberg to the airport. In this case your airport shuttle is included in your extension trip, and you will fly out from Berlin, Prague, or Munich.

If you land at any othr airport in Europe, taking > the train is the most easy and fun to get to Wittenberg.

How do I set up airline bookings for the Festival?


To arrange your flights you may contact any flight broker or travel agent. Or just use the airline you always use. But especially if you want to set up air travel for your group you will be happy to get the help of professionals. We recommend our friends at > The Air Travel Group.  When being in touch with them don't forget to mention the "Luther500 Festival" and they'll know where you need to go.
How can I pay the Festival invoice?


After you finished your registration process you'll receive an invoice. You do not have to pay during the registration process. Once your registration is confirmed and you got your invoice you can pay the deposit, further installments, and the final balance as the Festival gets closer.

You can choose paying by credit card, online wire, or check. To pay by credit card you can simply use our Online Payment tool which allows you to pay any amount any time. Simply type in your invoice number (so that we know where this payment belongs to) and the amount you like to pay.

You can find the Online Payment tool at "Service" > Pay Online.

If you like to pay by wire or check open this pdf to get all details: > Payment Info (pdf)

We come as a group: Do we have to pay as a group, or can each group member pay their part individually?


After registering your group you'll receive one invoice for the entire group booking. The Festival payment tool allows as many payments from as many sources as you like. This means that it would work that every group member just pays their part into the total balance of the group, using the Festival's payment tool. But it would be crucial that everybody includes the correct invoice number, otherwise it would be just imposssible for the festival office to match the incoming payments with the correct invoices. The group's invoice will list the paid amounts. But we ask for your understanding that the festival office - over the next months until 2017 - will not be able to report back to the group leader in detail who paid what and for whom (and if the uncle included half of the costs for his niece).

In short: It would be much more easy for both the group leader and the festival office if all payments are done as a group payment. Or, as possible variation, if the group leader gathers the credit card info from his people and processes the payments for everybody.

I have some who want to go with my group but need gluten free food or want to have it vegetarian or vegan. Are there going to be food options available?


Sure, no problem. All meals will be in buffet style and offer different options, including gluten free and vegetarian. Welcome to the Festival!
Can I rent a bicycle for the Festival so I do not have to walk so much?


Yes! It was an idea of 2011 participants that we should offer bikes for rent. It does not only help you to get easily to the festival venues (almost all of them in the traffic-free inner city), but also allows you to do a few side trips like to the Elbe river banks or the Hundertwasser school. Bicycles will be available for rent on site in Wittenberg. There is a small charge per day, but if you like bicycling it is well worth it. The bikes come with locks and most have baskets.

Additionally we also offer a bike trip as one of the recreation workshops. You do not need to rent a week-long bicycle if you just want to join this one bike trip - we’ll have some bicycles extra and do not need pre-registration.

What to Know about Germany
What is the time difference between the USA and Germany?



Germans are awake in the morning when America is still sleeping. That’s because the earth is a ball and moves. If you want to know what the time is in Germany just add some hours to your time: PST + 9 hours, so 8:00 am in Los Angeles is 5 pm in Wittenberg; MST + 8 hours; CST + 7 hours and EST + 6 hours.

If it happens that you live in Australia you are the most ahead – even earlier than the Germans. Subtract eight hours when you live in Sydney. And if your home is Central or Southern Africa it’s very easy: Germans use your time!

What do Germans eat?



Hamburgers with Pommes (that’s what they call French Fries). Or Pizza. When you are in a hurry after school a Döner Kebap is most popular. And sometimes Germans even eat Bratwurst. Traditionally there are three meals at home: Breakfast, Mittagessen and Abendbrot. The Mittagessen used to be the main and warm meal, while the Abendbrot as the name for all German speakers suggests, is “Evening Bread,” some slices of Sausage and Cheese with bread.

Our friend Christian also remembers that at his home Kaffeetrinken was very important. Regardless of how many stresses the family has had, at about four in the afternoon the family meets for a short break with Coffee and a cake. In the modern daily life there might be no time anymore for all those dinners. German teenagers leave home in the morning with a donut on the run and eat a Döner during the day. But as soon as the Germans have a free Sunday or are on vacation, they immediatly turn back to the traditional order. That’s also why a good breakfast is part of every hotel booking in Germany.

How do Germans tell the temperature?


Germans measure temperatures in Celsius, which sounds surprisingly less German than Fahrenheit. The freezing point is 0 °C. This means that a normal nice summer day may be 25 °C in Germany, which is 77 F.
What currency do the Germans use?


Like most countries in the European Union, Germany uses the Euro. The Euro comes in many denominations. The symbol used is € . The larger the denomination, the larger the size of bill; and each denomination is in a different color. Coins have different sizes as well, and come as 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 Cent and 1 and 2 Euro.
Can I use my phone in Germany?


For taking photos, yes. For a wifi device where there is wifi, yes. If you use your phone for making calls, then, yes, if it’s a triband cell phone. BTW: the Germans call it a “Handy.” We can’t tell you if your cell is a triband. Find out in the manual, or ask your dealer. But even if it works it might be extra expensive to use it. So why not limit the time you use the phone? Just text your family that you arrived well, and enjoy your time with open eyes and free hands in Germany!
Is there electricity in Germany?


Ah, yes. Parts of this website were actually created with German electricity. The “Allgemeine Elektriziäts Gesellschaft AEG” (General Electricity Company), founded in 1887, was in the business of electric light and vacuum cleaners (and much more). Werner von Siemens created the first electric train in 1882.

However, today Germany uses 220 Volt instead of 110 Volt electricity. Most devices, like the charger of your iPhone, should handle both; but it is best to make sure before you try it. If not you will need a transformer (converter) for all electrical appliances. Otherwise your mp3 player might run crazy. In any case you will need an adapter since German plugs look different. Buy a transformer and a set of adapters before you leave home. Be sure to get adapters that go with the transformer because many European receptacles are recessed.

Can I arrive early or stay longer?



Yes, of course! We offer post trips after the Festivals. Check them out at > Post-Festival Tours

If you bring a group and want to do a pre- or post-trip with your group it can be arranged in advance through our in-country ground travel partner Terra Lu Travel.

So, for example, if you’d like to add two extra days and travel along the Rhine, including a river cruise, you might fly home from Frankfurt rather than from Berlin. Perhaps you’d like to enjoy the sites of Bavaria and travel south to Munich for a few days, flying home from that city. The options are many, but our travel partners will work with your group or family to make the trip enjoyable, memorable, easy and affordable. Contact Christian Utpatel to discuss details.

Will I have jet lag?



If you have traveled through several time zones jet lag can make you tired after you arrive at the Festival. Some people are more susceptible to it than others, and some people never even notice it. Here are some suggestions how to get in Festival mode as quickly as possible:

Try to get some sleep in the plane when you are traveling. Use ear plugs and a sleep mask.
Change the time on your watch and the cell phone to the German time, don’t think about what time it is at home.
Do not go to sleep when you arrive — go to bed at your usual time.
Drink plenty of water and avoid heavy foods.

Within a day or so you will find that your body has adjusted.

Will anyone speak English? (Can I learn German?)



The official language at the Festival will be English since we will have guests from different countries. When you meet with Wittenbergers outside the Festival events most of the young people speak English, since they learn it at school (and know it as well as one knows what one learns in school….). It is no problem to speak English with high-school students. Older people might have some problems with English, especially in the Wittenberg area where they learned Russian in school at the time of the German separation. However, you can learn a few phrases and words while in Germany, or a lot if you choose. In any case, you may want to say “Danke schön” on occasion. Locals will know you’ve been to a LOST AND FOUND concert if you greet them with, “Stein Auf.”



Start registration:  May 29- June 4, 2017  |  June 19- 25, 2017  |  October 2- 8, 2017