Say, what do you think of religion?

Jena/Weimar

Retrace the famous "Gretchen question" from Goethe's Faust in Jena and Weimar - a once-in-a-lifetime chance. The culture city of Weimar and the university town of Jena are just 25 km from one another. They have a long history of close connections that goes even further back than the start of the Reformation.

The culture city of Weimar offers special locations where you can seek out answers to the "Gretchen question". These include the Weimar St. Peter and Paul city church (Herderkirche), the Duchess Anna-Amalia Library, the German National Theatre, the Bauhaus Museum and Nietzsche's House. The programme leads visitors to one place, however, where it seems God is nowhere near: the former Buchenwald concentration camp in front of the city gates.

The university town of Jena was and is the starting point for many spiritual and scientific developments. Luther would enter into discussions with students in Jena – and even today, theology and philosophy continue to enter into exchanges with natural sciences and society in general. Renowned thinkers like Schiller, Hegel and Fichte taught in Jena. The early romantics such as the Schlegels, Brentano and Tieck treasured this town that is distinguished by colourful and social goings-on. The work of Abbe, Zeiss and Schott laid the foundations for Jena's technological development.

The Kirchentag begins on 25 May 2017 with the ecumenical Ascension Day service in Weimar. The programme includes Bible works, podium discussions and lectures, as well as music and theatre presentations leading up to the final celebration in Jena. The question of the present and future of religion will be a focus of the programme in Jena. Next to those locations in the town centre is the park, with its enticing name "Paradise" that will offer an exciting and youth-oriented programme in greener surroundings. As well as the church actors in both towns, partners also include, amongst others, the Klassik Foundation, the German National Theatre in Weimar, the Planetarium, and the Romantics House in Jena, as well as the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora memorial foundation.

No matter if it's on the welcome evening in cosy pub groups in the image of Anna Amalia, in the Herder House, in the youth centre, at the University of Jena, or in the political scene in the Weimar Triangle. Openness, family, accessibility, and a desire for discourse will be given particular attention in Jena and Weimar.