CANCELLED - Reusing Churches. New Perspectives in a European Comparison

Herrenhausen Palace
Researchers and Professionals

SYMPOSIUM CANCELLED. The foundation will decide in due time if the symposium can be rescheduled at a later date. 

No Vacancy
Die Kirche St. Josef in Luzern ist heute ein Veranstaltungszentrum (Der MaiHof), in dem Konzerte, Theater, Vorträge, Familienfeste, Tanzveranstaltungen, Bankette, Tennisturniere und auch kirchliche Anlässe stattfinden (Foto: Priska Ketterer)
The Church of St. Joseph in Lucerne today is an event center (The MaiHof), in which concerts, theater, lectures, family celebrations, dance events, banquets, tennis competitions and also church events take place (Photo: Priska Ketterer)

Church buildings are important testimonies of cultural heritage that shape the image of cities and villages. As a result of current social changes, many church buildings in Europe can no longer be operated and maintained by church institutions. They are sold, rented, converted. The topic is complex and has so far been discussed mainly at local and regional level. For the first time, the Herrenhausen Symposium brings together experts from Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Great Britain with the aim of exchanging experiences, expanding the field of vision and developing new perspectives in European comparison.

The target audience are persons responsible in church, monument preservation and politics, academics, members of educational institutions and all those interested in the topic. The symposium addresses an expanded public, convinced that churches are public buildings that ultimately belong to the public. An important aspect of the symposium is the involvement of young scientists and young professionals as well as society stakeholders or volunteers that are active in this field.

The symposium will be held in German as well as in English. All presentations will be translated, from English in German and from German in English.

The program presented here (November 26 2019) is definite except a few titles of presentations and some of the introductory remarks to the sessions.

Herrenhausen Symposium
"Reusing Churches. New Perspectives in a European Comparison"
March 23 to 25, 2020
Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover, Germany

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A detailed program could be found under downloads.

Session I: The Perspective of Culture Studies, Ritual Studies and Theology
Session II: The Architectural and Urban Development Perspective
Session III: The Monument Protection Perspective
Session IV: The Perspective of Process Planning
Session V: The Perspective of Real Estate Business
Session VI: The Perspective of the Public
Session VII: The Perspective of the Rural Areas


"Kirche von morgen im Dialog planen. Möglichkeitsräume im Roderbruch", Results of a workshop with students of architecture and theology

"Fluch und Segen. Kirchengebäude im Wandel", 17 projects of the Museum der Baukultur Nordrhein Westfalen, Gelsenkirchen

"Land und Leute. Die Kirche in unserem Dorf", Wüstenrot Stiftung, Ludwigsburg


Tuesday, March 24, 2020: Liberale Jüdische Gemeinde, Hannover-Stöcken and Christuskirche, Hannover-Nordstadt (transfer with puplic transport)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020, following the meeting ca. 3:00 p.m.: bus excursion to 3 reused churches in Hanover

Travel Grants for Early Stage Researchers and Young Professionals

The application deadline expired on December 8, 2019.

The results and contributions of the PhD students, early postdocs and young professionals as well as society stakeholders or volunteers that are active in this field (e.g. architecture, religious studies, history and cultural studies, regional geography, cultural heritage preservation, sociology, real estate, politics and church-state policy) will be exhibited during the symposium. 


The symposium funded by the Volkswagen Foundation is organized by Prof. Kerstin Gothe, architect and urban planner DASL / SRL, architecture faculty at KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), Paul Post, theologian, Department of Culture Studies, School of Humanities and Digital Sciences, Tilburg University, and Prof. Dr. Johannes Stückelberger, art historian, Faculty of Theology, University of Bern.



There are no fees for attendance but registration is essential. If you would like to attend the symposium, please register by clicking on the registration link in the column on the right. 

Venue and public transport

The symposium is held at Herrenhausen Palace, a modern conference center in Hanover, Germany. You can reach the venue by tram: Take line 4 or 5 and get off at "Herrenhäuser Gärten".

Accommodation for participants

Please note that you are responsible for booking your accommodation. As Hannover is a city that hosts many fairs, we recommend booking a hotel as soon as you register. We have pre-booked rooms at the Congress Hotel am Stadtpark Hannover and Mercure Hotel Hannover City. Please find more information under downloads.


Please cancel your registration if you cannot attend the symposium. We can offer your place to another person if you cannot attend. Simply use the registration tool to cancel or send us an email.