New light on the Reformation

15. March 2017 | Nyborg Castle

Role-playing, historic bicycle tours, music, exhibitions, lectures. The Museums of Eastern Funen will cast light on the Reformation in Nyborg.

The Museums of Eastern Funen are pleased to announce a program of events i 2017 to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The old royal town’s importance in this case can’t be underplayed; the royal castle in the middle of the town was central to the implementation of the Reformation.

Reformation, 500 years

It is exactly 500 years since the German munk, Martin Luther, nailed his theses (complaints) up on the door of Wittenberg Church in protest against the Catholic Church, thereby starting the Reformation, that great upheaval of religion and society that took place in many northern European countries. The Museums of Eastern Funen are therefore offering a whole program of activities and arrangements to tell the story of the Reformation.

“We have checked how much Danish people in general know about the Reformation, and it turns out that most people only have a limited idea about the tumultuous period when faith and values were turned upside down. It has, nonetheless, left deep traces in Danish society. Even though it’s a big job to explain what happened, to make it understandable, we are doing our very best here in 2017,” said Erland Porsmose, director, the Museums of Eastern Funen.

Nyborg played a leading role in the Reformation

The museum will set a spotlight on Nyborg as a central place in the history of the Reformation, not just for Denmark, but for the emergence and existence of the Reformation as a whole. At that time, Nyborg was the royal residence town, and through the turbulent years in the early 1500’s, with religious conflicts, civil war, feuds between dynasties and much more, Nyborg was in the thick of it.

After his victory in the last Danish civil war, the so-called Counts’ Feud, King Christian III, from his residence at Nyborg, supported his close friend Martin Luther and his aides, both politically and financially. Christian III was Europe’s strongest reformed head of state, and without his support and influence, the Reformation would have had a much harder time. After the Reformation was established, the Danish king renovated and expanded Nyborg Castle and town, with the royal town becoming the Reformation’s first real setting. Wittenberg in Germany was the spiritual centre of the Reformation, but Nyborg was its worldly centre.

“Not many people know about that side of the Reformation, so we will take advantage of the anniversary to cast some light on the subject. We will do it through the many activities that will be held throughout the year, including publications on their way that tell about this little-known but important chapter in Danish history,” said Janus Møller Jensen, department head at Nyborg Castle, the Museums of Eastern Funen.

This program has been made possible by large grants from the Danish Pariament’s Reformation Committee and by the Municipality of Nyborg.

Discover the Reformation from your bicycle

Until Oct.31, the very day that Luther hung his protest papers up in Wittenberg, the museum will present a cavalcade of activities about the Reformation. There will be a lecture series in the spring in the great hall of Nyborg Castle, including Denmark’s leading expert on the period, Martin Schwarz Laustsen, who will tell about Luther’s aide, Johannes Bugenhagen’s, working visit to Nyborg.

On April 7, the major exhibition, “Faith!” will open at Nyborg Castle. In addition to seminars, exhibitions, lectures and many other activities, there will also be a focus on the music of the Reformation period. It will not only be possible to explore the castle and the town with the help of guided tours on a Reformation theme; the whole surrounding area will be opened up to visitors and residents alike. During the warmer months, there will be a Reformation bike route, developed by the museum.

This route will take cyclists through the lovely landscape of eastern Funen, to exciting historic sites, each one revealing a story about the Reformation.

In cooperation with Roed’s and Restaurant Teglværksskoven, a Reformation menu has been composed, where the new Nordic kitchen gets inspired by recipes from the Renaissance and creates new taste impressions. The concept includes package tours for bicycle tourists from Denmark and elsewhere, involving the largest hotels in Nyborg, in collaboration with Destination Nyborg.


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