Luther and the princes? – the princes and Luther! The Hohenzollerns were amongst the most powerful princes of the Holy Roman Empire in the Early Modern period. How did they react when Luther, Zwingli and Calvin brought them to the crossroads and asked them the all-important question: what do you believe in? The decisions they had to make were lonely ones – with repercussions for thousands of subjects in Franconia, Brandenburg and Prussia in the period between the Reformation and the Enlightenment.

In an impressive display, the special exhibition “Crossroads” examines the roles played by the different religious confessions in the life of one of the great European dynasties. Unique manuscript documents, precious examples of the arts of book-binding, goldsmithing and textile manufacture, and copies of Luther’s famous Ninety-Five Theses, printed in 1517, make tangible the context in which these decisions were made and the factors which affected them, and thus give new insights into an exciting chapter of European cultural history. Around 160 exhibits from institutions belonging to the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz and some 40 items from external lenders will be on display on the ground floor of Schloss Köpenick.

We are very grateful to the Protestant Reformed Parish Church of Berlin-Köpenick for opening the former palace church to visitors as part of the exhibition tour. Normally only accessible for religious services and special events, the Schlosskirche can thus be included in the exhibition as the only authentic survival of a Hohenzollern place of Protestant worship in Berlin.