The Reformation spread quickly through song and personal bible lectures and Church tradition was scrutinized while quoting from the Bible. Various new communities of faith were formed. Huldrych Zwingli for instance introduced the theology of the “Reformists” and the “Anabaptists” practiced new forms of community. The Reformation took place in an academic network where ideas were exchanged through letter correspondence.

The reformation movement

In its initial phase, the Reformation was an urban event. Cities were places of humanism, and inhabitants were usually capable of reading. Protestant ideas often also corresponded to bourgeois mindsets. Rulers often embraced Reformation doctrine as a political opportunity.

Many of the imperial cities were surrounded by foreign dominations. By changing their faith, the imperial cities marked their independence, proving their autonomy vis-à-vis other powers. After the 1525 Peasants’ War, the princes made the Reformation their own concern.

  • 1520–1525

  • 1526–1531

  • 1532–1537

  • 1538–1542

  • 1543–1548

  • 1549–1554



Robert KluthNiels Reidel


Barbara MayerFabian Dinklage


Achterberg, Herbert: Luthers Reformation: Länder und Städte, in: Deutscher Kulturatlas; 3: Vom Humanismus zum Rokoko, hrsg. v. Gerhard Luedtke/ Lutz Mackensen, 3, 5 Bände, Berlin, 1928, 215.Die Territorien des Reichs im Zeitalter der Reformation und Konfessionalisierung: Land und Konfession 1500-1650, hrsg. v.Anton Schindling, Münster, 1990.Isaiasz, Vera/Lotz-Heumann, Ute/Mommertz, Monika/u. a.: Stadt und Religion in der frühen Neuzeit : soziale Ordnungen und ihre Repräsentationen, Frankfurt am Main, 2007.Moeller, Bernd: Reichsstadt und Reformation, Berlin, 1987.