German church to begin mass property sale as attendances slump

German church to begin mass property sale as attendances slump

With more people in Germany leaving the church and opting out of paying their Kirchensteuer (church tax), even the house of God is struggling to make rent. New figures from the Institute for German Economy (IW) have forecast that, considering inflation, the church’s revenue will sink to 11,3 billion by 2027.

German church to give up 40.000 properties

In Germany, property makes up a large part of the church’s wealth, but with around 67 percent of people in Germany in favour of scrapping the church tax, and record numbers leaving the church each year, even the lord of all lands is having to take stock of where he can scrape together newly missing funds.

Now, according to the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD) and the Catholic Association of German Dioceses (VDD) has announced that they plan to sell 40.000 units of its property by 2060 in order to plug the funding shortage. These 40.000 properties will predominantly be made up of parsonages and village halls.

According to the published paper, this will also include church buildings, some of which could be threatened with demolition. Since the 1990s, of the 1.200 churches which were given up by the EKD and VDD, 278 were demolished.

Denkmalschutz authorities want early cooperation with the church

With 80 percent of today’s churches holding Denkmalschutz (monument protection status), if these buildings are to be repurposed as housing or culture centres rather than demolished, what their protected status would mean in practice will have to be reassessed.

The EKD alone owns 21.000 churches, 17.000 parsonages and 13.000 community centres or village halls. While the fate of these locations remains uncertain, the German State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments is asking the church for early cooperation on the sell-off.

So far, authors of the churches’ published report, Adalbert Schmidt, member of the Protestant Higher Regional Church Council from Hanover, and Karl Schmiemann, legal advisor to the Catholic Archdiocese in Hamburg, have said that in individual cases, options for further use which preserve a church’s essence should be developed.

Thumb image credit: juerginho /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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