Gateway to a whole region

Wake up under the church sky, gather ingredients for dinner by wandering through herb meadows, and end the day at the communal table on the village square: HER(R)BERGSKIRCHEN offers guests a very special sleeping experience, combined with recurring events that promote everyday encounters and exchange among local residents. The four HER(R)BERGSKIRCHEN along the Rennsteig thus create impulses for the sustainable connection between devotion and tourism and establish new forms of social coexistence in the Thuringian Forest.

The HER(R)BERGSKIRCHEN were initiated in 2016 by the Neustadt-Altenfeld church association and the Berlin architecture firm studio etcetera in the context of the open call for ideas StadtLand:Kirche of the IBA Thuringia and the Evangelical Church in Central Germany (EKM). This was followed in 2017 by the initially experimental implementation of the hybrid usage idea in the Michaeliskirche Neustadt am Rennsteig, which creatively involved local people in the creation process, gave the entire community a boost, and finally created synergies in the region. In 2019, the HER(R)BERGSKIRCHEN became a project of the IBA Thuringia. In 2021, a LEADER project funding was granted to supplement the existing conversion in the Michaeliskirche with sanitary facilities and a multifunctional tea kitchen, as well as lockers for overnight guests. Based on the pilot project, which is now firmly anchored in the region and has received several awards and honors, a future-oriented development concept for the Thuringian Forest region was developed in recent years, which deliberately sets impulses against the increasing decline of public infrastructure and thus against the loss of everyday places of coexistence.

Herrbergskirche Neustadt am Rennsteig Innenaufnahme_Foto Thomas Müller
The HER(R)BERGSKIRCHE St. Michaelis in Neustadt am Rennsteig is a model project for further HER(R)BERGSKIRCHEN along the Rennsteig in the Thuringian Forest and has been an IBA project since March 2019. In 2020, the HER(R)BERGSKIRCHEN welcomed a new addition with the Luther Church in Tambach-Dietharz. In 2021, the Matthäuskirche in Spechtsbrunn followed, which will be offered as a HER(R)BERGSKIRCHE for the first time in summer 2022. In addition, the project process for the St. Katharina Church in Hirschberg an der Saale will begin in 2022.
Structural expansion in Neustadt am Rennsteig. The HER(R)BERGSKIRCHE now offers barrier-free sanitary facilities, a multifunctional kitchenette and lockers in the church hall.
Herrbergskirche_Tambach-Dietharz_IBA Thueringen Thomas Mueller.jpg
A look into the newly furnished tower room of the HER(R)BERGSKIRCHE Tambach-Dietharz. In the summer months of 2021, in addition to Neustadt am Rennsteig, a trial operation for the first overnight guests was launched here.
The place to sleep in St. Matthäuskirche Spechtsbrunn is not predetermined. In the rectory, guests are handed a folding bed that can be positioned anywhere in the baroque church interior. Picture: Marcus Glahn
Herbergskirche St. Katharina Hirschberg.jpeg
The church of St. Katharina in Hirschberg an der Saale can also be booked as a HER(R)BERGE since 2023. Picture: Marcus Glahn

The focus is always on the local actors who are committed to their places and link social and spatial potentials with a new model of sustainable tourism for the region through their actions. Inspired by the successful IBA project, other church communities in the region have embarked on the path of opening their buildings as accommodations for hikers and events. This was also the case in Tambach-Dietharz, where the potential of the Lutherkirche as a meeting and overnight stay location was translated into reality in 2020. The studio etcetera, together with the local church community, built new furniture for the church space, organized a film evening, and collected local stories. Since 2021, the HER(R)BERGSKIRCHEN in Spechtsbrunn and Hirschberg an der Saale have joined the already established locations to form a large project family. Since the start of the project, more than 700 people have used the unique overnight accommodation offer, including numerous guests from abroad. The HER(R)BERGSKIRCHEN see themselves as a door opener for further exploration of the region and thus create a new kind of regional attention for the nature and tourism landscape of the Thuringian Forest. At the same time, they contribute to the preservation of local building culture.

The idea for the HER(R)BERGSKIRCHEN emerged from the ›STADTLAND:Kirche 2017‹ ideas competition of the Evangelical Church in Central Germany (EKM) and the IBA Thuringia. The IBA project is one of seven model projects that emerged from the call for ideas. Since 2021, the project has been visible beyond the region through an online presence supported by the Thuringian Tourism Program, through which overnight stays in the HER(R)BERGSKIRCHEN can be booked.



69493 Hirschberg

HER(R)BERSKIRCHE Michaeliskirche
98701 Neustadt am Rennsteig

HER(R)BERGSKIRCHE Matthäuskirche
96515 Spechtsbrunn

99897 Tambach-Dietharz

Project Sponsors


IBA Project Manager

Ulrike Rothe


Zuwachs bei den HER(R)BERGSKIRCHEN: Kirche St. Katharina in Hirschberg/Saale
Zuwachs bei den HER(R)BERGSKIRCHEN: Matthäuskirche in Spechtsbrunn
Übernachtungssaison 2021
Bauliche Erweiterung der Her(R)bergskirche in Neustadt am Rennsteig
Übernachtungssaison 2020
Neue Her(R)bergskirche in Tambach-Dietharz erprobt
IBA Fachbeirat empfiehlt IBA Projektstatus für Her(R)bergskirchen
He(R)bergskirche erhält Förderung
Übernachtungssaison 2019
Her(R)bergskirche neues IBA Projekt
Übernachtungssaison 2018
Erste Ideenwerkstatt in der Michaeliskirche

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