German Language Blog

Religionen in Deutschland – Religions in Germany Posted by on Jan 9, 2012 in Culture, Traditions

At the end of the year 2011, I posted an article called „Some simple fatcs about Germany“. While doing the research for this article, I discovered some other interesting facts about Germany that I didn´t know before though I´m living here since I was born.

One of them was about religions. For not being very religiös (religious) myself, I normally don´t care much about religious topics. But when I read about the spreading of the different religions, this sounded quite interesting to me.

So, to come to a point, we have countless religions respectively subassembly groups or Abspaltungen (split-offs) of them. The biggest main religion is das Christentum (Christianity). Out of this main religion there are also the most split-offs. Take a look:

– Römisch-katholische Kirche (Roman Catholic Church)
– Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (Protestant Church of Germany)
– Orthodoxes Christentum (Orthodox Christianity)
– Neuapostolische Kirche (New Apostolic Church)
– Zeugen Jehovas (Jehovah´s Witnesses)
– Baptisten (Baptists)
– Mennoniten (Mennonites)
– Selbständige Evangelische-Lutherische Kirche
– Pfingstler
– Siebenten-Tags-Adventisten
– Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzten Tage (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)
– Altkatholische Kirche
– Christliche Wissenschaft
– Anglikaner (Anglicans)

Beside Christianity we also have Islam, das Judentum (Jewry), Hinduismus (Hinduism) and Buddhismus (Buddhism) in Germany.

Here are some numbers of the strongest religions in Germany:

Konfessionslos 28.214.000 34,60%
Römisch-katholische Kirche 24.909.332 30,50%
Evangelische Landeskirchen 24.194.986 29,50%
Islam 4.000.000 4,88%
Griechische-Orthodoxe Kirche 450.000 0,55%
Neuapostolische Kirche 359.833 0,44%
Rumänisch-Orthodoxe Kirche 300.000 0,36%
Serbisch-Orthodoxe Kirche 250.000 0,31%
Buddhisten 245.000 0,30%
Juden 200.000 0,24%
Russisch-Orthodoxe Kirche 180.000 0,22%

Die Missionierung (proselytization) took place from the 6th to the 10th century. Whereas Protestant reformation began in the 16th century with Martin Luther (1483-1546). The interesting thing is, before World War 1, approximately 60% of the Bevölkerung (population) in Germany was affected by the Protestant Church. Nowadays, the two main religions have almost the same number of members. The Roman Catholic Church even has a slight Vorsprung (advance).

The orthodox churches came with the immigrants. Most of them were coming from eastern countries like Greek, Serbia, Russia, Bulgaria…

Jehovah`s Witnesses were founded in the USA and exists in Germany since 1903.

Islam has its own Untergruppen (subassembly groups) as well (Sunnites, Shiites, Alevites and even further ones). Most of the people in Germany with an islamic background have turkish roots.

Most of the Jews living in Germany have their origin in Eastern Europe. Nowadays we have approximetaly 200.000 of them in Germany. There are Jewish communities in Germany since the 1st centruy, so this is the oldest Glaubensgemeinschaft (denomination) that we have here.

Well, as far as I can overlook this, almost every religion is somehow represented in Germany. But also a third af the population is konfessionslos (undenominational), that means without a certain religion. In my optinion this makes people diverse and interesting. As long as everybody stays tolerant and respects other persuasions, it is a great way to do so.

Some vocabulary to this post:

religiös – religious
die Abspaltung – split-off
das Christentum – Christianity
die Römisch-katholische Kirche – Roman Catholic Church
die Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland – Protestant Church of Germany
das Orthodoxes Christentum – Orthodox Christianity
die Neuapostolische Kirche – New Apostolic Church
die Zeugen Jehovas – Jehovah´s Witnesses
die Baptisten – Baptists
die Mennoniten – Mennonites
die Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzten Tage – Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
die Anglikaner – Anglicans
das Judentum – Jewry
der Hinduismus – Hinduism
der Buddhismus – Buddhism
die Missionierung –  proselytization
die Bevölkerung – population
der Vorsprung – advance
die Untergruppe – subassembly group
die Glaubensgemeinschaft –  denomination
konfessionslos –  undenominational

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About the Author: jan

My name is Jan and I live in the south west of Germany. My profession is being a project manager at a company that creates digital media (first of all internet related things). This is my job since over a decade so I´m quite familiar with the web and its tools. Whereat today almost every school kid does. But that´s one of the main reasons why nowadays there are quasi no more limits in the internet and so it can be used for all imaginable types of things. For example learning languages! And that´s where we are at the moment. I first got in touch with Transparent Language when my family and I used to live in France a couple of years ago. I just had a break from work and by coincidence I produced some cultural videos in French. A few months later the whole blogging thing came up and I was lucky to be a part of it. So now my (second) job is to feed you with information, exercises, vocabulary, grammar and stories about Germany and German language. For being a passionate videographer I´m trying to do this more and more by videos. If you have any wishes or needs of topics that should be treated here, please don´t hesitate to contact me via a comment field. I´m open to your suggestions (as long as they are not too individual) and will try to satisfy your needs.


  1. Martin Keller:

    I would think that the vast majority of those affiliated with the Landeskirchen rarely, if ever, attend church. They would be Christian in name only (nominal). I understand that fewer that 10% of members are in worship service on any given sunday.

  2. jan:

    Martin, I guess you´re absolutely right!

  3. Baron Paul Von Stache:

    My ancestors were called Alt Lutherische. On my fathers side they came from Schlesien. On my mothers side they came from Pommern. Does this denomonation no longer exist in Germany?

  4. jan:

    As I can see, they are now combined as “Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche”.

  5. Leslie B:

    Ach Gott vom Himmel sieh darein! What a sad state of affairs that there are growing “unchurched” people…Martin Luther’s reformation was supposed to bring up a strong Christian faith in God. I suppose Christian churches have lost sight of that so no wonder people think religion is petty. But that shouldn’t mean to totally abandon God! Just a concerned Christian here. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Martin Keller:

    In 1817 the Prussian king forced the Lutherans and the Calvinists to merge into one church, mixing two incompatible religious points of view. The current Evangelische “Protestant” churches in Germany are descendants of this “Prussian Union”. The Old Lutherans refused to go along, and some emigrated to America, and formed the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Those in Germany formed an Independent non state church,(Selbstandige Evangelische Lutherische Kirche, SELK). Authentic Lutheran churches will include the word “Evangelische” in their name, but by that they mean they are Evangelical, that is, focused on the Gospel, not meaning Protestant. This word is used in the united states by some protestant groups that are conservative and fundamentalistic.

  7. Peter B.:

    The Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzten Tage is not a split off group.

  8. Martin Keller:

    Peter B.: The Latter Day Saints, also known as Mormons, have a very different theology from Christians who maintain that Christ’s Church continued after His death and resurrection, as He said in Matthew 16:18.