The special circumstances surrounding Wismar's town churches

The situation with regard to the allocation, administration and use of assets of the town's three main churches.

The fiduciary foundation Geistliche Hebungen (Ecclesiastical Funds)

For several hundred years, the churches of St. Nikolai, St. Marien and St. Georgen have characterized the skyline of the Hanseatic Town of Wismar. All three are closely linked to a fiduciary foundation known as the Geistlichen Hebungen (Ecclesiastical Funds). The foundation was set up by the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg in the mid-nineteenth century with the aim, amongst others, of maintaining and preserving the structure of the town's three main churches by means of the assets held by the foundation.

From 1832 until 1951, administration of the Geistlichen Hebungen was carried out - as provided for by law - under the responsibility of its two patrons, the mayor and his deputy. Since 1945, the Geistlichen Hebungen has been administered as an agency of the municipality and was later assigned to the Finance Department.

Further Information

Die Stadtkirchenstiftung zu Wismar (Town Church Foundation Wismar)

With the integration of the fiduciary fund assets of the Geistlichen Hebungen in the so-called  'public property' of the German Democratic Republic, the foundation and its associated trust order was terminated, its legal and practical basis defunct.

In order to be able to permanently guarantee the historical preservation of the town's churches in the future, the Bürgerschaft (Wismar's legislative assembly) passed a motion in April 2008 allocating land that was in the possession of Wismar's Geistlichen Hebungen and which until October 3rd 1990 (German Reunification Day) had been incorporated into the GDR's 'public property', to the Hanseatic Town of Wismar with the stipulation to return the aforementioned property assets at no cost to the foundation. Legal clarification regards the dissolution of Wismar's Geistliche Hebungen was provided in a legal opinion given in December 2008.

Further Information