The Reformation and the early modern era

The Reformation and the early modern era

In the 16th century, the Reformation, Renaissance and Humanism ushered in a new world view. Martin Luther’s theses fell on fruitful soil along the Danube too. The citizens of the Free Imperial City of Regensburg demonstrated denominational independence when they joined the Reformation in 1542. However, as a result of the continuing presence of the bishop and monastery, the inhabitants remained denominationally divided. During the religious conflicts of the 17th century, many Protestant refugees sought refuge in the neutral free city. Certainly the best known of these was the astronomer Johannes Kepler, who, from 1612 onwards, was in the service of the Austrian ruling classes above the Enns, in Linz. Whenever his situation in Linz became dangerous, he betook himself up the Danube to Regensburg, where he also died in 1630. In Bavaria and in Austria, Lutheranism was unable to prevail against the Catholic Counter-Reformation. In contrast, under the protection of the Sultan, many Hungarians became Calvinists.

Owing to its trade fairs, Linz developed into the most important “storehouse on the Danube”. Under Emperor Rudolph II (1576–1612), the Linzer Schloss was enlarged to give the castle its present-day lavish Renaissance design. Today, its spacious rooms house the extensive collections of the Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum.

The Danube School
The Perpetual Diet of Regensburg