Political unions, milestones related to deceased authors and the commemoration of one major religious event highlight the 2017 anniversary calendar for travel planning.
Germany will examine the Protestant Reformation that began in 1517 when Martin Luther tacked up his 95 theses on what he viewed as abuses by the Roman Catholic Church in Wittenberg. Among planned events are exhibits in Berlin, Eisenach and Wittenberg, beginning in April and May, that will examine the man, the times and the repercussions.
Canada marks its 150th anniversary of confederation with events and promotions. Entry fees for Parks Canada national parks and historic sites will be waived, and many celebrations will take place in the capital, Ottawa, including a festival on Canada Day, July 1, and a 10-week multimedia show in a subway tunnel this summer.
Finland will celebrate 100 years since declaring independence with events such as the construction of the SnowCastle in Kemi. From the end of January until early April, the attraction made of ice and snow will house a restaurant, a wedding chapel and a SnowHotel.
The U.S. Virgin Islands will mark the 100th anniversary of its transfer from the Danish West Indies to a U.S. territory. On Transfer Day, March 31, the islands of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix will hold parades and galas. A concert series will kick off the centennial in mid-February, then continue with crafts fairs and storytelling and folklore festivals.
Among bookish events, the 200th anniversary of English novelist Jane Austen's death will include exhibitions, tours and teas throughout England's southern Hampshire region where she lived and wrote novels, including Pride and Prejudice. In Winchester, 12 quotations from her novels, written on objects like benches, will appear only when it rains on a new temporary trail called Rain Jane, through May 31. Jane Austen Big Picnics will take place across Hampshire, and her former home, now Jane Austen's House Museum in Chawton, and Winchester Cathedral, where she is buried, will stage exhibits.
Laurapalooza 2017 will commemorate the 150th birthday of Little House on the Prairie author Laura Ingalls Wilder. Scholars, writers and historians will offer talks on her life and legacy from July 12 to 14 in Springfield, Mo.
At Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, Jonathan Swift 350, June 7 to 9, will explore the writings of the Gulliver's Travels author, with exhibits and lectures in the year of his 350th birthday.
Indianapolis has declared 2017 the Year of Vonnegut for native son Kurt Vonnegut, whose works include Slaughterhouse-Five. Events marking the 10th anniversary of his death include a spring move for the Kurt Vonnegut Museum Library into a building with more space for shows that will include a survey of banned books.
A big year in music will ring out across Nashville. Ryman Auditorium turns 125, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum turns 50. The Bluebird Cafe music club hits 35, and the Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival 25.