The pilgrims’ pass serves as proof that its bearer is travelling in a traditional way (without motored assistance, i.e., on foot, on horseback, by bike, or wheelchair). It must be presented at the hostels on the way to be allowed to stay the night there.
Pilgrims can obtain a pass — for example, the Credentiale for the Camino de Santiago in Spain, or the identity card required for St. Olaf‘s Way — from the St Jacobi pilgrims’ office on presentation of appropriate ID, in exchange for a donation.
You can also obtain a small pilgrims’ pass, developed by the St. Jacobi pilgrims’ centre, for the pilgrimage routes in northern Germany.
Europe is criss-crossed by a network of pilgrimage routes, many used by pilgrims on the way to Santiago de Compostela. Others lead towards Rome, Assisi, Trondheim (Norway), Vadstena (Sweden), Viborg (Denmark) and Canterbury (United Kingdom). Alongside these, there are also a number of local routes and projects. In north Germany alone, there are eight pilgrimage routes:
- Via Baltica (Usedom, Lübeck, Hamburg, Bremen, Westphalia)
- Via Scandinavica (Jütland, Schleswig, Lübeck, Lüneburg)
- The Monk’s Trail (Glückstadt to Fehmarn)
- Jacobus Way (St. Jacobi-Hamburg, Hiffeld, Lüneburger Heider, Mariensee Abbey)
- Pilgrimage from Loccum to Volkenroda (on the trail of the Cistercians)
- Birgitta’s Way (Sweden, Wismar, Tempzin Monastery, southwards)
- Rehna-Ratzeburg monastery triangle
- Ecumenical pilgrimage “Auf und werde” (rise and become) with a different route every year.
There are good maps available for the Via Baltica and the Monks’ Way. The Lübeck-Hamburg map set and the new St. Jacobi-Hittfeld map are available from the pilgrims’ office and from St. Jacobi.