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In Germany, many (catholic or protestant) church parishes have a so-called "Gemeindehaus" or "Gemeindezentrum" (literally: parish hall).

As a building, it looks like a meeting hall (and not like a typical church). Inside, it usually contains church offices, and various rooms where the parish activities (meetings etc.) can take place. Often, but not always, church services are also held in the Gemeindehaus. However, most parishes also have a "real" church (often right next to the Gemeindehaus), with the typical building features of a church.

How should I tag such a building? I think amenity=place_of_worship definitely applies (along with religion etc.) I am not sure about the building tag, though. I could just use building=church, but that feels wrong, as the building usually does not look like a church. Also, it may be confusing as many parishes have both a church and a Gemeindehaus, which would then be tagged identically.

Is there a tag for this? Even the German tag page for "place of worship" does not address this.

asked 08 Apr '12, 19:40

sleske's gravatar image

accept rate: 24%

If there is no service going on in the facility, it is not an amenity=place_of_worship. As there is a community coming together, it is an amenity=community_centre, which can be further qualified with community_centre=parish_hall or community_centre=church_hall if you like.

That prevents further key fragmentation, is religion-neutral for the high-level key, and amenity=community_centre is rendered in mapnik/carto already. The proposal for amenity=church_hall has been abandoned in 2012 and found only few taggers.

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answered 06 Oct '15, 18:13

P24's gravatar image

accept rate: 33%

edited 07 Oct '15, 00:37

Church Halls are not necessarily community centres as I would understand them; although some do have a community centre function, in which case they tend to describe themselves as such. Our local church hall is used for parish functions & otherwise is rented out for a variety of uses, but mainly for income to support the church.

(07 Oct '15, 10:16) SK53 ♦

Sounds like a clear case of amenity=community_centre to me. Even renting out rooms is a typical thing for community centred, operated by whomever.

(07 Oct '15, 11:49) P24

But not actually to community groups unless they guarantee to rent it weekly!

(07 Oct '15, 16:06) SK53 ♦

I'd go for the "main use" approach: if it's essentially a civic hall that just happens to be used for worship (i.e. it's not the actual parish church), then it's amenity=parish_hall. If it's the church, but it's also used a lot for other uses, that's amenity=place_of_worship. Where I live, it's understood that most churches have an area that constitute a "parish hall", which can be rented for various activities (that area may in fact be the church itself!). I'd still tag them as places of worship.

Remember also that "secondary" uses can be usefully covered by using a descriptive building= tag, and that in practice, you use any tags you like as long as it makes sense, so amenity:secondary= is a perfectly valid way to indicate it, even if it won't display on the map (but then no double features will ever display anyway if icons would be the mean to do it, and IIRC, there is no icon for parish halls).

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answered 10 Apr '12, 15:34

Circeus's gravatar image

accept rate: 7%

edited 10 Apr '12, 15:39


"if it's essentially a civic hall that just happens to be used for worship [...] then it's amenity=parish_hall." That seems wrong to me - "parish hall" is only used for halls run by a religious community. If it's a general civic hall, that's amenity=community_centre.

(12 Apr '12, 10:35) sleske

You write yourself: "Often, but not always, church services are also held in the Gemeindehaus.", if there are no religious services, then CLEARLY amenity=place_of_worship has no business being involved!

(12 Apr '12, 15:47) Circeus

There are 19 examples of amenity=parish_hall in OSM - to me, that sounds about right for what you describe.


And depending on what the building looks like and how it is described, amenity=church_hall (mentioned below) might be even better.

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answered 09 Apr '12, 20:37

SomeoneElse's gravatar image

SomeoneElse ♦
accept rate: 16%

edited 12 Apr '12, 08:44

Interesting idea. However, I don't think this will work, as many Gemeindehäuser are also used for church services, so they are definitely amenity=place_of_worship (and you can't have two values for the amenity tag). Hm...

(10 Apr '12, 12:48) sleske

Well, probably the most common way to have multiple values for a tag is to separate them with a semicolon. This doesn't mean that it'll render (which of course amenity=parish_hall is unlikely to anyway), or that data consumers will necessarily handle it.

However, personally I'd ask the question "is this place mostly a parish hall or mostly a place of worship?" and pick the most appropriate one. If it's mostly a place of worship, I'd tag it as that; if it's not, I wouldn't.

(11 Apr '12, 00:12) SomeoneElse ♦

Note there is also 80 uses of amenity=church_hall (plus a few of building=church_hall). I think "church hall" is clearer and less ambiguous. Many churches are not actually "parish churches".

(11 Apr '12, 01:17) Vclaw

I agree with vclaw and others that church_hall is better than parish_hall; I put together a feature proposal over on the wiki to centralise discussion about this. Your description of a Gemeindehaus matches perfectly my experience of parish halls and church halls in the US---not all denominations tend to use them, but they're pretty common. If you could put your experience and examples of Gemeindehäuser over at that'd be cool. :)

(04 Dec '12, 04:55) blahedo

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question asked: 08 Apr '12, 19:40

question was seen: 11,725 times

last updated: 07 Oct '15, 16:06

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum