This collection of essays examines the practical impact of religious change in Central and North Western Europe from the 15th to the 17th century. It focuses on the effects of reform on clergy, church resources, ecclesiastical patronage, education and poor relief. The title reflects the elementary conclusion that there was no one monolithic experience of ’Reformation’, that initiatives were taken for very different reasons, and that they displayed innovative as well as conservative features. While offering a great breadth of original research and subject matter, all authors devote particular attention to three main themes: the blend between continuity and change, the share of religious factors in socio-economic developments, and the identification of winners and losers. Taken together, the essays illustrate the scarcity of unambiguous trends, the tenacity of socio-economic structures, the modification of religious dogma by the ’real’ world, and the conspicuous benefits of religious change for the social élites.