I always wondered how other countries manage to fund Cathedrals (as well as effecient cheap train systems). I was told that in France they essentially have the same status as Museums and are funded accordingly.
Further to this I note the latest review of Canterbury (by a Brit) comparing (unfavourably!!) the entry cost(s) there with the free entry at Aachen ("Visited Aachen cathedral last Sunday, open and welcoming to all ... and then Canterbury the next day. Judging by the way it is difficult to even walk round the cathedral without parting with a substantial amount of money one may conclude that it is run by a firm of accountants or bankers."
The entry fees for Canterbury are £10.50/ €13+ (valid for 12 months). Westminster Abbey is a massive £18.00 (!!), York charges £10.00, Winchester is £7.50 (also for 12mths) whilst Durham is free (Donation requested) and Lincoln allows free visits to the main nave etc. So - a variety of practices.
Not all German Cathedrals are "free to enter" - last year we found that Naumberg charged €6.50 - but, in general, it does seem that charging for visitors to enter the main structure (excluding towers, treasuries, crypts etc) is more likely to be free in Germany than in UK.
A few comparisons from other countries (all for main building only)
Notre Dame - Free
Reims - €7.50
Rouen - Free
Strasbourg - Free
Milan - Free
St Peter's Basilica Vatican - Free
Burgos - €4.00
Santiago de Compostela - Free
Evora - €1.50
Nidaros Trondheim - 70NOK (€8.50)
Ribe - Free
The way in which Churches are funded varies significantly across countries of course and this presumably plays a major part in how much money churches have to raise "at the door"
a. "Church Tax". Many European countries operate these. Wiki says that 70% of German church income comes from the tax. In Denmark the government gives the church 13% of its total income from general taxation so even atheists have to pay!!.
b. State Ownershp (and funding) of buildings. As I understand it every church built before 1905 in France is owned by the State
c. Tax relief. In Italy or instance the Church is exempted from property tax.
d. Income - from accumulated wealth, land etc etc which has not been confiscated by the "events of history" as happened in some countries!!
e. Donations - presumably the more "religious" a country the more significant this element
Given all these variations in the income levels of Churches it is I guess hardly surprising that there are variations across countries in the overall level of entry fees!