• Germany's news in English
 

Finding peace in Westphalia

Published: 03 Nov 2010 17:10 GMT+01:00

If you’ve wondered lately just how the Thirty Years’ War came to end, it might be time for a trip to Münster, the picturesque place that put Westphalia on the map in 1648.

Oddly, the peace treaty that helped stop three decades of internecine Christian warfare was sealed in a city taking its name from a monastery founded back in year 805 by a Frisian missionary.

Münster undoubtedly revels in its religious and cultural history, but fortunately the city’s 50,000-strong student population keeps the place from becoming too fusty.

The city is centred around St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was completed in the early 13th century. It has since been destroyed and rebuilt, renovated or extended more than five times. It now stands as one of the city’s most impressive and beloved buildings and bears witness to the open air markets on Domplatz every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon.

Most residents have made them part of their weekly regimen. University student Christian Cloppenburg, born and raised in the city, recommends a cheese stall with an orange roof which is famous for handing out little sampler bags for a mere €3.

Close by, Münster’s historic Town Hall is where the Thirty Years’ War officially ended with the Peace of Westphalia. The grand Gothic building was, like so many of Münster’s architectural wonders, completely destroyed during World War II and rebuilt in the 1950s.

A hop and a skip away is St. Lambert’s Church, where Cardinal Clemens von Galen delivered his sermons against the Nazis with such vehemence that he earned the nickname “The Lion of Münster.” But the church also has a macabre side to its long history – in the mid-16th century the bodies of three Anabaptist leaders were suspended in cages in the tower as a warning. The cages are still there today, rattling above the clock and providing a ghoulish visual from wherever you happen to be standing in the city.

Outside the church is the beginning of Prinzipalmarkt, the most famous street in Münster. The forty-eight arched houses that line the cobblestoned street hark back to the 13th century, when they were built for merchant traders. Nowadays, fully restored, they are home to fashion labels, boutiques and up-market cafes and restaurants.

Away from the two imposing shadows of the cathedral and St. Lambert’s (although one never completely escapes the latter’s spooky, blackened spire) the shopping and coffee-drinking continues, but with a markedly different feel. Starting on Salzstrasse, Baroque lovers can get their fix by gazing at three of Münster’s finest antique-bling buildings: the Dominican Church, designed by Lambert Friedrich von Corfey, and the Erbdrostenhof and St. Clement’s Church, designed by his most famous student, Johann Conrad Schlaun.

Just behind the Erbdrostenhof, a former aristocratic residence that now acts as the seat of the State Curator of Westphalia, stands the sweet and simple St. Servatius’ Church which has been standing since 1230. Once you’ve finished ogling, head back towards St. Clement’s and take a coffee into its garden. Beautifully kept, there is a welcome peace and quiet found within its walls.

But Münster offers material as well as spiritual nourishment.

The area surrounding St. Ludger’s Church is buzzing shopping zone. Founded in 1173, the house of worship is sandwiched between temples of contemporary consumerism.

“Münster has a good mix of budget shopping and high fashion,” says Anki Kipp, a law student and self-confessed serial shopaholic.

After giving your credit cards some exercise, head to the Kuhviertel (via St. Peter’s Church which stands on the River Aa). The district is full of steepled roofs, flower boxes and cobblestone streets. Beer aficionados should head to the famous Pinkus-Müller Brewery – Germany’s oldest organic brewer. On your way out take a gander at the Church of Our Lady with the biggest Gothic steeple in Westphalia.

Of course, a trip to Münster wouldn’t be complete without visiting the palace that now houses the university’s administration. Designed by Johann Conrad Schlaun for the local prince-bishop to call home, construction began in 1767.

Getting There:

Münster has direct rail links from the Ruhr Valley, the Rhineland, Bremen and Hamburg.

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

05:03 April 26, 2011 by jihao
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
Today's headlines
Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday
Photo: DPA

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday

Teachers all over the country are expected to stike starting Monday, German education trade union GEW said, after negotiations with the wage commission of the federal states (TdL) failed to achieve results. READ  

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes
Andre Shepherd at the European Court of Justice in June 2014. Photo: DPA

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes

American soldier Andre Shepherd, who applied for asylum in Germany as a conscientious objector against the war in Iraq after going AWOL from his unit, saw a judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) go against him on Thursday. READ  

Intersex person sues clinic for unncessary op
Photo: DPA

Intersex person sues clinic for unncessary op

Intersex person Michaela Raab is suing doctors in a Nuremberg court, who she said operated on her genitals and put her through female hormone therapy without having told her she was genetically a man. READ  

Greece bailout
Greece bailout passes with massive majority
Wolfgang Schäuble addressing the Bundestag on Friday. Photo: DPA

Greece bailout passes with massive majority

UPDATE:German MPs voted 542-32 in favour of extending Greece's bailout programme on Friday. READ  

German soars into ski jump top spot
Photo: DPA

German soars into ski jump top spot

Germany is a "Weltmeister" again, this time in ski-jumping. Severin Freund's 134-metre vertical jumps, and new world distance record of nearly 136 metres, ended the nearly decade-and-a-half wait for German ski jump fans starved for gold. READ  

Muslim Council says Jewish fears 'justified'
Muslims at prayer in Frankfurt's Abubakr Mosque. Photo: DPA

Muslim Council says Jewish fears 'justified'

After the president of the Central Council of Jews warned against anti-Semitism in Muslim areas of German cities, his Muslim opposite number agreed that 'these fears are justified”. READ  

Consumer rights office slams Facebook
Photo: DPA

Consumer rights office slams Facebook

The Federation of Consumer Protection Offices (vzbv) has warned Facebook over legal breaches in its terms and conditions, saying that its claim on the homepage that “Facebook is free and always will be” is misleading. READ  

Spoof hails Varoufakis: puts 'hell' in 'Hellenica'
Yanis Varoufakis, Greece's "Minister of Awesome". Photo: DPA

Spoof hails Varoufakis: puts 'hell' in 'Hellenica'

An offering that rehabilitates the much-maligned German sense of humour is rocking the internet with a searing spoof metal tribute to Greece's formidable new finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, filled with painful moments of self-mockery. READ  

This Week in History
Kafka's Metamorphosis: 100 years of perplexity
Franz Kafka. Photo: DPA

Kafka's Metamorphosis: 100 years of perplexity

100 years ago, Franz Kafka published The Metamorphosis, now seen as one of the most significant works of 20th century German literature. The Local speaks to the academic who has reinterpreted it for a modern audience. READ  

Nurse jailed for life for serial patient murders
Niels H. in court. The five murder counts against the former nurse may just be the start. Photo: DPA

Nurse jailed for life for serial patient murders

A male nurse who injected patients with overdoses of heart medication for the thrill of resuscitating them was on Thursday sentenced to life imprisonment on five counts of murder. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,381
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd