• Germany edition
 
Finding peace in Westphalia
Photo: DPA

Finding peace in Westphalia

Published: 03 Nov 2010 17:10 GMT+01:00
Updated: 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
UN climate talks shuffle to a close in Bonn
Photo: DPA

UN climate talks shuffle to a close in Bonn

Concern was high at a perceived lack of urgency as UN climate negotiations shuffled towards a close in Bonn on Saturday with just 14 months left to finalise a new, global pact. READ  

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling
Italy's National Partisans' Association welcomed the court decision. Photo: DPA

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling

Italy's constitutional court has ruled that victims of Nazi-era war crimes can sue Germany in Italian courts, rejecting a UN ruling and provoking a strong reaction from Berlin on Friday. READ  

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall
Photo: Paul Sullivan

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall

Two expats who walked the Mauerweg - the 160-kilometre trail that runs the length of the former Berlin Wall - have written a book about forgotten aspects of its past and present. READ  

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat
Photo: DPA

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat

Germany's biggest department store chain Karstadt will close at least six stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk, in a drastic bid by its new boss to return it to profit. READ  

Quiz
How well do you know Germany?
Photos: DPA/Shutterstock

How well do you know Germany?

Do you know your Saxony facts from your Saxony-Anhalt ones? Test your knowledge of Germany's federal states in The Local's quiz. READ  

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal
Pollution from a coal-fired power station in Frimmersdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal

The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement in Bonn on greenhouse gases on Friday as providing "valuable momentum" for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
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

3,522
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd