• 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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
Merkel accuses Isis of genocide
A photograph (right) made available by the jihadist affiliated group Albaraka News allegedly shows an Isis fighter tying up an Iraqi soldier. Photo: EPA/ALBARAKA NEWS/HANDOUT

Merkel accuses Isis of genocide

Chancellor Angela Merkel described atrocities committed by Isis in Iraq as genocide on Wednesday, going further than other western leaders in her condemnation of the group. READ  

Ebola patient treated at Hamburg hospital
An isolation ambulance approaches the specially outfitted aircraft carrying the Ebola patient at Hamburg airport. Photo: DPA

Ebola patient treated at Hamburg hospital

UPDATE: The first patient to be treated for Ebola in Germany arrived in Hamburg on Wednesday morning. READ  

Uber pushes expansion despite legal pitfalls
Uber is going head-to-head with taxi services across Germany. Photo: DPA

Uber pushes expansion despite legal pitfalls

Chauffeur car service Uber plans to expand into more German cities and double its activity in the country by the end of the year in the face of bitter opposition and a court case. READ  

Has Germany learned lessons of NSU failures?
Police images of the Beate Zschäpe, Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Bundlos, the three perpetrators of the NSU murders. Photo: DPA

Has Germany learned lessons of NSU failures?

The German government announced measures on Wednesday requiring police and courts to take tougher action against suspected hate crimes, following a neo-Nazi killing spree that went unsolved for more than a decade. READ  

The Local List
Ten of the oddest things found at border control
Photo: Zollamt/Shutterstock

Ten of the oddest things found at border control

Some of the strangest items found by German border control might make you think again about whether border checks are over the top. The Local List takes a look. READ  

Germany to lock out 'cheating' EU migrants
Demonstrators hold up a banner against Roma deportations in 2013. Photo: DPA

Germany to lock out 'cheating' EU migrants

UPDATE: Germany is expected to announce new measures on Wednesday to expel EU citizens who cheat the country's social security system, as well as improving conditions for asylum seekers. READ  

Shoppers' confidence collapses at record rate
Shoppers in Germany felt a sudden drop in confidence in August. Photo: DPA

Shoppers' confidence collapses at record rate

Confidence among German consumers fell at its fastest rate in August since records began more than 30 years ago. Instability on the international stage and fears for the future of the national economy have contributed to the sudden drop. READ  

Want to avoid driving fines? Swap seats
Photo: DPA

Want to avoid driving fines? Swap seats

A driver in western Germany should not be fined for "negligent driving" because he had swapped seats after a warning sign, a court ruled on Tuesday. READ  

Police find €20 million of cannabis in woods
The cannabis was found by a walker who alerted police. Photo: DPA

Police find €20 million of cannabis in woods

Police have found 18,500 cannabis plants with a street value of €20 million growing in the woods on the Dutch-German border. READ  

Anti-stress law moves step closer in Germany
Federal Labour Minister Andrea Nahles speaking to journalists in July. Photo: DPA

Anti-stress law moves step closer in Germany

Germany’s Labour Minister Andrea Nahles has given her backing to an anti-stress law, announcing a study into workers' mental health on Tuesday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Gerkan, Marg and Partners/Tegel Projekt GmbH/J. Mayer
Berlin
How will Berlin look in five years' time?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? 10 reasons why you should
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The best of Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit in 14 pictures
Photo: DPA
Politics
Germany sends burgers and sausages to Kurds
Photo: DPA
National
Size does matter in this case, rules judge
Photo: Matthias Kock
National
Tribes, ties and a movie: A German's Afghan life
Photo: DPA
Gallery
10 things to do before summer in Germany is really over
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The mysteries of Berlin's abandoned theme park
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
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

3,443
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd