• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Finding peace in Westphalia

The Local · 3 Nov 2010, 17:10

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.

Story continues below…

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
This Week in History
75 years since one of Holocaust's worst massacres
Photo: DPA

On Thursday, German president Joachim Gauck spoke in Kiev 75 years after the Nazis slaughtered 33,771 Jews during one of the worst single massacres of the Holocaust.

Six things you need to know about troubled Deutsche Bank

Shares in Deutsche bank plunged on Friday morning, dragging down other European banks and markets worldwide. Here are six things to know about Germany's biggest lender.

Deutsche Bahn jacks up prices for first time in 3 years
Photo: DPA

Germany's main rail provider, the state-owned Deutsche Bahn (DB), announced on Friday that it will raise prices on long-distance train travel.

Baby found alive in suitcase with skeleton in Hanover
File photo: DPA.

A baby has been found alive, along with the skeleton of another infant inside of a suitcase in Hanover, police reported on Friday.

Morocco to speed up repatriation of illegal migrants
Photo: DPA

Morocco has agreed to streamline the procedures for the repatriation of citizens living illegally in Germany, the royal court said late on Thursday.

890,000 refugees arrived in Germany last year - not 1.1m
Photo: DPA

Previous reports had suggested that around 1.1 million people entered Germany to seek asylum last year. But now the German government has confirmed the number was actually lower.

Racist attacks cast cloud over Dresden Unity Day planning
A police vehicle in Dresden. Photo: DPA.

As Dresden prepares to host Germany’s national Unity Day celebrations on Monday, the capital of the eastern state of Saxony is upping security after a mosque was targeted by a homemade bomb.

Sinking Deutsche Bank stock sends shock across Europe
Photo: DPA

Shares in Germany's biggest lender Deutsche Bank plummeted on the Frankfurt stock market on Friday, dragging other European banks and global markets down with it, after reports some customers were pulling money out.

The Local List
10 things you never knew about German reunification
Reunification celebrations in Hanover in 2014. Photo: DPA

With German Unity Day (October 3rd) happening on Monday, Germans are looking forward to a three-day weekend. But did you know these facts about reunification and German Unity Day?

Munich pharmacy’s nighttime porno show draws crowd
Photo: DPA

When a police patrol in Munich's Sendlinger Tor area noticed a crowd gathered outside a pharmacy window they went to investigate. But the onlookers weren't interested in a new line of flu medicine.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
6,718
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd