Enchantingly old, thrillingly young.
Surprising discoveries wherever you go: Who would expect a trendy restaurant in medieval walls? Or the world’s largest collection of Picasso graphics behind the façade of a Westphalian noble court? Whilst one of Germany’s last watchmen is still sounding his horn on St. Lamberti Church, top researchers have turned institutes and clinics into beacons of scientific excellence. Jewels of Baroque architecture stand proud next to icons of contemporary design, whilst more than 60 sculptures bear witness to the “sculpture projects”, which turn Münster into a Mecca of the art scene every ten years. Traditional homely hospitality is as typical of the city as its exciting club scene or trendy, stylish restaurants in the new nightlife district at the port.
This exciting mix is precisely what gives Münster its charm: the coexistence of and interplay between awe-inspiring history and a cosmopolitan international atmosphere.
It is true that European history was made in Münster with the Peace of Westphalia treaty in 1648, of which the Hall of Peace in the historic town hall is still a reminder today; but an event that was just as important for the city’s own development was the foundation of the first Westphalian university in 1773, the origin of today’s city of education and science – with some 50,000 students at eight universities.
Why Münster is one of the “Historic Highlights of Germany“ becomes evident in the city centre – the heart of the more than 1,200 year old Hanseatic and shopping city. At the Prinzipalmarkt, the gables of the merchants’ houses form an impressive silhouette, whilst rows of exclusive shops under archways invite visitors to linger and browse for a while. And just around the corner there is tangible evidence of just how young this city’s heart really is: the weekly market, one of the most beautiful of its kind in Europe. Shaded by the mighty St. Paul’s Cathedral, traditional farmers from the Münsterland offer their goods alongside organic producers, Dutch cheese or fish sellers and Italian delicatessen stalls.
Despite the wealth of impressions awaiting visitors – Münster always maintains its human spirit and leaves room for leisure. Green oases can be reached in just a few minutes on foot – and given that we are “Germany’s bicycle capital”, of course, by bicycle: on the esplanade, in the castle garden, at Lake Aa, where visitors can enjoy views over the sailing boats on terraces and flights of steps, and soak up the almost Mediterranean atmosphere. Or a little bit further afield in the Münster parklands with their romantic moated castles.
Once back in the bustling city, the question might be: which of the 30 museums to visit? Join a city tour in the footsteps of the Anabaptists? And tonight – enjoy a grand opera, classical style, or join the young dancing avant-garde? Or perhaps attend a lecture by a historian? Extend your stay for a few days? Or just return very soon?