Münster (German pronunciation: [ˈmʏnstɐ] ( listen); Low
German: Mönster; Latin: Monasterium, from the Greek
μοναστήριον monastērion, "monastery") is an independent
city (Kreisfreie Städte) in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is in
the northern part of the state and is considered to be the cultural
centre of the
Westphalia region. It is also capital of the local
government region Münsterland.
Münster was the location of the
Anabaptist rebellion during the
Protestant Reformation and the site of
the signing of the Treaty of
Westphalia ending the Thirty Years' War
in 1648. Today it is known as the bicycle capital of Germany.
Münster gained the status of a Großstadt (major city) with more than
100,000 inhabitants in 1915. As of 2014[update], there are
300,000 people living in the city, with about 55,500
students, only some of whom are recorded in the
official population statistics as having their primary residence in
1.1 Early history
Middle Ages and early modern period
1.3 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries
1.4 World War II
1.5 Postwar period
2.1 Geographic position
2.2 Population density
2.4 Adjacent cities and districts
2.5 City boroughs
4.1 The makeup of the City Council
6 Main sights
8.3 Public transportation
10 British forces
11 International relations
11.1 Twin towns – sister cities
12 Notable residents
14 See also
16 External links
History of Münster
History of Münster and Timeline of Münster
Charlemagne sent out
Ludger as a missionary to evangelise the
Münsterland. In 797,
Ludger founded a school that later became the
Gymnasium Paulinum traces its history back to
Ludger was ordained as the first bishop of
Münster. The first cathedral was completed by 850. The
combination of ford and crossroad, market place, episcopal
administrative centre, library and school, established
Münster as an
important centre. In 1040, Heinrich III became the first king of
Germany to visit Münster.
Middle Ages and early modern period
In the Middle Ages, the
Prince-Bishopric of Münster
Prince-Bishopric of Münster was a leading
member of the Hanseatic League.
View from the south-west of
Münster in 1570 as seen by Remigius
Hogenberg. On the left is the Überwasserkirche, in the centre is St.
Paul's Cathedral and to its right St. Lambert's Church, and on the far
right is the Ludgerikirche
In 1534, the Anabaptists led by John of Leiden, took power in the
Münster Rebellion and founded a democratic proto-socialistic state.
They claimed all property, burned all books except the Bible, and
called it the "New Jerusalem".
John of Leiden
John of Leiden believed he would lead
the elect from
Münster to capture the entire world and purify it of
evil with the sword in preparation for the
Second Coming of Christ
Second Coming of Christ and
the beginning of the Millennium. They went so far as to require all
citizens to be naked as preparation for the Second Coming. However,
the town was recaptured in 1535; the Anabaptists were tortured to
death, their corpses were exhibited in metal baskets (often confused
with cages), which can still be seen hanging from the Tower of St.
Part of the signing of the Peace of
Westphalia of 1648 was held in
Münster. This ended the
Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War and the Eighty Years'
War. It also guaranteed the future of the prince-bishop and the
diocese; the area was to be exclusively Roman Catholic.
18th, 19th and early 20th centuries
Photo of the
Prinzipalmarkt in 1900
The last outstanding palace of the German baroque period was created
according to plans by Johann Conrad Schlaun. The University of
Münster (today called "Westphalian Wilhelms-University", WWU) was
established in 1780. It is now a major European centre for excellence
in education and research with large faculties in the arts,
humanities, theology, sciences, business and law. Currently there are
about 40,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students
enrolled. In 1802
Münster was conquered by Prussia
during the Napoleonic Wars. It was also part of the Grand Duchy of
Berg between 1806 and 1811 and the Lippe department of the First
French Empire between 1811 and 1813, before returning to Prussian
rule. It became the capital of the Prussian province of Westphalia. A
century later in 1899 the city's harbour started operations when the
city was linked to the Dortmund-Ems Canal.
World War II
Photo of part of the
Prinzipalmarkt area around St. Lambert's church
In the 1940s The Bishop of Münster, Cardinal Clemens August Graf von
Galen, was one of the most prominent critics of the Nazi government.
In retaliation for his success (
The New York Times
The New York Times described Bishop
von Galen as "the most obstinate opponent of the National Socialist
Münster was heavily garrisoned during
World War II, and five large complexes of barracks are still a feature
of the city.
Münster was the headquarters (Hauptsitz) for the 6th
Military District (Wehrkreis) of the German Wehrmacht, under the
command of Infantry General (General der Infanterie) Gerhard Glokke.
Originally made up of
Westphalia and the Rhineland, after the Battle
France it was expanded to include the
Malmedy district of
Belgium. The headquarters controlled military operations in Münster,
Essen, Düsseldorf, Wuppertal, Bielefeld, Coesfeld, Paderborn,
Herford, Minden, Detmold, Lingen, Osnabrück, Recklinghausen,
Gelsenkirchen, and Cologne.
Münster was the home station for the VI and XXIII Infantry Corps
(Armeekorps), as well as the XXXIII and LVI Panzerkorps.
also the home of the 6th, 16th and 25th Panzer Division; the 16th
Panzergrenadier Division; and the 6th, 26th, 69th, 86th, 106th, 126th,
196th, 199th, 211th, 227th, 253rd, 254th, 264th, 306th, 326th, 329th,
336th, 371st, 385th, and 716th Infantry Divisions
A secondary target of the Oil Campaign of World War II,
bombed on October 25, 1944 by 34 diverted
B-24 Liberator bombers,
during a mission to a nearby primary target, the Scholven/Buer
synthetic oil plant at Gelsenkirchen. About 91% of the Old City and
63% of the entire city was destroyed by Allied air raids. The US
17th Airborne Division, employed in a standard infantry role and not
in a parachute capacity, attacked
Münster with the British 6th Guards
Tank Brigade on 2 April 1945 in a ground assault and fought its way
into the contested city centre, which was cleared in urban combat on
the following day.
From 1946 to 1998, there was a Latvian secondary school in
Münster, and in 1947, one of the largest of about 93 Latvian
libraries in the West was established in Münster.
In the 1950s the Old City was rebuilt to match its pre-war state,
though many of the surrounding buildings were replaced with cheaper
modern structures. It was also for several decades a garrison town for
the British forces stationed in West Germany.
Münster won an honourable distinction: the LivCom-Award for
the most livable city in the world with a population between 200,000
Münster is famous and liked for its bicycle
friendliness and for the student character of the city that is due to
the influence of its university, the Westfälische Wilhelms
Gerard ter Borch: Dutch envoy
Adriaan Pauw enters
Münster around 1646
for the peace negotiations resulting in the Peace of Westphalia
Münster is situated on the river Aa, approximately 15 kilometres (9
miles) south of its confluence with the Ems in the Westphalian Bight,
a landscape studded with dispersed settlements and farms, the
so-called "Münsterland". The Wolstonian sediments of the mountain
ridge called "Münsterländer Kiessandzug" cross the city from north
to south. The highest elevation is the Mühlenberg in the northwest of
Münster, 97 metres above sea level. The lowest elevation is at
the Ems with 44 m above sea level. The city centre is 60 m
above sea level, measured at the
Prinzipalmarkt in front of the
historic city hall.
The Dutch city of
Enschede is about 65 km (40 mi) northwest
of Münster. Other major cities nearby include Osnabrück, about
44 km (27 mi) to the north, Dortmund, about 61 km
(38 mi) to the south, and Bielefeld, about 62 km
(39 mi) to the east.
Münster is one of the 42 agglomeration areas and one of Germany's
biggest cities in terms of area. But this includes substantial
sparsely populated, rural districts which were formerly separate local
government authorities until they were amalgamated in 1975. Thus
nearly half the city's area is agricultural, resulting in a low
population density of approximately 900 inhabitants per km².
Bronze model of Münster's city centre
Münster's Lake Aa
The city's built-up area is quite extensive. There are no skyscrapers
and few high-rise buildings but very many detached houses and
mansions. Still the population density reaches about 15,000
inhabitants per km² in the city centre. Calculating the
population density based on the actual populated area results in
approximately 2890 inhabitants per km².[verification needed]
Münster's urban area of 302.91 square kilometres
(116.95 sq mi) is distributed into 57.54 square kilometres
(22.22 sq mi) covered with buildings while 0.99 km2
(0.38 sq mi) are used for maintenance and 25.73 km2
(9.93 sq mi) for traffic areas, 156.61 km2
(60.47 sq mi) for agriculture and recreation, 8.91 km2
(3.44 sq mi) are covered by water, 56.69 km2
(21.89 sq mi) is forested and 6.23 km2
(2.41 sq mi) is used otherwise.:18 The perimeter has a
length of 107 kilometres (66 miles), the largest extend of the urban
area in north–south direction is 24.4 km (15.2 mi), in
east–west direction 20.6 km (12.8 mi).
A well-known saying in
Münster is "Entweder es regnet oder es läuten
die Glocken. Und wenn beides zusammen fällt, dann ist Sonntag"
("Either it rains or the church bells ring. And if both occur at the
same time, it's Sunday."), but in reality the rainfall with
approximately 758 mm (29.8 inches) per year is close to the
average rainfall in Germany. The perception of
Münster as a
rain-laden city isn't caused by the absolute amount of rainfall but by
the above-average number of rainy days with relatively small amounts
of rainfall. The average temperature is 9.4 °C (48.9 °F)
with approximately 1500 sun hours per year. Consequently, Münster
is in the bottom fifth in comparison with other German cities. The
Münster is fairly mild and snowfall is unusual. The
temperature during summertime meets the average in Germany. The
highest daily rainfall was registered on July 28, 2014: One weather
station of the MeteoGroup reported a rainfall of 122.2 l/m2
(2.50 imp gal/sq ft) the State Environment Agency
registered at one of its stations 292 l/m2
(6.0 imp gal/sq ft) during seven hours. The record
rainfall led to severe flooding throughout the city and the nearby
Climate data for Münster
Average high °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Source: [verification needed]
Adjacent cities and districts
Münster borders on the following cities and municipalities, named
clockwise and beginning in the northwest:
Altenberge and Greven
(District of Steinfurt), Telgte, Everswinkel,
Drensteinfurt (District of Warendorf), as well as Ascheberg, Senden
Havixbeck (District of Coesfeld).
Münster administrative districts – the darker parts represent
the built-up areas of the city
The city is divided into six administrative districts or Stadtbezirke:
"Mitte" (Middle), "Nord" (North), "Ost" (East), "West", "Süd-Ost"
(South-East) and "Hiltrup". Each district is represented by a council
of 19 representatives elected in local elections. Heading each council
is the district mayor, or Bezirksvorsteher. Every district is
subdivided into residential quarters (Wohnbereiche). This official
term, however, is not used in common speech, as there are no discrete
definitions of the individual quarters. The term "Stadtteil" is used
instead, mainly referring to the incorporated communities. The
districts are also divided into 45 statistical districts.
The following list names each district with its residential and
additional quarters. These are the official names, which partly differ
from the usage in common speech.
Bicycle parking station, located at the Hauptbahnhof
Market Square Münster, Centre
Pablo Picasso Museum Münster, popular for sightseeing tours
Sprakel with Sandrup
Dyckburg, consisting of Mariendorf and Sudmühle
Gelmer with Gittrup
Handorf with Kasewinkel, Kreuzbach, Laer, Dorbaum and Verth on the
left bank of the Ems and Werse
Mauritz-Ost and Mondstraße, combined better known as St. Mauritz
Nienberge with Häger, Schönebeck and Uhlenbrock
Roxel with Altenroxel and Oberort
Angelmodde with Hofkamp
Gremmendorf with Loddenheide
Amelsbüren with Sudhoff, Loevelingloh and Wilbrenning
The centre can be subdivided into historically evolved city districts
whose borders are not always strictly defined, such as
Münster has approximately 300,000 inhabitants, and more than
10,000 others who have their secondary residence in the city. The city
has about 50,000 resident foreigners. The life-expectancy in
Münster is 76.3 years for males and 83.1 years for females.
The average age of Münster's residents was 40 in 2006.:54
Number of largest minority groups in
Münster by nationality:[citation
The makeup of the City Council
Christian Democratic Union
Social Democratic Party
Free Democratic Party
Ecological Democratic Party
Alternative for Germany
The city is considered the "creative desk of Westphalia". Greater
Münster is home to many industries such as those of public
authorities, consulting companies, insurance companies, banks,
computer centres, publishing houses, advertising and design. The
service sector has created several thousand jobs. Retailers have
approximately 1.9 billion euro turnover. The city still has
traditional merchants' townhouses as well as modern outlets.
The job market situation in
Münster is "comparatively good". Of
the approximately 130,000 employees subject to social insurance
contribution more than 80% work in the tertiary sector, about 17% work
in the secondary sector and 1% work in the primary sector.:95
Main administration building of WWU
Erbdrostenhof Palace, birthplace of Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart
Town Museum Münster
Headquarters LVM Insurance
St. Paul's Cathedral, built in the 13th century in a mixture of late
Romanesque and early Gothic styles. It was completely restored after
World War II. It includes an astronomical clock of 1540, adorned with
hand-painted zodiac symbols, which traces the movement of the planets,
and plays a
Glockenspiel tune every noon.
The Prinzipalmarkt, the main shopping street in the city centre with
the Gothic town hall (14th century) in which the Peace of Westphalia
treaty which put an end to the
Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War was signed in 1648.
Immediately north of the
Prinzipalmarkt is the Roggenmarkt.
St Lambert's Church (1375), with three cages hanging from its tower
above the clock face. In 1535 these cages were used to display the
Jan van Leiden
Jan van Leiden and other leaders of the
who promoted polygamy and renunciation of all property.
The Schloss (palace), built in 1767–87 as residence for the
prince-bishops by the Baroque architect
Johann Conrad Schlaun
Johann Conrad Schlaun and
Wilhelm Ferdinand Lipper. Now the administrative centre for the
The Botanischer Garten Münster, a botanical garden founded in 1803.
The Zwinger fortress built in 1528. Used from the 18th to the 20th
century as a prison. During World War II, the
Gestapo used the Zwinger
also for executions.
"Krameramtshaus" (1589), an old guild house, which housed the
delegation from the Netherlands during the signing of the Peace of
Haus Rüschhaus (1743–49), a country estate situated in Nienberge,
Johann Conrad Schlaun
Johann Conrad Schlaun for himself
Erbdrostenhof (1749–53), a Baroque palace, also built by Schlaun,
residence of Droste zu Vischering noble family and birthplace of
Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart.
Clemenskirche (1745–53), a Baroque church, also built by Schlaun
Signal-Iduna Building (1961), the first high-rise building in
LVM-Building, high-rise building near the Aasee.
LBS-Building, location of Münster's first zoo. Some old structures of
the former zoo can be found in the park around the office building.
Also the "Tuckesburg", the strange-looking house of the zoo-founder,
is still intact.
Münster Arkaden" (2006), new shopping centre between Prinzipalmarkt
Pablo Picasso Museum of Graphic Art.
"Cavete", the oldest academic pub in Münster
Westphalian State Museum of Art and Cultural History
University Bible museum
Town Museum ("Stadtmuseum"), exhibition of a large collection showing
the political and cultural history of the city from its beginning up
to present, housed by a converted former department store
University Mineralogical Museum
Westphalian Horse Museum
Westphalian Horse Museum ("Hippomax")
Mühlenhof open-air museum, depicting a typical Westphalian village as
it looked centuries ago
Westphalian Museum for Natural History, state museum and planetarium
West Prussian State Museum ("Drostenhof Wolbeck")
Museum of Lacquer Art (founded and operated by the company BASF
Pablo Picasso Museum of Graphic Art, the only museum devoted
exclusively to the graphic works of Pablo Picasso
Pinkus Müller the only brewery left in
Münster of original more than
Münster is home to many institutions of higher education, including
University of Münster
University of Münster and University of Applied Sciences. The
city also has 92 Schools of primary and secondary education. The city
has 47,000 students.
"Promenade" in the summer
Münster claims to be the bicycle capital of Germany. It states
that in 2007, vehicle traffic (36.4%) fell below traffic by bicycle
(37.6%), even though it is unclear how such a figure is defined.
The city maintains an extensive network for bicycles including the
popular "Promenade" which encircles Münster's city centre. While
motorised vehicles are banned, there are paths for pedestrians.
Additional bicycle paths link all city districts with the inner city
and special traffic lights provide signals for bicyclists. Bicycle
Münster offer bicycle rentals.
Münster's Central Station is on the Wanne-Eickel–
The city is connected by Intercity trains to a lot of other German
Münster had a historic tramway system, but later closed
in 1954. Today,
Münster does have some public transportation, which
includes bus expresses, sightseeing buses, "waterbuses",
and bicycle rentals.
The city is home to Preußen
Münster which was founded on 30 April
1906. The main section is football and the team plays at
Preußenstadion. Other important sports teams include the USC Münster
e.V. volleyball club.
See also: British Forces Germany
After the Second World War,
Münster became a major station within
Osnabrück Garrison, part of British Forces Germany. Their presence
was gradually reduced, yet there are still many active military bases.
The last forces left
Münster on 4 July 2013.
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Germany
Twin towns – sister cities
Münster is twinned with the following places:
York, United Kingdom
Rishon LeZion, Israel
Annette von Droste-Hülshoff
Annette von Droste-Hülshoff 1838
Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, (1797-1848), noble and one of the most
important German poets
Maria Droste zu Vischering, noble and nun beatified by Pope Paul VI.
Georges Depping, German-French historian.
Alfred Dregger, politician and leader of the Christian Democratic
Alfred Flechtheim, art dealer, art collector, journalist, and
Carl Schuhmann, athlete.
Clemens August Graf von Galen, cardinal, Bishop of Münster, beatified
by Pope Benedict XVI.
Gunther Plaut, Reform rabbi and author.
Tanita Tikaram, German-British singer-songwriter
Andreas Dombret, board member of German central bank Deutsche
Ute Lemper, cabaret singer and actress
Wilhelm Emanuel Ketteler, bishop of Mainz
1811, December 25, Wilhelm Emmanuel Freiherr von Ketteler; † July
13, 1877 in Burghausen, 1850-1877 Bishop of
Mainz ("Workers Bishop"),
co-founder of the Centre Party
1813, January 6, Paul Melchers; † December 14, 1895 in Rome,
1857-1866 Bishop of Osnabrück, 1866-1885 Archbishop of Cologne
1818, February 2, Joseph Arnold Weydemeyer; † August 26, 1866 in St.
Louis (USA), soldier, journalist, newspaper editor, politician and
1821, October 23, Maximilian Franz August von Forckenbeck; † 26 May
1892 in Berlin, National Liberal politician, mayor of Wroclaw and
Berlin, president of the Prussian House of Representatives, president
of the Reichstag
1824, 31 December, Bernard Altum; † 1 February 1900 in Eberswalde,
zoologist, ornithologist and forest scientist
1833, January 26, Elisabeth Ney; † June 29, 1907 in Austin / Texas,
Symbolic sword, old town-hall
Entrance bicycle station opposite the railway station
Promenade in autumn
Old Apollo cinema, Marienplatz
Münster's municipal theatre
Public Library, Centre
Roadsign for the Ice Hall Münster
LVA (State Social Insurance Board) Münster-Nord
Trade Fair Centre
Münster (on a Sunday)
Munster Province, Republic of Ireland
Muenster, Texas (USA)
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Münster.
Official website (in German)
English page of
Münster All-Weather Zoo (in English)
Münster Zoo at Zoo-Infos.de (in English)
Muenster City Panoramas - Panoramic Views of Münster's Highlights (in
7Grad.org - Bunkers in Muenster - History of Muenster's air raid
shelters (in German)
The Siege of Muenster - audio discussion from "In Our Time" BBC
Münster (Host of technology companies in Münster)
Münster Events (in German)
Texts on Wikisource:
"Münster". Encyclopedia Americana. 1920.
Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.).
"Münster". Encyclopædia Britannica. 17 (9th ed.). 1884.
Germany by population
Freiburg im Breisgau
Mülheim an der Ruhr
Offenbach am Main
cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants
Urban and rural districts in the state of
North Rhine-Westphalia in
Members of the
Hanseatic League by Quarter
Chief cities shown in smallcaps.
Free Imperial Cities of the
Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire shown in italics.
Frankfurt an der Oder
Dortmund were both capital of the Westphalian Quarter at
Antwerp gained importance once
Bruges became inaccessible due to the
silting of the