Known as the bicycle capital of the country, Münster is an independent city within the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in northwest Germany. Home to the country’s oldest school and a student population of 50,000, the city possesses a youthful ambience. Education has always been at the heart of Münster’s development, with the famous Gymnasium Paulinum secondary school having been founded in 797. The University of Münster, known as the Westphalian Wilhelms-University, was established in 1780 and is the third largest in Germany. Although the city has an extensive urban area, a large proportion remains agricultural, and as such, Münster has a low overall population density with a total of 300,000 inhabitants. These factors combine to make Münster a desirable place to visit and live, and in 2004, the city received an award for being the most liveable city in the world.
Location: Multiple Transport Options
With its rich culture and numerous industries, Münster attracts both business and leisure travellers. It is well connected by all public transport routes, but is easiest to get to via plane or train. The Münster-Osnabrück International Airport is located 25 kilometres north of the city, and many airlines offer direct flights. Within Germany, Münster is easily accessible from Berlin and Frankfurt. Flight times from Berlin are around 3 hours and from Frankfurt 50 minutes, while trains take 3.5 hours from Berlin (via Hamm) and 3.25 from Frankfurt (via Düsseldorf). Buses are available but take considerably longer, with travel taking over 7 hours from Berlin and 4 hours from Frankfurt. Once in Münster, buses provide a convenient and reliable method of transport. Alternatively, rental bikes are readily available.
Business: A Centre of Commercial Diversity
Münster is home to a wide range of industries, from banking and insurance to publishing and design. Local companies include the IT specialist Vectron and the brewery Pinkus. The city is well facilitated for business meetings, and these can be accommodated in many of the hotels or, for larger events, at the Halle Münsterland convention centre. This prestigious venue has a capacity of 10,000 and as well as business functions, it has been host to music concerts for acts including Chris De Burgh, The Rolling Stones, and U2.
Culture: Join in with the Annual Festivities
Boasting sites of historical significance such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, beautiful Gothic and Baroque architecture and a varied economy, the city has earned a reputation for being the creative and cultural centre of Germany’s Westphalia region. There are numerous events to enjoy throughout the year, such as the spectacular International Kite Festival, during which the sky is filled with colourful designs of all sizes and shapes, the Kreuzviertel Festival, where traditional food can be sampled, and the Eurocityfest, which has a musical focus. There is also a Christmas Market that transforms the city with its beautiful lights and decorations, providing the perfect place to browse local crafts and shop for presents.
Activities: Watch the Time!
There’s plenty to do in Münster, from watching a show at one of the city’s many theatres or cinemas to learning about art, history, or science at one of the museums on Cathedral Square. Those interested in architecture will marvel at the thirteenth century cathedral, which has a fascinating astronomical clock. This runs counter-clockwise, following the sun’s course, and indicates planetary positions and phases of the moon. There are plenty of eateries and bars to relax in, but for a traditional experience, try the Stuhlmacher restaurant, adjacent to the town hall.