Way of St. James
On historic pilgrimage routes through Münsterland
Even hundreds of years ago pilgrims were crossing what is now NRW on the way to Santiago de Compostela. One of these historical routes passes through Münsterland.
The symbol of the route is a scallop, directing pilgrims, hikers, runners, cyclists and wanderers from all over the world to their destination, the tomb of James the Apostle in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela. Many of these pilgrims began flowing in from the north or the east hundreds of years ago to walk through what is now North Rhine-Westphalia. Around a dozen historic paths have been reconstructed and one of the stretches crosses through Münsterland.
The route, which is over 200 km, begins at the cathedral in Osnabrück. From there it heads through the Teutoburg Forest via Lengerich, Ladbergen and Münster to Herbern in Münsterland, before continuing on through Lünen and Dortmund to Wuppertal. There are numerous sights along the way, including castles, palaces, churches and museums. For example, Schloss Cappenberg in Werne has been closely linked with the Way of St. James for centuries: the former monastery building offered lodgings to pilgrims in the Middle Ages.
More than 1,000 km of the Way of St. James in NRW
The trail from Osnabrück to Wuppertal via Münster and Dortmund is the continuation of the “Via Baltica”, which runs from the Baltic Sea island of Usedom through northern Germany and serves as a bridge between the Baltic countries and Spain. In the west it joins with the Rhineland Way of St. James, which stretches from Cologne to Aachen and on to Belgium before finally leading into the French pilgrimage path.
In total, the reconstructed sections of the Way of St. James in North Rhine-Westphalia now cover more than 1,000 kilometres – with more paths to follow.