Münster is one of the most peacemaking and bicycle-friendly cities. Of course, its historical old town with the beautiful town hall, where the Peace of Westphalia was once concluded, the Prinzipalmarkt with its gabled houses and the prince-bishop’s palace are just as much a part of the Münster travel destination as a cycle tour down the car-free Ringpromenade. Visitors who love good surprises can find great experiences all across the city as well.
Concerts, clubs and handmade cheese
The harbour district as a creative hotspot
Münster’s harbour district is filled with unexpected inspiration from the artists, agencies, restaurants and clubs that have settled around the former freight hub. Living up to its name of “Kreativkai”, this part of town offers a mix of converted warehouses and modern architecture. Art lovers in particular can find a feast for the eyes with contemporary art in the Kunsthalle Münster, while the award-winning Hot Jazz Club offers a menu for the ears.
On the other end, called the B-Side, industrial monuments like an old storage silo and a distinctive harbour crane are reminders of the times when ships came here for unloading. Today, the Wolfgang-Borchert-Theatre has its home in the Flechtheimspeicher, and an organic show dairy presents traditional craftsmanship behind glass just a few steps down the street. Technology enthusiasts should follow the Dortmund-Ems Canal a little way north to the twin lock, where two ships can pass at the same time.
Tricks on the water and on land
The city is like a single big open-air gallery
Visitors walking through Münster will encounter art everywhere in the city. The large “Sculpture Projects” open-air show, that attracts an international audience every ten years, has produced more than 40 sculptures left in the public space since it premiered in 1977. The Aasee alone, no more than a 15 minutes’ walk from the old town, introduces walkers to a vast variety of works both on and around it. The “Giant Pool Balls” by Claes Oldenburg can be found on the lakeshore, while a pier by Jorge Pardo leads to a pavilion 40 metres out in the water.
In the baroque Dominican Church, Gerhard Richter provides artistic momentum with the “Two Grey Double Mirrors for a Pendulum” installation. At its centre, a Foucault pendulum moves on a nearly 30-metre-long rope above a circular base plate. The brick building is an eye-catcher of its own with its baroque façade and octagonal dome but closed for renovation at the moment. Work is expected to continue until November 2020.
Anyone strolling through the city on Wednesdays and Saturdays will come across the beautiful weekly market in the shadow of the powerful St.-Paulus-Dom cathedral. With 150 stalls, this is one of the largest contiguous markets of its kind in Germany. Germany’s first fish sommelier couple is a secret star among the market suppliers. Ronja and Sebastian Bussmeyer offer both their competence and a huge choice of goods. By the way, there is no reason not to continue your stroll untroubled even after extensive purchases. Visitors can have purchased goods stored – and even refrigerated – on a bag wagon provided by the dealer community.
Evening in the city
The towerkeeper sounds the end of the day
As the day darkens, nightlife slowly awakens both in the city harbour and in the museum. One Friday a month, the LWL Museum of Art and Culture offers exhibition and collection tours free of charge. A DJ plays music long into the night. Popular photo spots include the foyer with its courtyards and staircases as well as the “Silberne Frequenz” Piene installation that decorates the exterior façade.
The traditional “Kuhviertel” offers student pubs and typical Westphalian restaurants, while the “Am Hawerkamp” nightlife district adds some less traditional options. Its alternative cultural scene grown around a former concrete factory has studios, rehearsal rooms, and nightclubs like the Sputnikhalle, the Triptychon, and the Fusion-Club standing side by side.
Münster as a synthesis of the art is best viewed from the upper floor of the Stadthaus. The “1648”, a café on its eleventh and twelfth floors, not only affords a great view, but also offers a menu with a clear commitment to regional products.
On days other than Tuesdays, Münster also has a special acoustic treat from above in the evening, when the same signal that has sounded for centuries comes on at 8.30 p.m. Germany’s only towerkeeper in government service has her office on the church tower of St. Lambert’s church. Like all her predecessors, she blows her horn to sound in the end of the day.