The city Münster



Münster traces its roots to a sixth century Saxon settlement called “Mimigernaford”, which was in the area of the modern city. In AD 793, the Frisian missionary Liudger founded a monastery nearby and the name Münster derives from the Latin word for monastery. After Liudger was named the first Bishop of Münster in 805, construction began on the first cathedral. It was completed in the middle of the ninth century.

The city was chartered in 1170. As part of the Hanseatic League, Münster’s importance for Westphalia increased beginning in the fourteenth century. In 1534 the “Täuferreich” was created here as part of the Münster Rebellion, but the Anabaptist rebels ruled only one year. After the bishop’s troops stormed the city, the bodies of the executed leaders of the rebellion – Jan van Leiden, Bernd Knipperdollinck, and Bernd Krechting – were hung in metal cages on the steeple of the Lambertikirche as a warning to others. The cages hang there still. Another famous episode in the history of the city is the 1648 signing of the Peace of Westphalia in Münster and Osnabrück, ending the Thirty Years’ War. The University of Münster was founded in 1773 and began teaching students in 1780. Today the university has around 47,000 students. Given that the population of the city is 300,000 people, Münster is thus one of the biggest “student cities” in Germany.

After the end of the Second World War, Münster was one of the most heavily damaged cities in Germany. The Altstadt (Old City) was rebuilt in the 1950s, according to its original plan. During the post-war years, construction likewise began on an extensive network of bicycle paths, with the goal of preventing bicycles from negatively affecting automobile traffic. Nearly every other resident of Münster owns two or more bicycles, and there are 300 km of bike paths within the city.


Tourist Information
Heinrich-Brüning-Strasse 9
Tel. +49-251-4922710
Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:30 am – 6:00 pm; Saturday, 9:30 am – 1:00 pm

Information in the Town  Hall
Prinzipalmarkt 10
Tel. +49-251-4922724
Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

There are numerous historical buildings, churches, and squares in Münster’s Altstadt, reflecting the city’s rich and varied history. Some of the most notable are the Prinzipalmarkt arcade and the Rathaus, where the Peace of Westphalia was signed; the cathedral St. Paulus-Dom and the open Domplatz in front of it, where there is a traditional market every Wednesday and Saturday morning; and the Lambertikirche, where the cages of the Anabaptist leaders hang. The city has many stores and boutiques, large and small in Salzstrasse, Ludgeristrasse, and elsewhere, which invite you to combine your tour of the city with a shopping excursion.

The 4.5 kilometre long Promenade encircles the Altstadt. This ring road follows the path of the former city wall around Münster, and is for the exclusive use of pedestrians and bicyclists.

There is also much to discover outside the central city. The former Schloss of the prince-bishop from the eighteenth century lies on the Promenade and today houses the administration of the university. The university’s botanical garden is behind the Schloss.

The Aasee is just minutes from the centre of the city. This lake is the primary local recreation area in Münster and offers cafes and restaurants, a sailing school, a boat rental, as well as space for walkers, bicycle riders, and inline skaters. Close to the Aasee are the Mühlenhof open-air museum; the Allwetterzoo, open year-round; and the Museum of Natural History.

Finally, Münster has an abundance of museums devoted to many themes, including the City Museum, the Picasso Museum, and the Museum of Lacquer. You can find an overview of Münster’s museums here.

Information about sightseeing, activities, and happenings in Münster and in Münsterland is available here:

Last changed on 17 July 2018, 16:05