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The independent city of Münster in Westphalia is the seat of the administrative district of the same name in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. From 1815 to 1946 Münster was the capital of the Prussian province of Westphalia. The city on the Münsterschen Aa lies between the Ruhr area and Osnabrück in the center of the Münsterland and, as the twentieth largest city in Germany, is one of the regional centers of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Münster has been a major city since 1915, and in 2014 its population exceeded the 300,000 mark for the first time. With 65,000 students (2018), Münster is one of the ten largest university cities in Germany. Münster is also known as a bicycle city due to its bike-friendly cityscape.

The Westphalian metropolis is an important service and administrative location and the seat of several universities. Important courts and administrative institutions for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia are located in Münster, including the Constitutional Court and the Higher Administrative Court. The former Westphalian provincial capital is now the seat of the Regional Association of Westphalia-Lippe, which makes it the administrative, political and cultural center of the Münsterland.

Münster is the seat of a Catholic bishop. In 799 Pope Leo III founded at his meeting with Charlemagne the diocese of Münster and the dioceses of Osnabrück, Minden and Paderborn. In 805, St. Ludgerus was consecrated the first bishop of Münster in Cologne Cathedral. Felix Genn has been the bishop since 2009.

Münster is known for its historic old town, which was partially reconstructed after the Second World War.



It is estimated that the small Saxon settlement of Mimigernaford has been in the area of ​​Domplatz since the 6th century. In 793 the Frisian missionary Liudger founded a monastery (Latin: monasterium) at the ford over the Münstersche Aa, which gave the developing city its name. In 805 he was appointed the first bishop of Munster, and construction work on the first cathedral began.

Due to the growing number of inhabitants, Münster received city rights in 1170. During this period, the city fortifications were built. The city wall was about four kilometers long and was reinforced by additional fortifications in the middle of the 14th century. At that time, Münster was the largest city in Westphalia. In the late Middle Ages, the corporations played an important role in the municipal constitution of the city, naming the electorates who were involved in the election of the councilors. Until 1458, the passive council suffrage was available exclusively to the city nobility, popularly known as heirmen. Only hereditary families like the Bischopinck, Droste zu Hülshoff, Kerckerinck (all others have since expired) etc. provided the councilors, mayors and prince-bishop city judges. The hereditary men, after whom many streets in Münster are named, represented Münster in the prince-bishop's government, in the state parliament of the prince-bishopric and at the Hanseatic days.

Between 1358 and 1454, Münster gained great importance as a member and from 1494 as a suburb of the Hanseatic League in Westphalia. The Prinzipalmarkt, for example, bears witness to this, the splendid merchants' houses of which date from this era, most of which were destroyed in the Second World War and rebuilt in many simplified ways.

In 1534 the dramatic episode of the Anabaptist Empire in Münster began. It culminated in the proclamation of the Kingdom of Zion in September 1534 by Jan van Leiden with himself as king. However, this kingdom only lasted until June 24, 1535, when troops of Bishop Franz von Waldeck took the besieged city. The tortured and executed leaders of the Anabaptists were then hung up in three iron baskets in the Lamberti Church as a deterrent. The originals of the baskets from 1535 are still hanging there. They are often mistakenly called cages. The main reasons for this are reports from foreign authors and visitors who reported from the end of the 18th century on the rule of the "Anabaptists" with negative terms, as well as translation errors in Latin manuscripts about the Anabaptist empire.

In 1648 an event of European importance took place in Münster and Osnabrück. The Peace of Westphalia was concluded, ending the Thirty Years 'War and the Eighty Years' War. As the “Place of Peace of Westphalia”, the town hall in Münster, along with the one in Osnabrück, was awarded the European Heritage Seal by the European Commission in mid-2015.

At the same time, around 1648, the struggle for the city's independence reached its climax. It culminated in the attempt to elevate Münster to the status of a Free Imperial City. With this, however, the conflict between the bourgeoisie and the ecclesiastical sovereign was predetermined. It resulted in an open confrontation with Prince-Bishop Christoph Bernhard von Galen, who took the city in 1661 after an eight-month siege and temporarily withdrew all rights.

After the death of the last prince-bishop in 1801, the city was occupied a year later by the Prussian general Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher. This measure was only legitimized in 1803 by the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss, before Napoleon's troops took and occupied the city in 1806. Due to the agreements made in the Treaty of Tilsit in 1807, the city and the surrounding area became part of the Grand Duchy of Berg in 1808. Münster became the capital of the Ems department. In 1811 the region was finally ceded to France. Munster now belonged to the Hanseatic departments and became part of the French Empire. In 1813 the French were driven out of the city by Prussian and Russian troops. Since the reorganization of Europe by the Congress of Vienna, Münster officially belonged to the Kingdom of Prussia from 1815 and was the provincial capital of the newly founded Province of Westphalia.

Due to the economic boom in the second half of the 19th century and the incorporation of smaller surrounding communities, the number of inhabitants exceeded the mark of 100,000 in 1915 and Münster became a major city. At the end of the First World War - as in the capital Berlin - the Republic was proclaimed on November 9, 1918 on Neuplatz. The soldiers' council set up a short time later was only ousted a few months later in February 1919 by General Oskar von Watter.


During the time of National Socialism, Münster was the seat of the Gau leadership of the Gau "Westfalen-Nord" and the Ordnungspolizei, under whose direction around 200,000 "law enforcement officers" were involved in the mass murder of Jews, Sinti, Roma, homosexuals and other groups. An outstanding figure in the resistance against the National Socialists was Clemens August Graf von Galen, who became known far beyond the boundaries of the city and the diocese of Münster through his fight against the arbitrariness of the Gestapo against Catholic institutions and the inhuman euthanasia program of the National Socialists and was nicknamed The Lion received from Munster. During the Second World War, Münster was one of the most heavily destroyed cities in Germany. About 91% of the old town and 63% of the entire city were destroyed by British bombing as part of the moral-bombing strategy. At the beginning of April 1945, Münster was occupied by US troops. Elsewhere in Germany, the war continued until the beginning of May. It finally ended on May 8th with the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht.

In the 1950s, unlike in many other major German cities, at the insistence of the population, part of the historic old town was rebuilt similar to the pre-war state.

The 24th German Fire Brigade Day took place in Münster from June 17 to 21, 1970.

On June 18, 1990, Hans-Dietrich Genscher and Eduard Schewardnadse met in Münster in the historic town hall to prepare the two-plus-four talks that paved the way for reunification. The people of Münster gave the politicians an enthusiastic reception on the Prinzipalmarkt, which Shevardnadze visibly moved.

At the end of July 2014 there was a storm in Münster and the surrounding area with the most violent thunderstorms in recent years. Especially on July 28th and 29th, several strong thunderstorms hit the same area one after the other. The amount of rain that fell in Münster was an event of the century. A station of the State Environment Agency reported an amount of 292 l / m² within seven hours; otherwise there is an average of around 69 l / m² throughout July. Countless streets and cellars were flooded, one person died in his flooded cellar. The city of Münster expects damage of 15 to 20 million euros to urban buildings and infrastructure alone. On April 7, 2018, there was a rampage in the city center; four people were killed; the gunman took his own life.


Geographical location

Münster is located on the Münsterschen Aa, 15 km south of its confluence with the Ems, in the Westphalian lowland bay covered by sandy-loamy deposits in the middle of a landscape characterized by scattered settlements and individual farms, the Münsterland. The ice-age sediments of the Münsterländer gravel-sand train run through the city in the center in a north-south direction. The highest point is the Vorbergshügel in the nature reserve Vorbergs Hügel at 99.8 m above sea level, the lowest point is in the north of the urban area on the Ems at an altitude of 38.6 m above sea level. Münster's city center is 60 m above sea level. , measured on the Prinzipalmarkt in front of the town hall.

The Dutch city of Enschede is about 65 km away. Other large cities in the vicinity are the large cities in the Ruhr area (Herne and Bochum about 55 km and 59 km southwest, Dortmund about 61 km south, and Gelsenkirchen 61 km southwest), Osnabrück about 44 km north, Hamm about 34 km south and Bielefeld about 62 km east.

Münster is one of the 42 German agglomerations and is one of the largest cities in Germany. However, this includes larger, sparsely populated, rural areas of the places incorporated in 1975. Almost half of the urban area is used for agriculture, which explains the relatively low population density of a good 1000 inhabitants per km².

In addition, the contiguous urban area is comparatively large in terms of area, as the development is lower than in other cities with a comparable number of inhabitants. This is mainly due to the high proportion of single-family houses and villas as well as the mostly only two to three-story apartment buildings. In contrast, there are only a few high-rise buildings, tenements and skyscrapers are not found in Münster. What is striking compared to other German cities is that the houses were often built in brick and are often gable instead of eaves. Nevertheless, there are high population densities of up to 15,000 inhabitants per km² in some areas of the city center around the historical core. This results in a settlement density, i.e. the population density in the populated urban area, of around 2,890 inhabitants per km².

The total area of ​​the urban area of ​​300.327 km² is divided into 74.181 km² settlement areas, 26.429 km² traffic areas, 194.012 km² vegetation areas and 6.001 km² water areas. The circumference is 107 km, the extension from north to south 24.4 km and from west to east 20.6 km.

The amount of precipitation in the city is around 773 mm per year (mean 1981-2010), about the average in Germany. Nevertheless, Münster is a rainy city - not because of the absolute amount of precipitation, but rather because of the relatively high number of rainy days (an average of 189 per year) with often little rainfall. The Münsterland dialect even knows a special term for the unproductive but prolonged rainfall: the word "Meimeln". The average temperature is 9.8 ° C with around 1580 hours of sunshine a year. In terms of the annual hours of sunshine, however, Münster does worse than many southern and eastern German cities. The Münster winters are relatively mild in a national comparison, so that it snows comparatively seldom, while the summer temperatures correspond to the national average.

The highest daily rainfall was recorded on July 28, 2014: The MeteoGroup weather station at Aasee / Zoo reported a rainfall of 122.2 l / m², the State Environment Agency registered 292.5 l / m² within seven hours at its station at the main sewage treatment plant. The record rainfall led to heavy flooding throughout the city and in neighboring Greven.