Population: 299,708 (2014)
Area: 303 km2 (117 mi2)
Dialing Code: +49
Electricity Adapter: 230 V, 50 Hz, Plug/Soket Types: C / F
Time Zone: Central European Time (UTC+1); Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Bicycles everywhere. I turn right, I almost trip over a bike that wasn’t there a second ago; I turn left, and WHOOSH! – I almost get run over by some college kid on another bike. Literally, bicycles everywhere.
Münster is a university city, which explains some of the bicycles; it’s obsession with remaining “the bicycle capital of Germany” explains the rest of them. Really, I’ve never seen more bikes than in Münster.
Münster has a lot to offer; as the administrative capital of the North Rhine-Westphalia region of the country, the city touts some impressive attractions. Instead of following in the footsteps of other great European cities and straddling a river, Münster stands around a picturesque lake, the Aasee. Standing around this man-made reservoir are some interesting institutions, such as the Museum of Natural History and the Münster Zoo.
The city has plenty of attractions north of the Aasee, as well. Head over to the Prinzipalmarkt to see the Town Hall where the Treaty of Westphalia was signed. Nearby looms the dark tower of the Lambertikirche, a church with an even darker history than its stone; at the top of the steeple hangs still three cages where rebellious, radical leaders of a religious movement were tortured and hung as a reminder to the city’s citizens.
Münster boasts a great transportation network, if you choose not to take a bike like everyone else. Buses and trams run frequently, and stop at or near most of the places you are likely to visit. The Hauptbahnhof, or Central Station (rail), of Münster is one of the main stations in the region, and thus offers plenty of travel options between itself and some other large cities via DB, such as Cologne, Dortmund, and Hamburg. Oh, and try taking a nice day trip over to Nordkirchen, about an hour away by bus, home to the magnificent castle, Schloss Nordkirchen.