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blog Blog 2020

Münster

Münster is another neat small city in the path taking us back to the Nederlands. The name comes from the Latin monasterium, a clue to it’s origins. Like the others it has quite a long history. It was in 793 that missionaries were sent by Charlemage to convert the people in the area. A monk named Ludger, called the Apostle of Saxony, founded a school during this period, which helped establish the city as an important center, as did its location on a ford and crossroad.

Anabaptists took power in 1534. Private property was abolished, all books aside from the Bible were burned. They called the city “New Jerusalem.” Its leader John of Leiden believed he would conquer the world and eliminate evil as preparation for the Second Coming. This unusual situation lasted about a year. The Anabaptists were tortured and killed. The corpses were placed in metal baskets. The baskets are still be suspended from St Lambert Church.

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St. Lambert’s. You should be able to see the baskets just above the clock

The University of Münster was established in 1780. It is now a major university with 40,000 students and curriculua in all the major fields. The city has major research facilities.

The Bishop of Münster, Cardinal Clemens August Graf von Galen, was a prominent critics of the Nazis. As a result Hitler placed many troops in the city. Five large barrack complexes remain. 

The current Cathedral in Münster dates from 1265. The first church on the site was built in the 9th century and a second in the 10th or 11th, demolished to build the current structure. It was badly damaged in WWII. It was not restored to its state before the war. The rose window has been vastly simplified, for instance.

munster cathedral
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Jesus in an unusual posture, in the Cathedral

The city has a lively atmosphere. There are lots of shops and eateries. It is notable for its quality of life with its many parks and pedestrian zones. There is good transport, lots of bike lanes and in normal years there is much to do.

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August Mack, Artist’s Wife with Hat, in the Westphalian State Museum of Art and Cultural History

There is a Picasso Museum and several others. I’d say this city and the areas close by are worth a longer visit. I think I could find enough to see and do there to stay for a few weeks or maybe a month.

By Gary Kirkpatrick

Artist and travel blogger.

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