Sunday, July 10, 2022

Germany: 10+ Artsy & Cool Reasons To Visit Muenster & Kassel

By Jacquelin Carnegie
Prinzipalmarkt, Münster
In Germany's Westphalia region, Münster (Muenster) and Kassel offer culture lovers ample reasons to visit.
Two Top Art Celebrations

The contemporary art fair documenta takes place every 5 years in Kassel (next one in 2022) and the Muenster Sculpture Project is organized every 10 years (next one in 2027, when both events will be on).
Muenster Sculpture Project ( is not held in a museum. Instead, fantastic sculptures are strategically-placed throughout the town. Learn about the sculptures with a knowledgeable guide on a tour--bike or walking. After each Project, Muenster selects a piece to add to their public art collection. 
documenta ( is a prestigious, contemporary art exhibition—like the Venice Biennale--held in Kassel. See them both in 2027! Trains linking Muenster and Kassel take about two hours.
Münster is a lovely, university town with cobblestone streets and charming, historic buildings and churches. Even when the Sculpture Project is not taking place, it’s worth a visit. As a university town, Muenster’s full of pubs, restaurants and year-round cultural events, not to mention some fascinating history as well as a lovely lakeside area, Lake Aasee

Nicole Eisenman, Sketch for a Fountain, 
Münster (photo: Henning Rogge)

Getting Around: Bike - Muenster is considered the "Bike Capital of Germany" with a truly-impressive network of bicycle paths throughout the town and beyond with lots of places to rent/park bikes. Münster Map: Wander around on your own and/or download this helpful map.
Try the Ale and Fare
In addition to lots of bicycles and plenty of history, Muenster's got great beer and grub: Brauerei Pinkus (Kreuzstrasse 4-10; - Be sure to sample some local beer at the bar/restaurant of Muenster’s oldest brewery (1816).
Altes Gasthaus Leve (Alter Steinweg 37; - Enjoy regional specialties at Muenster’s oldest restaurant (1607).
Prinzipalmarkt, Münster 
See the Historic Sights
Rathaus - Town Hall (Prinzipalmarkt 10; - Now designated a European Heritage site, in 1648, the Peace of Westphalia treaty was signed here, ending the Thirty Years War. It's open to the public to view the Friedenssaal (Hall of Peace). Prinzipalmarkt: The Rathaus is located on the Prinzipalmarkt, a nice pedestrian area where you can stroll, shop, or just relax at a cafe.
Churches: Muenster has so many beautiful churches in the Gothic, Romanesque, Classicism, and Baroque-style that their towers define the skyline. It was also here in Muenster that Cardinal Clemens von Galen preached against the Nazi regime, during that era. Be sure to visit: St. Paulus-Dom - St. Paul’s Cathedral (Domplatz 28; - This Gothic and Romanesque-style cathedral was originally built in the 8th century and restored in the 13th. St. Lamberti Kirche (Lambertikirchplaz 1; - Famous for the Anabaptist Rebellion of 1533-34 and as the church where von Galen gave his anti-Nazi sermons.

Thomas Schütte, Cherry Tree,
Münster (photo: Henning Rogge)
Art Stop: Kunstmuseum Pablo Picasso (Königsstrasse 1; - Germany's only Picasso museum features prints and more than 800 of his lithographs; it also mounts special exhibitions.
Day Trip: In the surrounding countryside of Münsterland, there are 100 magnificent castles to view. See them biking (on your own or on a bike tour) or driving.
Where To Stay: There's a wide selection of hotels in Muenster from the Stadthotel to the Hotel Feldmann. Many offer special Sculpture Project packages. In the countryside: Hotel Hof zur Linde; Hotel Schloss Wilkinghege
While the hoopla surrounding documenta only happens every five years, Kassel's lovely parks, palaces, and museums can be visited at any time. Another draw is the connection to the Grimm brothers and the famous Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Kassel is the "capital city" of the German Fairy Tale Route (which you can drive; see the map on the website).
Places To Discover
Grimmwelt - Grimm World (Weinbergstrasse 21; - Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Snow White, etc. These fairy tales, that have fascinated and frightened children for generations, were not written by the Grimm brothers. They were tradition folktales passed down through the ages, usually by word of mouth. The brothers Jacob and Wilhelm collected them to preserve them for future generations. The museum documents their life and work.

Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe ( - This impressive hillside park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the city’s main attractions. Some of the outstanding features include: Baroque grounds and English landscape gardens; a cascading, ornamental water display; a Hercules monument; the Wilhelmshöhe Palace and the Löwenburg Castle.
Where To Stay: There are several good hotel choices in Kassel, in addition to special, hotel-package deals during documenta. Or, you can just do a day trip from Muenster, about two hours by train.

Biking, Münsterland

Getting There: The easiest way to get to Muenster (then on to Kassel) is through Düsseldorf, a transit hub and another interesting German city to visit. Several airlines have direct flights to Düsseldorf from various US gateways: United, Lufthansa, etc., then catch a train right from the airport to Münster. Germany has an excellent train network between cities; you can even get your tickets before you leave through RailEurope or Omio, a great site that cost compares flight, train & bus options.

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