More views of Münster
Living in Münster and the University of Münster

The city of Münster was awarded the LivCom Award 2004 as the most liveable community in category D (average daytime population 200,001 - 1,000,000). Every year since 1997, The International Awards for Liveable Communities are given to cities in 5 categories with different population numbers. The program Nations in Bloom is endorsed by the United Nations Environment Program for best practice in the management of the local environment. Münster has won the gold medal in 2004 ahead of Coventry (GB) and Seattle (USA). Other finalists in the same category were Bayamon (Puerto Rico), Changshu ( P.R. China), Newcastle upon Tyne (England), Okayama (Japan), and Poznan (Poland). (see LivCom homepage).

Formerly the capital of Westfalen, Münster is a modern city with a population of about 280,000. As the economic heart of the Münsterland, a region of 1.2 million inhabitants, the city commands a position of considerable economic and social significance. Numerous state and communal administrations are situated here, in addition to many important wholesale and retail businesses. One of the main tourist attractions of Münster is the “Prinzipalmarkt” (Main Market place) including the historical Town Hall, where in 1648, the Treaty of Westfalia which ended the 30 Years’ War was signed – an early document of European unification.

A major attraction for both locals and visitors is the large, colorful market which is held every Wednesday and Saturday on the square outside the city’s Cathedral. As in the neighboring Netherlands, one of the things that strikes all newcomers to Münster is the enormous number of cyclists. The Promenade – a green ring that encircles the whole center – is also known as the “bicycle high-way”. Another favorite area for recreation within the city is the “Aasee”, a lake located just a few minutes away from the city center. The Münsterland, the region surrounding the city, is rich in moated castles and country houses known as the “Pearls of the Münsterland”. Some 100 of these homes of the former aristocracy have survived.

The University of Münster employs ca. 600 tenured professors and about 2,700 additional academic staff. With approximately 39,000 students, this is the largest university in Northrhine- Westfalia and the third largest in Germany.

As a public university, the State of Northrhine-Westfalia provides funds for operation, maintenance and building costs with assistance from federal sources. While the teaching budget consists largely of state funds, the research budget is comprised mainly from individual grants (e.g. Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Ministerium für Schule, Wissenschaft und Forschung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, Deutscher Akademischer
Austauschdienst, Fonds der Chemischen Industrie, Volkswagen-Stiftung, Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, European Community, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, Bundesministerium für Verbraucherschutz, Ernährung und Landwirtschaft, Arbeitsgemeinschaft Industrieller Forschungsvereinigungen, and various chemical companies). Independent from governmental intervention, the university is a self-governing institution. Among academics and researchers at Münster one can always find a large number of foreign guests, who work closely with native German specialists.

The University of Münster was founded in 1780 by Freiherr Franz von Fürstenberg. In 1805 it expanded to a Prussian State University for Westfalia with the Faculties of Law and Medicine. In 1843 its name changed to “Royal Academy of Theology and Arts”. In 1902 the academy was awarded the designation “Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität” by the Emperor Wilhelm II.

Currently the University of Münster offers curricula in more than 100 different fields ranging from Archeology to Zoology. It is composed of 15 departments (Fachbereiche), including Theology, Law, Medicine, Economics, Humanities, Languages, Philosophy, Music, Biology, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Geosciences, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy. Masters (Diplom) and doctoral degrees are offered in these areas. The first chemistry chair was established in 1856 (J. W. Hittorf) as part of the medical faculty. As an independent entity, the original chemistry institute was opened in 1879, and later replaced by the present premises of the Naturwissenschaftliches Zentrum, built during the period 1963–1966. Distinguished chemists who have worked in Münster include J. W. Hittorf (1824–1914), G. Domagk (1895– 1964), W. Klemm (1896–1987), F. Micheel (1900–1982), E. Wicke (1914–2000) and others.