Osnabrück’s political and cultural life believes in the maxim: "The task of peace – committed to peace". After 5 years of negotiations the "Peace of Westphalia" that ended the Thirty Years' War was proclaimed on the steps of the Town Hall in 1648. Since more than 65 years local fourth graders commemorate this event every year with a hobbyhorse parade.
Nowadays, people still come together where merchants used to meet in the old days: The "Markt" (market place) remains the heart of the city and hosts weddings, festivals, wine stands and the Christmas market. Its picturesque flair is formed by the Town Hall of the Peace of Westphalia, the "Stadtwaage" (city scales), St Mary’s Church and the high gables of the old merchant houses. Just a few steps further, you will be impressed by the late Romanesque cathedral (St Peter’s Cathedral).
From 1412-1669, Osnabrück was a member of the "Hanse" (Hanseatic League), the most important trading alliance of its time that brought great status and wealth to its member cities. These days, the old trade routes turned into pleasant streets with attractive shops. The mixture of historic quarters and modern architecture is the hallmark of Osnabrück whose status as University city (almost 27,000 students) completes its long history of Episcopal power.
Osnabrück is popular for being compact. Whether for sightseeing, shopping, strolling or studying – a good layout and short distances are a plus for all guests.
Moreover, Osnabrück (165,000 inhabitants) is very fortunate to be located in the middle of a nature reserve. With 1,220 square kilometers the UNESCO Global Geopark TERRA.vita is wide open for cycling or hiking tours or for improving your handicap on one of the many golf courses around Osnabrück. Embedded between the Teutoberg Forest ant the "Wiehengebirge", the green traces of this nature reserve stretch right into the inner city of Osnabrück.
Around 780, Charlemagne, king of the Franks, erected a stone church on the banks of the Hase River the nucleus of today’s Osnabrück. The city’s name presumably a combination of the low German words Ossen (ox) an Brügge (bridge). As a hub of old trading routes and as the seat of a bishop, Osnabrück developed into a thriving center for commerce in the Middle Ages. In 1157, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa granted the city its fortification privileges. Most of the towers that were part of the medieval fortification are still visible in the city.
From 1412-1669, Osnabrück was a member of the Hanse (Hanseatic League) as well as a member of the Westphalian federation of Cities. Magnificent town houses and other prestigious buildings bear witness to the power and wealth of the medieval merchants. Osnabrück became important during the negotiations for the Peace of Westphalia that took place here as well as in Münster between 1643-1648. The Peace of Westphalia, proclaimed in October 1648, finally ended the Thirty years’ War and changed the face of Europe. While the Catholics used Münster as a venue, the Protestants resided in Osnabrück. As a result of this time Osnabrück was alternately ruled by Catholic and Protestant bishops until 1803.
Osnabrück became widely known amongst literature lovers through the works of one of its own sons, Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970). The Erich Maria Remarque-Peace Center dedicates an exhibition to his life and literary work. Another of the city’s natives is Felix Nussbaum. The artist was born in 1904 in Osnabrück and died in 1944 in Auschwitz. The renowned architect Daniel Libeskind designed the Felix Nussbaum Museum as a special place for Nussbaum’s artistic work. The architecture of the building is intended as “rooms against Oblivion” and captivates visitors by its unusual interior design.