What do Osnabrück´s and Münster´s town halls have in common with the Europe of the 21st century? A lot! In particular, for 2015, the European Commission awarded them the European Heritage Label of “Places of Peace of Westphalia”.
The distinguished places with this label had deeply changed the European history and participated in its evolution. In 1648, the negotiations about the Peace of Westphalia occurred in Osnabrück´s and Münster´s town halls. This peace ended the bloody Thirty Year´s war and the religious wars thanks to diplomatic debates instead of military force.
With it, the basis of the European community was created just like good international relationships that still exist now. In Osnabrück, a goal that is even more important was set: an administrative turnover in Germany between the catholic and the protestant princes-bishops was decided and applied until 1803, thanks to it, a peace between those religious confessions appeared.
The European Commission wanted to give a specific value to the European idea that still play an important role, in particular, in the youth consciousness, of the existence of a strong European identity. „In the 17th century, this is in our town hall that the attribution of the Highs Officials positions in Europe was negotiated. Nowadays, we have, every year, young ambassadors who come from our partner cities. This unique federal concept but also the many different European schools make Osnabrück a European city” explains the mayor Wolfgang Griesert. “But this is also thanks to the cultural activities like the European Media Art Festival does and also thanks to the cross-border associations like EUREGIO that promotes the European idea and its process of unification.”
Besides the idea of religious tolerance, the idea of conciliation and compromise is the major result of the peace of Westphalia. For the European history, the “Places of Peace of Westphalia”; Osnabrück and Münster, are still a proof of real peace. The key words and the fields are Dialogue and Sharing cultures and religions. On the supra-regional and European plan, the cultural activities are experienced in many different ways and are developed.
Nowadays, from the Baltic region to Portugal, there are 29 places with the European Heritage Label which also support activities that create European present and future.
For more information about the European Heritage Label, you can find here the links to the 29 labeled sites: Map of European Cultural Heritage Sites
Büro für Friedenskultur
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