When I went to Münster for the third time to visit the big exhibition “Peace. From Antiquity to the Present Day”, I also made a day trip to the city of Osnabrück, about an hour’s drive from Münster. It was a bit grey when I arrived, but as soon as I stepped into the Old Town, I felt my heart do a little happy dance.
Small pedestrian streets, buildings in every possible color and the smell of coffee coming from a cafe that just opened for the day. But it wasn’t just pretty here, there are plenty of things to do in Osnabrück as well.
Things to do in Osnabrück, Germany
The center of Osnabrück (the part inside the ring road) is pretty small and can easily be visited within a day without too much planning ahead. Below you can find some of the places I stopped at.
1. City Hall of the Peace of Westphalia with Treasury
Together with the city of Münster, Osnabrück was the scene of the negotiations for, and the eventual signing of, the Peace of Westphalia Treaty. And just like in Münster, the room as Osnabrück’s city hall where the treaty was signed, is now known as the Hall of Peace.
With its white walls, it looks a little brighter than its counterpart but other than that, the halls are very similar. A big chandelier (*cue the song*) adorns the ceiling while portraits of royals and emissaries remind us of who was present at the negotiations.
What’s really cool is that you can even see a copy of the signed Treaty of Westphalia in the Treasure Chamber.
The Hall of Peace at Osnabrück’s city hall is freely accessible and open when city hall is open, except during special events. Aside from the Hall of Peace, Osnabrück city hall also has:
- the aforementioned Treasure Chamber
- an exhibition on Osnabrück’s partner cities
- information on Osnabrück as a “City of Peace”
- a portrait gallery of the (former) mayors of Osnabrück
- a portrait gallery of winners of the Erich-Maria-Remarque Peace Price (more on that below)
- a historical model of the city
- a temporary exhibition space for changing exhibitions about the modern history of the city
Opening hours Hall of Peace and Information Office at City Hall:
- Mon-Fri: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Sat: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Sun: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Opening hours may be different on holidays.
Learn more about the Peace of Westphalia
“The Thirty Years War” tells the story of a divided Europe, the events that lead to this nightmarish war as well as how peace was finally established. It does so in a both detailed and colorful way, combining great storytelling and clear language with historical facts.
2. Erich Maria Remarque Peace Center
The Erich Maria Remarque Peace Center houses a permanent exhibition about the life and work of the Osnabrück-born author Erich Maria Remarque. All of the information panels are both in English and German, providing background for the images and objects on display.
Erich Maria Remarque wrote many works about the horrors of the war, of which “All Quiet on the Western Front” is one of the best-known as it was turned into an Oscar-winning movie. His writing made him an enemy in the eyes of the Nazis, which led him to flee Germany for Zwitserland, the States and then later Zwitserland again, where he eventually died.
The city of Osnabrück now annually awards the “Erich-Maria-Remarque-Friedenspreis” to writers who’s work affects, in one way or another, the establishment of peace around the world. The prize was established in 1991.
By the entrance of the Erich Maria Reparque Peace Center, there’s also a temporary exhibition space. At the time of my visit, there was an impressive photo exhibition around the theme of refugees.
Erich Maria Remarque Peace Center
- Tue-Fri: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
- Sat-Sun: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission is free.
3. Felix Nussbaum Haus
This striking modern museum, with its crooked walls and heavy doors, was designed by the American architect Daniel Libeskind who also designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin. It opened in 1998 and now houses the largest collection of works by the Jewish painter Felix Nussbaum who, just like Erich Maria Remarque, was born in Osnabrück. Nussbaum was murdered in Auschwitz in 1944.
The museum gives a biographical overview of the life of Nussbaum through the evolution of his art. When I was there, his paintings were mixed with and accompanied by photos of the current migration crisis. In this light, it was maybe no coincidence that Nussbaum’s painting “The Refugees” really stood out to me.
Lotter Strasse 2, Osnabrück (just outside the old city walls)
- Tue-Fri: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- 1st Thu of the month: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
- Sat-Sun: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Ticket prices: €5 for adults. Discounts available.
When I visited Osnabrück, the city was just celebrating its “May Week” and food stands had taken over both the Marktplatz and surrounding shopping streets, so I couldn’t get a good picture of the square. But that’s only more reason to go check it out for yourself, right?
On the Marktplatz, you can find the Town Hall, the Marienkirche, the City Library and the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Center as well as some colorful houses. It’s definitely a place to see in Osnabrück.
5. Go shopping
From the Marktplatz, you immediately reach Osnabrücks biggest shopping streets such as Grosse Strasse and Grosse Hamkenstrasse. You’ll mostly find the international chain stores here like H&M and Zara, as well as a few German chains.
6. Go back to university
To the south of the shopping area, lies the University of Osnabrück. It’s located on the grounds of the Schloss Osnabrück or Osnabrück Castle, a bright yellow/orange building with a big lawn where students and others come to picknick or just hang when the weather is nice.
7. Visit the St. Peter’s Cathedral
I didn’t go into the St. Peter’s Cathedral, but it’s quite an impressive building and hard to pass as it’s located in the center of the Old Town. There’s a little square in front of it, the Domplatz, but when I was visited that was also taken over by food and fair stands that were there for the May Week activities.
8. Walk the Witches Way
To the left of the cathedral, you can enter the Witches Way, a tiny alley that goes around the back of the church. There’s not much to see, but it’s fun to walk through and it gives you a bit of a different perspective of the cathedral.
9. Photograph the Ledenhof
In the Middle Ages, the Ledenhof was the home of the noble von Leden family. It used to be much bigger, but only a part of it remains. It currently houses the German Foundation for Peace Research which you can’t really visit, but the house makes for a fun stop because of its quirky colors and patterns. It’s located right by the university too.
10. Have lunch at Zimmer 4
Zimmer 4 offers light bites and a daily special or two for lunch. Before 11.30 a.m. you can also come here for breakfast and after 5 p.m. their dinner menu starts. I took a break at their lovely terrace – it’s surrounded by plants, shutting you off from the street and passersby – and ordered a chicken salad.
Service was friendly and prices were alright, but I was slightly disappointed with my salad as the “cherry tomatoes and cucumber” mentioned on the menu consisted out of one cherry tomato and two slices of cucumber. Then there was a big pile of (granted, yummy) salad and a little bit too little chicken for my liking. I enjoyed it, but I did need a little snack in the afternoon to keep me going until dinner time.
If you’re planning on visiting lots of museums and making Osnabrück your base to explore the region, you might want to check out the Osnabrück CityCard.
It gives you access to:
- the Felix-Nussbaum-Haus and the the Kulturgeschichtliches Museum (normally €5)
- the Kunsthalle Osnabrück (normally €5)
- the Museum am Schölerberg – Natur und Umwelt/Planetarium (normally €5)
- the MuseumIndustriekultur/Piesberg (normally €5)
- the Diözesanmuseum (normally €5)
The card also mentions the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Center, but this has free admission.
Aside from entering these museums, the card also allows you to make free use of the city’s bus network and gives you 10 vouchers for discounts on other activities.
Prices for the card:
Ticket for one day:
– 8 € per person (adults and children aged 14 and above)
– 11 € for a family (two adults with a maximum of two children up to the age of 14
Ticket for two days:
– 11 € per person or
– 16 € per family
This is valid for any two days within a period of three months.
You can buy the CityCard at the Osnabrück Tourist Information | Osnabrücker Land
Osnabrücker Land Bierstraße 22-23
Mon- Fri: 9.30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sat: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
or at the Central Ticket Office of Stadtwerke Osnabrück (Mobilitätszentrale)
Mon-Fri: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sat: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
How to get to Osnabrück
I drove there and parked my car at the Stadthaus-Garage from where I just had to cross the street to reach the Old Town. There are plenty of parking garages around Osnabrück. Just do a search on Google Maps for “Osnabrück parking”.
Alternatively, you can take the train to Osnabrück Hbf, which is the main train station.
Click here for European train travel timetables.
For those coming from afar, Osnabrück also shares an international airport with Münster, so you could check if there are flights to the Osnabrück – Münster airport, but chances are higher that you’ll fly to Cologne or Düsseldorf.
And that’s it! I hope you decide to go enjoy Osnabrück yourself and if you do: let me know how it was 🙂
Pin for later
I was a guest of Osnabrück Marketing und Tourismus during my stay in the city. They invited me to come and check it out. The German National Tourism Board supported my drive there and back. Make sure to check out their information page about Osnabrück. As always when I enter partnerships like these, they had no say over what and how I’d write about my trip. My opinion will always be my own.
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