Historic Münster: On the trail of the Peace of Westphalia
The Peace of Westphalia, signed in Münster and Osnabrück in 1648, did not merely end the Thirty Years’ War, and with it an unimaginable epidemic of murder, which laid waste to and depopulated entire areas: It simultaneously established a European peace administration advocating the equality between states and made a significant contribution to the formation of modern international law. The United Provinces of the Netherlands achieved independence from Habsburg Spain during the negotiations in Münster. This is one of the reasons why the city is so popular with Dutch visitors, who often visit the historic Town Hall with the Peace Hall and the "Krameramtshaus" guild house.
Peace Hall in the historic Town Hall
The Peace Hall originally served as the council chamber, and was the scene of the first major diplomatic congress over a period of almost five years from 1644 onwards. The first part of an important treaty was concluded on 15th May 1648: Spain recognised the Netherlands’ sovereignty after an 80-year war. The hall’s artistic embellishments fortunately escaped Second World War bombing because the magnificent carvings were moved to safety in 1942. Portraits of diplomats and emissaries who negotiated the Peace hang on the walls.
Friedenssaal im Rathaus (Peace Hall in the Town Hall), Prinzipalmarkt
Tuesday to Friday from 10 am – 5 pm; Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays from 10 am – 4 pm
ph. 02 51 / 4 92-27 24
Krameramtshaus guild house ("Haus der Niederlande"/ “House of The Netherlands“)
This Renaissance building, which dates back to the year 1589, is one of the oldest guild houses in Münster. The building was used by the grocers' guild as a meeting point and storehouse. The building was used to house the Dutch emissaries during the negotiations which led to the Peace of Westphalia. It has been home to the Science and Cultural Centre "Haus der Niederlande" ("House of the Netherlands") since 1995. Exhibitions, book presentations, lectures and film showings are organised here.
"Krameramtshaus" guild house / Haus der Niederlande (House of the Netherlands), Alter Steinweg 6/7
Library opening hours: Monday to Friday from 9 am – 6 pm
ph. 02 51 / 8 32 85 13