Münster. A City Guide
"It either rains or the church bells ring - and, when these two things coincide, it is bound to be Sunday". This popular saying does not necessarily have to come from someone living outside Münster. It could also be an ironic statement from one of Münster's own citizens. Nevertheless, the average citizen of this city is either a well-to-do civil servant or an industrious business man - and he regards himself as a citizen of a town that is said to be "one of the most beautiful among the beautiful cities in Germany". Keeping this in mind, it is easy to laugh - even at yourself.
Maybe one of Münster's many students was the first to use this description. Münster University is the third largest in Germany, and many of its students, who like to make fun of the city when they arrive here, decide to stay in Münster after finishing their exams. (...)
To the left of the City Hall you will find the "Municipal Wine House" ("Stadtweinhaus (33)) which dates back to the years 1615/16 and which forms an in-te-resting contrast, as far as art-history is con-cerned, to the neighbouring City Hall. (...)
The latter is a fine example of Gothic architecture - the former is regarded as one of Münster's most important buildings of the late Renaissance period. Its gable is richly ornamented with spiral-shaped decorations, and at the front of the building there is another projecting portico, called the "Laube" which reaches up to the first floor, the upper part of which forms a balcony. (...)
Under or right in front of the "Laube" judicial sentences were pronounced. Thus, the two arches of the "Laube" were referred to as "Sentenzbogen". In order to deter others from crime, the culprits received their punishment directly after the verdict was announced - right at the place where you are standing now. A nice assortment of instruments of torture was available including the ever-popular pillory. However, death sentences were usually carried out on the "Galgheide" ("Galgen" = gallows) outside the city gates. There, just one gibbet was not enough. People in those days were highly imaginative, so the poor wretches were beheaded, broken upon the wheel, burnt alive, or quartered, according to circumstances.
Today, the Municipal Wine House is all about politics
... to make up for that, we would like to cite a few of the ten commandments from the Catechism for the True Citizens of Münster, which are no less revealing than the above-mentioned anecdotes. This catechism - the author of which very wisely chose to remain anonymous - was published in 1835, and here are a few excerpts:
"Thou shalt not suffer a stranger near thee; and thou shalt never get a favourable impression of someone who is not born and bred in the Münsterland." (1st Commandment)
"Thou shalt not strive for innovation." (2nd Commandment)
"Thou shalt never suffer thirst." (5th Commandment)
There were special commandments intended for the fair sex, for example the 6th Commandment:
"Thou shalt never show a friendly face to thy husband except when thou asketh him for money or a new dress." (6th Commandment)
© copyright by NW-Verlag Münster 1998 (now Solibro®-Verlag)