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Coat of arms of Osnabrück
Osnabrück is located in Germany
Coordinates 52°16′44″N 8°2′35″E / 52.27889°N 8.04306°E / 52.27889; 8.04306
Country Germany
State Lower Saxony
District Urban district
Lord Mayor Boris Pistorius (SPD)
Basic statistics
Area 119.80 km2 (46.26 sq mi)
Elevation 63 m  (207 ft)
Population 163,357  (30 June 2006)
 - Density 1,364 /km2 (3,532 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate OS
Postal codes 49074–49090
Area code 0541
Theatre in Osnabrück.

Osnabrück (German pronunciation: [ɔsnaˈbʁʏk]) is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany, some 80 km NNE of Dortmund, 45 km NE of Münster, and some 100 km due west of Hannover. It lies in a valley penned between the Wiehengebirge and the northern tip of the Teutoburg Forest. As of June 30, 2006, its population was 163,357, making it the third-largest city in Lower Saxony.[1]



Osnabrück developed as a marketplace next to the bishop's see founded by Charlemagne, king of the Franks, 780. Some time before 803, the city became seat of the Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück. Although the precise date is uncertain, Osnabrück is likely the oldest bishopric in Lower Saxony.

In the year 804 Charlemagne was said to have founded the Gymnasium Carolinum (a school). This date would make it the oldest German Gymnasium. But the charter with the date is disputed by historians, some of whom believe it could be a forgery.

In 889 the town was given merchant, customs, and coinage privileges by King Arnulf of Carinthia. It is first mentioned as a "city" in records in 1147. Shortly after in 1157, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa granted the city fortification privileges (Befestigungsrecht). Part of the medieval fortification, most of the towers are still visible in the city. Osnabrück became a member of the Hanseatic League in the 12th century, as well as a member of the Westphalian Federation of Cities.

The main period of witch hunting in Osnabrück was between 1561 and 1639, a time of social unrest and tensions because of the Protestant Reformation and the European wars of religion. In the year 1582 during the reign of mayor Hammacher (1565–1588), 163 women were killed as alleged witches, most of them burned. During the tenure of mayor Dr. Pelster between 1636–1639, more than 40 women were killed as witches. In total, 276 women and 2 men were executed after a witch trial for wizardry.

In 1632 a Jesuit university was founded, based on the Gymnasium Carlinum. One year later it was closed under the Swedish reign of the Prince-Bishop. Between 1643-1648 negotiations in Münster and Osnabrück led to the Peace of Westphalia.

The city passed to the Electorate of Hanover in 1803 during the German Mediatisation and then briefly to the Kingdom of Prussia in 1806. It was part of the Kingdom of Westphalia from 1807–10, after which it passed to the First French Empire. After the Napoleonic Wars, it became part of the Kingdom of Hanover in 1815.

In 1866 Osnabrück was annexed by Prussia after the Austro-Prussian War and administered within the Province of Hanover. After World War II, when West Germany realigned its states, the city became part of the new state of Lower Saxony in 1946.

Main sights

Heger Tor, formerly called Waterloo Tor, a memorial to Elector Georg's 'German' Legion in Osnabrück.
  • Town Hall. It houses the Friedensaal, where the Peace of Westphalia was signed.
  • St. Peter's Cathedral, founded in the 11th century. It has two façade towers, originally of the same size. In 1502-1543 the south western tower was enlarged to make space for new cathedral bells which had been ordered. They turned out to be too large for the tower.
  • Heger Tor ("Heger Gate"), a monument to the soldiers from Osnabrück who died at the battle of Waterloo (1815).
  • Bucksturm, the oldest tower in the city, and once part of the city walls. It was once used as prison for women accused of witchcraft.
  • Ruwe Fountain" (1985), created for the city's 1200th birthday.
  • Gladiator 2000 (1986), a gigantic painting (45 × 6 meters) by Nicolae Covaci.
  • Felix Nussbaum Haus, a Gallery and Museum dedicated to the Jewish artist and painter Felix Nussbaum, who died in the Holocaust.
  • Kalkriese Museum, situated on the battlefield of the Teutoberger Wald, in which German tribes under Arminius destroyed three Roman legions. It exhibits artefacts unearthed on the battlefield and tells the story of the battle.

Famous people

Personalities from Osnabrück include the writer Erich Maria Remarque and the painters Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart and Felix Nussbaum. For the Jewish painter Nussbaum the city erected a very modern museum designed by Daniel Libeskind that opened in 1998. This looks like a scaled-down version of the same architect's well-known Jewish Museum in Berlin. British King George I was born and raised here, and the poet and scholar Johann Ernst Hanxleden was born in Osnabrück, as was the current Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, Christian Wulff,and reggae musician Gentleman. Victory Records recording artists Waterdown, known for their catchy post-hardcore sound, are based in Osnabrück. Actress Birgitta Tolksdorf, who made a name for herself in American television in the 1970s, as well as Peter van Pels, love interest of famous diarist Anne Frank, and his parents Auguste van Pels and Hermann van Pels, who would later gain fame from their roles in Anne's diary, all hailed from Osnabruck. The famous German stage and screen actor Mathias Wieman (1958 recipient of the Justus-Möser-Medaille (see German article Justus-Möser-Medaille) was born and raised in the city. The city is also hometown of well-known European politician and current European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering. Cory MacLennan (Harrow Rugby Player).


Two universities, the Universität Osnabrück (University of Osnabrück) and the Fachhochschule Osnabrück (University of Applied Science of Osnabrück), are located in the city. There also are all kinds of German grammar schools, including seven Gymnasien. As mentioned above, one of them, The Carolinum, may be the oldest school in Germany, which still exists today. The Carolinum also yearly participates in an exchange with Highworth Warneford School in the United Kingdom. Head of German at Highworth Warneford, Mr. Alan Thomas, goes with the exchange each year, and is central to its arrangement.


The city of Osnabrück is connected by road to the A1, the A30 and the A33. It shares the Münster Osnabrück International Airport together with the nearby city of Münster.

The "Hauptbahnhof" (Main Station) of Osnabrück is an important railway station. Travellers from the Netherlands heading for either Hamburg and Denmark, or Berlin and Eastern Europe, often have to change here.[citation needed]

An extensive bus service operated by Stadtwerke Osnabrück provides transportation within Osnabrück and the surrounding region.[1] The primary bus center is located at the Neumarkt shopping area, a short distance from the train station.

Districts of Osnabrück

Districts of Osnabrück

The city is divided into 23 districts:

  • 01 Innenstadt ("City")
  • 02 Weststadt ("Westerntown")
  • 03 Westerberg ("Western-mountain")
  • 04 Eversburg
  • 05 Hafen ("Harbour")
  • 06 Sonnenhügel ("Sunhill")
  • 07 Haste
  • 08 Dodesheide
  • 09 Gartlage
  • 10 Schinkel
  • 11 Widukindland
  • 12 Schinkel-Ost
  • 13 Fledder
  • 14 Schölerberg
  • 15 Kalkhügel ("Limehill")
  • 16 Wüste ("Desert")
  • 17 Sutthausen
  • 18 Hellern
  • 19 Atter
  • 20 Pye
  • 21 Darum/Gretesch/Lüstringen
  • 22 Voxtrup
  • 23 Nahne


The origin of the name Osnabrück is disputed. The suffix -brück suggests a bridge over or to something (from German Brücke = bridge) but the prefix Osna- is explained in at least two different ways: the traditional explanation is that today's name is a corruption of Ochsenbrücke (meaning "ox' bridge") but others say that it is derived from the name of the Hase River which again is argued to be derived from Asen (Æsir), giving Osnabrück the meaning Bridge to the Gods.[2] The pronunciation of the city's name can also serve as a means of telling if one is a native of Osnabrück or a visitor: most people from Osnabrück stress the last syllable while most people from elsewhere stress the first one. The city gave name to the textile fabric of Osnaburg (remember: "-burg" means castle and, in names, town).

Notable residents

Points of interest

  • University of Osnabrück
  • Botanischer Garten der Universität Osnabrück, the university's botanical garden
  • Liebeskind's Felix-Nussbaum-museum
  • Old town with its small streets with buildings from middle-age
  • Zoo of Osnabrück
  • City Center's Shopping square
  • Vitischanze - old time defence station at the north west point of the old city, has the only undestroyed bridge in Europe with a so called defence walk below the bridge's surface walk, casino is installed within the Vitischanze, nearby a parking house called Vitischanze
  • Haseuferweg

International relations

The Derby coat of arms

Twin towns — Sister cities

Osnabrück is twinned with:

Twinning with Derby

Osnabrück is twinned with Derby in England. The partnership treaty between the two cities was signed on 17 February 1976.

Osnabrück made contact with the British authorities as early as 1948, hoping to find an English twin town and therefore reach an understanding with their former enemies from the Second World War. Unfortunately this attempt was unsuccessful and Osnabrück did not consider an English twin town again until 1972. The twinning agreement with Derby was signed four years later in the historical Hall of Peace in Osnabrück's town hall. Since then the two towns have exchanged envoys. Derby also has a square named after Osnabrück, with an obelisk to commerate the twinning.

Osnabrück now has eleven twin and friendship cities: Derby (England), Anger (France), Haarlem (Netherlands), Çanakkale (Turkey), Tver (Russia), Greifswald (Germany), Vila Real (Portugal), Hefei (China), Evansville (USA), Gmünd (Austria), Gwangmyeong (Korea) and there are five envoys working at the twinning office in Osnabrück, who represent Derby, Angers, Haarlem, Tver and Çanakkale.

Every year, Derby and Osnabrück each appoint an Envoy who spends twelve months in his or her twin city. The Envoy's role is varied, but encompasses areas such as promoting the exchange of ideas between the two cities, as well as acting as an educational and general information officer to promote awareness of the twinning scheme. They can help in all sorts of ways by: translating, giving talks to local societies and schools, finding pen friends and short term host families during work placements, working in day-to-day contact to assist groups who want to get involved in twinning by identifying and approaching possible counterparts, planning the annual mayweek trip and a lot more.

The exchange of Envoys between two cities is very unusual. The team of Envoys in Osnabrück changes every year and Osnabrück also sends envoys to Derby, Angers and Çanakkale. No other city in Germany participates in this exchange of Envoys, and in Britain, only one other city, Wigan, receives and sends an Envoy.

The twinning gives the inhabitants of both places the opportunity to interact with their international neighbours. Town twinning intends to enhance international understanding and break down social barriers.

External links



  • Gerd Steinwascher (editor): Geschichte der Stadt Osnabrück Meinders & Elstermann, Belm 2006, ISBN 3-88926-007-1


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Osnabrück [1] is a city in Lower Saxony.


Osnabrück is a typical mid-sized German town. It is home to around 160,000 people and a recent survey proved them to be the most content citizens in Germany. Osnabrück has seen its share of history and war. It was the ultimate city where the 30 Years War ended and over 2/3 of the city was then destroyed in World War II.

Get in

By plane

Flughafen Münster/Osnabrück FMO is the best choice. The airport is quiet and efficent yet sufficent. There are flights from dba/Air Berlin, eae/KLM, Lufthansa, hapag-fly/HLX/ and other assorted charters such as sunexpress.

The bus X-150 is an express to the city center and train station. A one-way trip is about nine euros.

Many travelers choose to use other nearby airports for budget airlines. These include: Bremen for easyJet and Ryanair, Düsseldorf for Air Berlin and Cologne for

By train

Osnabrück has many daily rail services. Die Bahn opereates trains and connections for around Europe and Germany

Osnabrück is about 3 hours by express train from Amsterdam, Berlin and Cologne.

By car

A1 Autobahn from Bremen/Cologne.

By bus

ecolines carries passengers from Riga.

There are a few other weekly services but trains normally out-bid them in price and flexibility.

By boat

There are no bodies of water navigatibale by boat in the Osnabrück area.

Get around

The city is most easily navigated by city/regional bus. The Stadwerke Osnabruck operates standard daytime as well as NachtBus (night) service on Friday and Saturday. The have an online trip planner as well as digital signs as bus stops to inform you of the current predicted wait time.

Fare information is posted inside all shelter and most bus operators speak some English. Tickets are bought from the bus operator of from vending machines on the Neumarkt. Bus operators are obliged to give change if you over-pay in cash.

Some Osnabrückers choose to ride a bicycle to move themselves through the city. While utilizing the red-colored cycling lanes in Osnabrück one should exert much caution. These lanes are often narrow, at street level, and/or shared with the city buses and taxis. This leads to a least one bicyclist death a year in Osnabrück. Please do use your best judegment and walk your bike on the sidewalk if you feel uncomfortable. Aditionally there are many places where bicycles (and all cars) are forbidden in the city center. If you are riding on a street where there are no cars, be sure to double check that bicycles are not forbidden, because the police will stop you.


The Osnabrücker Rathaus (city hall) played a key role in the end of the 30 years war. In celebration with the authorities in nearby Münster, a peace treaty was signed.

The Felix Nusbaum Museum is an art gallery dedicated to the Osnabrück native, Felix Nussbaum, a Jewish painter who was executed at Auschwitz during the World War 2.

Heger Tor and the neighbor old city are remnants of an earlier manifestation of Osnabrück. Two-thirds of the city was flatted during World War II, so, there are limited remnants of original pre-war buildings.


Talk to locals. Sit in a street cafe.


Among other (technical) schools Osnabück is home to a university. The university has several campuses dispersed throughout the city.


R&R Ice Cream (Eduard Pestel Strasse - English Friendly)


Shop on the Grosse Strasse (Big Street).


Osnabrück offers an array of foreign cuisine in addition to the "typical German food."


The best place to get a quick bite is at a Döner (Turkish Kebab) stand or restaurant. There are several local operation offering this type of food throughout the city.


There are many "Gasthäuser" and "Lokale," the local old school sit-down German food places.


The restaurant La Vie is very luxurious, if you have the money it´s worth the visit.


You will never have to look far to find a drink in Osnabrück. There are many youth and student oriented bars and clubs as well as bars and clubs for the more sophisticated.

The Gruener Jaeger an original beerhall serving the local Osnabrücker Pils.

Cafe Orient serves a variety of German beers and offers Shishas (hookah/water-pipes) in a warm den-type environment.

Cubana (no, not the airline!) serves carribian style, on the premise of being a cocktail bar/dance club.

Alando, the largest disco in town offers several huge themed rooms.

On a nice summer evening you will find many people congregate in the Schlossgarten (Palace Graden) to drink together.



Advena (next to train station) Westermann



Stay safe

Osnabrück is quite safe. There are break-ins and sometimes drunks getting largered up, as well as, rowdy trouble making kids. Overall there are still only very miniscule amounts of violent crimes. Although the Neumarkt and the Rosenplatz should be avoided at night. The small Neumarkt-Undercrossing (the without shops) should be avoid the whole day.


In some parts of Osnabrück, locals resent the British military bases in town and are reluctant to speak English unless you have made an attempt in German. In others, people may automatically recognise that you aren't German and may thus begin a conversation in English.

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!

If you like pop music, go to the Alando, which is near the central train station. There may be drunk and misbehaving people, though. If you want to listen to rock, the Kleine Freiheit is a good place to go. You must be 21 at least to come in. If you like metal better, the Hyde Park is for you. Every thursday and friday, there is rock and metal night. For gothics: Visit Hyde Park at the second or fifth friday each month. There is the "raven-blck night" with EBM, Gothic and some electronic music.


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


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Proper noun


  1. Osnabrück (independent city in Lower Saxony, Germany)

Simple English

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