You might not be able to tell when watching the news, but 2018 is an important year for peace. Not only did World War I end 100 years ago, there’s another war we need to remember. No less than 370 years ago, the Peace of Westphalia was signed in the city halls of Münster and Osnabrück. It brought an end to the Eighty Year’s War between Spain and the Dutch, and to the German part of it, the Thirty Year’s War. The signing of the Peace of Westphalia is remembered continuously in Münster and Osnabrück, but also the First World War gets attention. In Osnabrück, this happens at the Felix Nussbaum Haus and the Erich Remarque Peace Center. In Münster, with five different exhibitions taking place in four different museums. 

Remembering the Peace of Westphalia

  1. Münster’s Friedenssaal

Münster’s Friendenssaal or »Hall of Peace« can be found at the city hall and is open to visitors. On this former council chamber’s walls, you can see the portraits of those who were present during the negotiations of the treaty. Much of the furniture in this room is original. It was removed during World War II to keep it safe and restored afterward.

  1. Osnabrücks Hall of Peace

The Hall of Peace in Osnabrück is very similar to that in Münster, with its wooden furniture and portraits on the wall. It’s free to enter, as is the small Treasure Chamber that holds a copy of the original treaty.

Personal perspectives on World War II

Both the Felix Nussbaum Haus and the Erich Remarque Peace Center offer a look at the life and works of two artists who witnessed the horrors of the Second World War. The writer Remarque was able to flee Germany, considered an enemy of the state because of his critical books. Nussbaum wasn’t so lucky. The painter was murdered in Auschwitz in 1944.

Peace. From Antiquity to the Present Day

Back in Münster, five museums worked together to create »Peace. From Antiquity to the Present Day«. They are the LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur, the Kunstmuseum Pablo Picasso Münster, the Diocese of Münster, the Archäologisches Museum at Münster University and the Stadtmuseum.

  1. »Pathways to peace« at the LWL

»Wege zum Frieden« or »Pathways to Peace« at the LWL focuses on the representation of peace by painters throughout the ages, as well as the current challenges we’re facing in preventing new wars.

  1. »Peace. As in heaven so on earth?« by the diocese

Hosted by the LWL, the peace exhibition by the diocese of Münster showcases how Christian art has depicted peace and war not just through paintings, but also through functional objects.

  1. »Picasso. From the horrors of war to the dove of peace« at the Picasso Museum

The peace exhibition at the Picasso Museum first looks at how Picasso portrayed the topics of war and peace to then demonstrate how later generations of artists used his interpretations to create works of their own. A central symbol in this is Picasso’s Peace Pigeon, of which he created many different versions.

  1. »Eirene/Pax. Peace in Antiquity« by the Archäologisches Museum

The smallest exhibition of the five displays mostly sculptures and artifacts that give us an idea of how peace was represented in Antiquity, as well as of important peace treaties that were signed during that period of time.

  1. »A reason to celebrate? Münster and the Peace of Westphalia« by the Stadtmuseum

The City Museum of Münster takes a look at what came after the signing of the Peace of Westphalia. How did people respond to it? How was the peace remembered in centuries to come? And what happened when the Nazis tried to claim that peace for their own propaganda?

Osnabrück and Münster are just an hour apart, whether you go by car or take the train. So why not create your own Weekend of Peace and visit them both? The exhibitions will surely keep you busy and there are plenty of other things to do as well.

Bild: Stahlplastik des Bildhauers Eduardo Chillida im Innenhof des Münsteraner Rathauses.  © Alexa Brandt