Sights of Osnabrück, Germany

Osnabrück is a so-called kreisfreie Stadt located in the southwest of the German state of Lower Saxony. People lived here for years before there was even talk of a city. Evidence for this can be found in the presence of megalithic structures. These dolmens are now located along the Straße der Megalitkultur. This tourist route runs from Osnabrück to Oldenburg. There are 33 archaeological sites along the 310 kilometer route. There you will mainly find dolmens and menhirs.

According to, Osnabrück ‘only’ came into existence in the early Middle Ages, when the diocese of Osnabrück was founded by Charlemagne. In the middle of the twelfth century, Osnabrück received city rights and was allowed to fortify itself with walls. Over the centuries, Osnabrück has played an important role. For example, Osnabrück, together with Münster in 1648, was one of the two cities where the Peace of Westphalia was concluded. That treaty marked the end of the Thirty Years’ War. Today Osnabrück is a popular student city that is loved by both German and Dutch city trippers. Its location about an hour’s drive from the Dutch city of Enschede ensures that Osnabrück is easily accessible from the Netherlands.

The question is what to do when you take a city trip to Osnabrück. Which sights are you going to see, which museums are you going to visit and what kind of activities are you going to do during your stay in Osnabrück? We help you by putting the top 10 sights of Osnabrück in a handy list for you.

Top 10 Things to Do in Osnabruck

#1. Rathaus

The late Gothic town hall is Osnabrück’s main attraction. This late Gothic building is located on the Markt and was built between 1487 and 1512. Characteristic of its appearance are the large staircase at the front, the eighteen meter high hipped roof and the six turrets. The more than five hundred year old front door has a bronze door handle showing the year 1648 and a pigeon. It is striking that the town hall still functions as such. The town hall of Osnabrück played an important role in the end of the Thirty Years’ War. In 1648 the Peace of Westphalia was concluded in the Friedenssaal of the town hall.

#2. Waterloo port

A combination of city gate and triumphal arch was built in 1817 on the spot where the Heger Tor used to be. This Waterloo Gate is also locally called Heger Tor, after the city gate that was demolished in 1815 and stood twenty meters further west. The entrance gate designed by Johann Christian Sieckmann is made for pedestrians only. They enter the historic center of Osnabrück through the Waterloo Gate. You can walk up the gate along the sides. The top is a nice spot to look into the old streets of Osnabrück.

#3. Market

The Markt is Osnabrück’s oldest square. It can be considered the heart of the city. If you see articles about Osnabrück, there is a good chance that a photo of the Market is used as an illustration. It is mainly the pastel colored facades on the southeastern side that attract the attention. These much-photographed stepped gables contribute greatly to the medieval character of the market square. During pleasant days it is wonderful to relax on the terraces that are located here.

Important buildings on the Markt are the historic town hall, the Maria church and the old weigh house. The first two buildings are described separately in the top 10 sights of Osnabrück. The weigh house has not been used as such for centuries. Today, the weigh house is used, among other things, as a wedding hall for the municipality of Osnabrück.

#4. Felix-Nussbaum-Haus

There are four museums in the Museumsquartier Osnabrück. The Felix-Nussbaum-Haus is the most beautiful and popular museum. It is named after and dedicated to the artist Felix Nussbaum, who was born in Osnabrück in the early twentieth century. This Jewish-German painter was deported to the Auschwitz extermination camp in 1944, where he was murdered a week later. Thanks to his niece Augustes Moses-Nussbaum, Nussbaum’s looted works have been returned to their rightful owners. These more than two hundred works of art can now be admired in the museum building designed by the world-famous American architect Daniel Libeskind.

#5. Osnabruck Cathedral

The oldest building in Osnabrück is located at the Domhof. It is the Dom St. Peter, which is better known as the Dom Osnabrück. The Diocese of Osnabrück has existed since the end of the eighth century AD. Two churches have preceded the current cathedral. The Dom St. Peter was built between 1218 and 1277. That wasn’t the dumb as you see him today. The right west tower was replaced in the fifteenth century by the current late Gothic example, which is noticeably larger than the left tower. The symmetry has therefore disappeared in the front of the church. The relatively simple tent roofs were added during the repairs after the Second World War. Osnabrück Cathedral is free to visit.

#6. Landscape Park Piesberg

Piesberg is located just outside the built-up area of ​​Osnabrück. Today this place is known as Landschaftspark Piesberg and is part of the UNESCO Geopark TERRA.vita. The name of this much-loved natural and geological park translates as “earth’s life course”. The centerpiece of Landschaftspark Piesberg is the quarry where active mining took place for almost a thousand years. Now the quarry has become a kind of man-made canyon. You can explore Landschaftspark Piesberg on foot. There is a walking route of approximately eight kilometers around the quarry. Viewpoints give you a cool view of the quarry.

You can visit the Museum Industriekultur Osnabrück near Piesberg. Here you can see the history of the industrial era in the Osnabrück area. The highlight of the visit to the museum is the ride in a glass elevator 30 meters underground. There, visitors will find a historic mining tunnel dating from around 1855. An almost 300-meter-long section of the tunnel was re-exposed in the late 1990s and opened to museum visitors.

#7. Mary Church

The Maria Church is located on the Markt in Osnabrück. This Evangelical Lutheran parish and market church was built in the Middle Ages. It is estimated that it was ready around 1430/1440. Archaeological excavations have shown that there must have been at least three other churches on this site before this church. The St. Marien is a three-aisled hall church without a transept. The tower has a height of eighty meters. On Sundays, Friday evenings and Saturday evenings, the tower of the Maria Church can be climbed. After climbing almost two hundred steps, you will be treated to a beautiful view of Osnabrück.

#8. Zoo Osnabruck

Zoo Osnabrück is the zoo of Osnabrück. Since its opening in 1936, the zoo has been a favorite attraction among locals and tourists alike. Over the years, the animal collection has changed. Once they started with mainly native animal species. Today you can see more exotic animal species in this zoo that has been one of Osnabrück’s most popular activities for many years. The animal enclosures are generally spacious and well maintained.

#9. Theater am Domhof

The Theater am Domhof is the main building of the Theater of Osnabrück. This main theater was built between 1905 and 1909. The first play performed here is ‘Julius Caesar’. That was on September 29, 1909. During the Second World War, the Theater am Domhof was badly damaged. Reconstruction and restoration began in 1949. In 1950 the beautiful theater was restored to its former glory. The building itself is one of the landmark buildings on the Domhof. Theatrical performances, operas, operettas, musicals and dance performances are still held there for up to 642 spectators to enjoy at the same time.

#10. Grosse Strae

Dutch people who visit Osnabrück often have the ‘shopping’ section high on their wish list. The city is just a bit too far from the Netherlands to drive there especially for shopping. But while you’re there, why not take the opportunity to pop into Osnabrück’s shops right away? The range of shops here is slightly different than in the Netherlands and the prices are often a bit more favorable. It is good to know that the shops are closed on Sundays, unless a Sunday shopping is organized once. In Osnabrück, this only happens sparingly.

The Große Straße can be seen as the main shopping street of Große Straße. This street runs from the Neumarkt to the Domhof. The side streets of Große Straße also belong to the shopping area. The Kamp-Promenade is a place that you should not miss when you go shopping in Osnabrück.

Osnabrück, Germany

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