3 Things You’ll Definitely Need if You Live in Münster

Caitlin Maples

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When I heard that I would be moving to Münster for a year as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, I initially thought that it might be like my semester abroad in Koblenz, Germany; however, trends to differ greatly from city to city, and each region is unique. Münster is no exception.


I’ve discovered that there are simply some items that are indispensable when living here. This is my list of three typical Münster things I can’t do without.

  1. A Bicycle

When I first arrived in Münster, I could have sworn I’d taken a wrong turn and ended up in the Netherlands. There are so many bicycles here!

In fact, there are twice as many bicycles as there are people in this city, probably because most people own a backup or two. There is even an underground parking garage for bicycles at the train station!

One of the teachers at my school was very kind and let me borrow her bicycle for the year that I’ll be here. It makes me feel like an official “Münsteraner,” and honestly I probably couldn’t get around without it.

I love riding it on the Promenade to work every day. And I have to admit, I’ve used my bike bell a couple times on tourists who like to stand in the bike lanes. Sorry, everyone, but those lanes are red for a reason.

  1. An Umbrella

Nothing can prepare an Austinite for the intense amount of rain we have here in Münster. Contrary to what I’d expected, we actually don’t get much snow for winter here — just very cold, near-freezing rain, because the temperatures stay just above freezing for the most part.

I bought a fridge magnet that proudly proclaims that Münster has 1,200 hours of sun in the year. I wish I could say it was a joke. The good news is that it tends to be very mild rain that lasts for days on end, instead of the flood-like downpours we get sometimes in Austin.

Bonus points if you can learn to carry an umbrella while riding a bike. Germans make it look so easy!

  1. A sturdy shopping bag

One of the things that is very refreshing about Europe is the amount of shopping people do for fresh food. In Münster, families buy fresh bread from the bakery every day or every other day.

Because there are no preservatives in fresh bread, I only buy it for one or two days at a time. It’s all part of a healthy lifestyle that strikes me as somewhat old-fashioned at the same time. Fresh-baked goods are not luxuries here; they’re staples!

Similarly, it’s a lot of fun to go to the Wochenmarkt, a bi-weekly farmer’s market next to the Cathedral in the city center. The crowded market is stocked with all the fruits and vegetables that are in season.

I can’t wait for French peaches again when warmer weather comes! There are candy stands from Holland and more meat, cheese, and fish stands than I can count. While it’s a bit more expensive than going to Aldi, it’s wonderful to get fresh ingredients from all over Europe. I’m making lasagna this weekend with cheese straight from Italy!