"Cycling and opera in Münster" Top 5 Page for this destination Münster by Nemorino

Münster Travel Guide: 209 reviews and 665 photos

Germany's number one bicycle city

Münster in Westfalen is the only German city where there is more bicycle traffic (37.6%) than car traffic (35.5%).

The city administration is particularly proud of the fact that Münster has "nearly a two-thirds majority" for the "environmental coalition" of cyclists, pedestrians and public transport users.

True, in the nearby Netherlands there are several cities with similar or better results, such as Groningen, Amsterdam, Enschede, Zwolle and Veenendaal, but a recent Netherlands government report grudgingly admitted that two German cities, Münster and Freiburg im Breisgau, also have "a reasonable level of bicycle use" even though they aren't in the Netherlands. (The same goes for Copenhagen and Odense in Denmark and Ghent in Belgium.)

In any case, Münster has several times been voted "Germany's most bicycle-friendly city", for instance in surveys conducted by the General German Bicycle Club (ADFC).

Out of 280,000 inhabitants, over 100,000 use their bicycles on a daily basis, not merely for recreation but also to get to work, go to school or do their shopping.

It helps that the city is flat and has a large student population, but the main reason for all this cycling is that the city has been actively supporting bicycle transportation for nearly half a century. Earlier than most cities, Münster broke with the prevailing ideology of "making cities fit for cars" and instead promoted bicycles, buses and walking as equally valid forms of mobility.


The opera I saw at the Münster City Theater was The Cunning Little Vixen by the Czech composer Leos Janacek (1854-1928). This is a whimsical opera about an older man who falls in love with a young female -- in this case a fox, which makes her even more inaccessible than if she had been human.

Janacek was nearly 70 when he composed The Cunning Little Vixen. At the time he was in love with a much younger woman, with whom he exchanged letters.

The last scene of the opera, in which the old forester dies peacefully amid the sounds of his beloved forest, was played and sung at the composer's funeral in 1928.

  • Last visit to Münster: Apr 2009
  • Intro Updated Jan 11, 2013
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Reviews (21)

Comments (30)

  • ranger49's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    The Cunning Little Vixen is one of my favourite operas and I was privileged to hear it for the first time when the critics described it as a "Life enhancing" performance given by Welsh National Opera back in the 1980s. My more recent visit to Janacek's house in Brno was also very special - but what an intriguing. complicated man he was!

    • ranger49's Profile Photo
      Mar 25, 2014 at 4:02 AM

      What a small world! I believe the young woman taking the role of Vixen in Bern hails from just 17 miles down the road from us It was the birthplace of my husband. .And my daughter is a former Governor of the singer's Alma Mater in Cardiff. It seems many of their graduates make a career in Europe and specially in Germany

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Mar 25, 2014 at 4:06 AM

      Yes, she did grow up in Wales and her parents still live there.

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Dec 19, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    The promenade looks to be a nice and relaxing place for a bicycle ride! Great that there are so many facilities for bikes!

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Nov 19, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    A great page Don! Once again I have learnt from your page, thanks for sharing this interesting town.

  • traveldave's Profile Photo
    Jul 9, 2013 at 5:08 AM

    I never knew that the peace treaty for the Thirty Years' War was signed here. It's nice to learn new tidbits of information while reading about interesting places.

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Jul 10, 2013 at 2:06 AM

      Thanks for your visit to my Münster page. Both Münster and nearby Osnabrück hosted the negotiations for about five years and were nearly bankrupted because of housing and feeding and the delegates -- but it finally paid off and the treaties were signed.

  • ettiewyn's Profile Photo
    Jul 29, 2011 at 11:29 PM

    As I grew up in Detmold, I visited Münster fairly often and you show it very well! I can see that it is the perfect city for a bicycle lover like you! What a pity about the trees, how sad. Kyrill did so much destruction to the forests of my home area, too

  • Aitana's Profile Photo
    Dec 29, 2009 at 11:10 AM

    Yesterday I read about Munster at the 16th century. The city you write about is completely different, fortunately. Thanks for your tips.

  • Zvrlj's Profile Photo
    Dec 18, 2009 at 11:07 PM

    Thank you for introducing Leos Janacek to us. What is the meaning of the word "munster" (as far as I remember there is Fraumunster iz Zurich, which means Female monastery)?

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Dec 12, 2009 at 9:52 PM

    You are indeed, the "King of Bikes and Opera!" Outstanding photographs, excellent introduction, abundant information done with your flair for detail and perfection. Bravo.

  • TheLongTone's Profile Photo
    Oct 6, 2009 at 3:34 PM

    Machines to wash your bike! What bliss!

  • Jerelis's Profile Photo
    Aug 10, 2009 at 3:16 AM

    Very interesting point of view to write your tips like this. Well done, very enjoyable reading and informative!

Nemorino

“The world is full of wonderful places. Help keep them wonderful by not driving in them.”

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