Travel Guide

Minden and its ­Surroundings – Insight and Overview

View from the Jakobs­berg in Porta Westfalica toward the south-west. The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial is located on the right.

Windmills in Petershagen-Messlingen

When traveling to Minden, regardless of the direction you come from, you will first see the Porta Westfalica, the Gate to Westphalia. This is not really a gate, but a gorge, where the Weser River runs through the passage between the mountain chains of the Wiehen Hills and the Weser Hills. Both hills have a landmark: the television tower on the Weser Hills and the Kaiser Wilhelm monument on the Wiehen Hills. The town of Minden is located only a few kilometers to the north. 

The district of Minden-Lübbecke with its district town of Minden (population: 82 000) is the most northerly district of the North Rhine-Westphalia federal state.
What characterizes our district? What do we love and what do we like about Minden and its surroundings? These are questions that my colleague Christian Engelage and I discussed.

Sabine:  What comes to mind immediately is the incredible diversity of Minden and its surroundings. We have the hills, the Weser River with its beautiful river landscape; we have the city with its 1200 year old cathedral, a historical town hall, the market and the old parts of the city. Minden is surrounded by a string of pretty villages. The cultural program is great and ranges from the Stadttheater to Germany’s oldest amateur cabaret and a legendary jazz club. 

Christian: We should not forget our unique waterway intersection which is more than 100 years old and one of the largest in the world. The Weser River provides us with a water-based north-south connection to the North Sea, and the Mittellandkanal is an east-west connection along a distance of 325 kilometers. Moreover, Minden enjoys excellent train connections in all directions as it is located on a trunk line. The A2 Autobahn is in close vicinity – one of Germany’s busiest motorways – with very impressive infrastructure.

Sabine: True, Christian. We should mention that we are located in the “Mills District”. Did you know that there are over 40 restored windmills and watermills in our district? Surely, that is something exceptional. 

Christian: Yes, we could visit them on a bicycle tour. And continue on the hiking route along the Weser River. The route passes by Hameln; we could pay a visit to our colleagues at Siegfried Hameln. 

Sabine: With pleasure, I’ve cycled on the Hameln route often; it is really very pretty. By the way, our district has a lot to offer in terms of sport. 

Christian: You can say that again. Minden, after all, is the handball capital of Germany. GWD Minden is indispensable for the Federal Handball League, and TUS N Lübbecke is on the threshold of re-entering the Federal League. 

Sabine: Yes, that’s right. There is so much activity here on the water. Just think of the rowing clubs and the countless trophies the rowers from the Besselgymnasium have brought home. Pretty sportive, our Mühle district! 

Christian: And there are lots of opportunities for people aiming to find peace and quiet, be it while hiking in the mountains, as we Mindeners like to call our hills, or in the large Hille peat bog.

Dear reader, as you can see, Christian and I could have continued with our discussion for much longer, and we would come up with many more interesting things. We would like to conclude our short portrait with a list of our top ten personal highlights: 

  • Minden Botanical Garden 
  • Schiffmühle and beer garden 
  • Schachtschleuse with the waterway intersection 
  • Hille peat bog
  • Weser cycle route
  • Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial and Porta Westfalica 
  • Fischerstadt and old town of Minden 
  • Findlingswald in Neuenknick
  • “Blaue Band der Weser” aquatics event 
  • Porta open-air theater 

We should be very pleased if this short article aroused your interest in Minden and surroundings. Minden has something to offer for everyone, be they business people or fans of culture, sport and nature. 

Sabine: Christian, just a short mention at the end of our discussion: I assume you will have heard of the Buttjer language practiced in Minden with its very individual word creations. Can you answer this question: Wat schmust die Osnick? 

Christian: Sabine, please, it’s 4:30 PM. I’ll have to get going. 


Dear Reader, what is the question Sabine asked Christian? 

(Resolution below) 


Facts and Figures:
Federal State: North Rhine-Westphalia
State capital: Düsseldorf
Population: 81 598 (31 Dec 2015)
Mayor: Michael Jäcke (SPD)


Further information:​​​​​​​





Correct answer: What time is it?