Munster is a town in the Lüneburg Heath of northern Germany on the River Örtze. Munster is located in the middle of the triangle of the cities of Hamburg, Bremen and Hanover. All three cities can be reached in less than 1 hour. The town centre is very clean and modern with plenty of opportunities to visit coffee shops and cafes as well as the local market open at weekends.
The town is home to the German Army’s largest garrison and is situated between the two training areas of Munster North and Munster South. Munster has been closely associated with the military for over 100 years. However the use of this area as a training ground goes back to 1893. The Munster military training areas, represent nearly 50% of the city’s total area, are reserved for military use. Due to the restricted areas, many rare species and habitats can be found in this region. The region’s populations of rare species have been previously drawn upon to restore populations in other regions where such species are endangered.
The Bundeswehr’s Research Institute for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare Defence is located in Munster. In 1916, the German Empire opened Gasplatz Breloh (“Breloh Gas Facility”), an area dedicated to research in and production of chemical weapons. In 1935, the Third Reich reopened the site as an experimental research and production area for chemical ammunitions under the name Heeresnebelfüllstelle Raubkammer (“Army fog-filling plant, Raubkammer”), “fog” being used as a cover for chemical agents. During World War II, large quantities of sulphur mustard gas and the nerve agent were produced here. At the end of the war, Germany had a continuous production line for GB ready to go online; this plant was dismantled by the British Occupation Forces and later shipped to Porton Down, Great Britain.
The close relationship between the civil and the military circles is symbolized by the bronze statue of Lili Marleen. She and her soldier have been greeting all visitors for more than twenty years from their point of welcome beside the town gate leading to the centre of Munster. Thousands of visitors each year are attracted to the German Tank Museum. In Munster there is a wide range of hotels, holiday apartments and a 4-star camping site. There are several restaurants and guesthouses offering ranges of food. There is plenty of free parking available.
Hannover airport is 107 km from Munster. The international airport has regular flights from all over the world with services to most European capitals and major cities. The airport is situated 11 kilometres to the north of Hanover centre and has easy access to the autobahn. It is the ninth largest airport in Germany and is one of very few German airports which are open 24 hours a day, although there are very few flights between 11pm and 4am. Munster Oertze is approximately 107 kilometres from Hanover airport with an estimated driving time of 75 minutes. Hanover airport is also accessible by a combination of trains, buses and taxis.
There is also an international airport at Bremen which has many of the budget airlines operating regular flights to most European countries. The airport is located close to the city centre and there is a tram which departs every 5 to 10 minutes (on Sunday evenings up to 30 min) to Bremen city centre and the journey takes 11 minutes and costs €2.30. This airport is close to the autobahn links but is 124 kilometres and a 85-minute journey to Munster
Hamburg is the nearest international airport to Munster. It is located approximately 8 kilometres north of the city centre and is the fifth busiest airport in Germany. In 2009 extensive refurbishment improved road access and connections to the Hamburg S-Bahn system which will connect with the main Bahnhof in Hamburg city centre. The airport is 89 kilometres away from Celle and will take approximately 1 hour and 5 minutes by car.
Today regional trains work the line from Bremen via Soltau to Uelzen. Long distance trains (IC) trains only run on Fridays and Sundays from Berlin and are geared predominantly to commuting Bundeswehr soldiers. An Intercity link from Magdeburg used to run nightly from Sunday to Monday until the timetable change on 9 Dec 2007. By train use the rail line No 116 Bremen – Uelzen indicated in the railway guide and alighting from the train at the Munster (Oertze) Station.
Munster lies on the B71 federal road between Soltau and Uelzen, not far from the A 7 motorway. You can reach Munster by car via the A7 Hanover – Hamburg motorway taking the exit “Soltau Ost” and following the through road B71 to Munster. Munster is well sign posted from all directions leading to the town centre and car parks.
Access from Hanover centre would be via the A7 (North) taking the exit “Soltau Ost” and following the through road B71 to Munster. The journey is 107km and will take apporx 75 mins.
Driving from Bremen ( from a westerly direction) will be on the autobahn A27 which connects to the A7 to the south-east of Walsrode. The A7 runs north taking the exit “Soltau Ost” and following the through road B71 to Munster. Driving Distance is 124 km and will take approx 85 mins.
Travelling from the north (Hamburg) is also via the route A7 taking the exit “Soltau Ost” and following the through road B71 to Munster. The jouorney distance is 85 km and will take 65 mins.