A delightful day trip in Münsterland to a town that is both immaculately clean and friendly.
There were tourist maps available at the train station when I arrived, but there was also a big lace convention in town on this particular day. The website has two colorful walking maps with several points of interest clearly labelled. It is easy to print these out and follow the landmarks around town. Walking map link
Windmills on the Way into Town
Starting from the train station, walk down the Bahnhofstraße to Wilbeckestraße and you will see the first of five stone towers on your left, adjacent to a small park with a river and a waterfall. This is the Stadtmühle, as seen in the picture above. The other towers are located in a ring around the marketplace and each is just a short walk from the center.
Leather and Lace. Or just Lace.
The city museum (Stadtmuseum) is located directly in the marketplace and is free and open to the public. A modern art exhibit was just opening up as I was there, and it looked quite promising. The permanent town history exhibit was located on the top floor. Downstairs were exhibits on antique dolls and lace. The lace is quite lovely and I learned that there is a German Bobbin Lace Guild: deutscher-kloeppelverband. There was a large group in town on this day to convene on the topic of lace. The museum was absolutely packed with lace admirers.
Funny Street Names
Please note that the street in front of the museum is called, "Heilig-Geist-Straße", which means, "Holy Ghost Street". One of the locals caught me taking a picture of the sign and asked me what I was doing. Since most German street names are similar from town to town, this one caught me off guard and made me laugh.
Modern vs. Baroque
There are two big churches in the inner city. The Remigius church is the largest and is situated just across from the market place. The stained glass windows are modern and wonderful. The chandelier above the altar is also quite unique. Several confessionals in the back of the church had electric signs with places for the current clergy. There were also plenty of novena candle shrines to light a candle in memory of a loved one.
For a bit of baroque, head to the Johannes church, which is much smaller but beautiful. The altar is made of colorful marble pieces and the church is quite bright and lively. Johanneskirche reminds me much more of the small churches in Bavaria.
A Knight in the Market
Just around the corner from the Johanneskirche is the Kornmarkt. As the name implies, this was where the merchants would come to buy and sell grain. A fountain stands in the middle of the market with a statue of a knight at the top, one Hendrik de Wynen. At noon, as I stood there, chimes started ringing delightfully, setting the local dog population in a panic. The enclosed mall is also in this area, which is a good place to go to avoid any raindrops. A number of cafés around the marketplace and also a few sausage stands in the middle mean that finding a bite to eat should not be any trouble.
How to get there: Trains run to Borken by way of Essen. Take “Der Borkener” from Essen all the way to the last stop. It runs once an hour. The name of the station is “Borken Westf”, which is needed information if buying a ticket on-line or through one of the DB machines. It is also possible to take a bus to Borken from Münster.
Great things: Sweet little place that is a wonderful trip from the Essen area. Easy to poke around the entire Borken city center in an afternoon.
Date of visit: April 22, 2006
Borken website: www.borken.de