City of science, heartland of cycling, bishop’s see, service cluster, model for urban sustainability—the 315,000 people living in Münster can choose from many titles for their beloved city. And despite a hard-dying rumour that the sun seldom shines in Münster—it’s easy to feel at home here. And it’s home to many successful companies, too. Just like Bechtle IT System House Münster.
Almost exactly 18 years ago, Münster was named the city with the highest quality of life in the world and received the British LivCom award. Since then, the Westphalian metropolis has become accustomed to landing top spots in a great variety of studies and rankings. And if you ride your “Leeze” (pronounced /leːtsɛ/)—your bike in the local vernacular—along the green Promenade, you’ll know why. The Promenade is Europe’s only cycle ring road and runs all around the city centre. From here it’s easy to reach anywhere within the city in a matter of minutes, such as the historic Prinzipalmarkt with its Gothic town hall where the 1648 Peace of Westphalia called an end to the Thirty Years’ War. Or the beautiful Münster Castle, former residence of the prince-bishop and now the seat of the University of Münster. Also just a stone’s throw away from the Promenade lies the city harbour, opened by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1899 and now bustling with people enjoying the sun and the culture in the summer. The same is true for the scenic Aasee lake that reaches almost all the way to the old town and invites cyclists to ride around it in under half an hour.
One thing is for sure, though: you’ll have plenty of company. There’s no other city in Germany where people cover as much ground by bike as they do in Münster. Of the 1.3 million or so journeys every day, 40 per cent are taken on the two wheeled steed—a rate three times higher than in all other comparably-sized cities in the country. And Münster wants to make the bike an even more attractive mode of transport for the smart age. The colour-gradient “Leezenflow” green wave assistant shows cyclists when the light will turn red several metres before they reach next junction. so they can simply adjust their speed and swish through a series of green lights.
Foto: Inner city with Promenade © FotoStuss, shutterstock
Münster is on a mission to deliver sustainable, digital urban development, not just for the benefit of cyclists, but in all areas of life. In 2018, the city introduced its own sustainability strategy, and three years later it became a model project under the Smart Cities 2021 programme, with the Leezenflow just one of twelve innovative projects for which Münster was able to rake in federal funding. Other eligible projects include building a sensor-based network of environmental monitoring stations, advancing measures to expedite bus transport, and developing a digital twin for urban infrastructures.
It’s a good job, then, that Münster happens to be the most important ICT location in north Westphalia with nearly half of the people working in the sector doing so here. Münster University, along with the city’s twelve colleges, certainly makes the city an attractive place to do business in, with a total of 65,000 students turning into a constant stream of excellent talent.
Bechtle made itself at home in the fast-growing and future-oriented region as early as 2000, and in 2016 moved into a new building with an unobstructed view of the small Friendensee lake where 83 people cater to traditional corporate IT needs, from IT systems integration and strategy consulting by Bechtle business architects, to providing hardware and software, planning and delivering IT projects, and also managed services concepts and running complete customer environments. Within this extensive service portfolio, there’s one thing that’s increasingly pushing front and centre—the cloud. “We see the cloud as a great opportunity that opens up new ways to win more customers and break into additional market segments. Our employees are the linchpin of this transformation, so naturally we invest heavily in their education and professional training,” says Klaus Pattai, Managing Director of Bechtle Münster.
Continuous learning plays a central role at the system house as it is. In September 2018, Bechtle Münster opened new rooms for its IT training centre, creating a highly modern 850 m² space for both colleagues and customers, featuring a conference room, cafeteria and VUE test centre stations. Bechtle partners with the world’s leading provider of electronic certification tests, Pearson VUE, giving training participants the opportunity to sit the certification exam as soon as they complete their course. It’s no surprise, then, that the training centre has garnered a slew of accolades, including the 5-star Premium certification of the European Association for Training Organisations e. V. (EATO). And of course, all participants enjoy a free rental bike for the duration of their course.
Picture: Bechtle Training center in Munster
Bechtle IT-Systemhaus Münster
This is me in three words:
technophile, determined, enthusiastic
Strength lies in (agile) calmness.
If I had a superpower:
I would do magic like Merlin, and I’d give everyone what they wanted.
My perfect day:
Waking up in the Caribbean followed by a day of laid-back sailing in beautiful weather.
My favourite city:
Funchal on Madeira for its great climate, wonderful nature and unique geography in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.
Things I can’t do without:
The book on my nightstand:
Boris Herrmann’s “Alone between Sky and Sea”.
My most exciting project:
We were able to help a customer in the insurance sector migrate from Lotus Notes to Exchange Online and establish Microsoft Teams as a collaboration platform—not just all within a few months, but pulling it all off remotely on account of the pandemic, including the design, change management and rollout for 6,000+ users. That was a tremendous team effort.
Who I’d like to be for a day:
Jeff Bezos. On the day he went into space.
Münster is steeped in a mix of history and future, a cultural it place and cyclists’ paradise, a bustling university town. Simply put, a great place to delve into the Westphalian way of life. Simone Pütter, team assistant in the Training Centre, and Sandra Köttgen, assistant to the managing director, tell us exactly where you can experience it.
Münster Castle was the prince-bishop’s residence until 1803. Architect Johann Conrad Schlaun built the magnificent baroque structure for Münster’s penultimate prince-bishop, Maximilian Friedrich von Königsegg-Rothenfels. Today, it is the seat of the University of Münster, and the castle gardens are home to the botanical garden of the university’s institute of botany.
The Prinzipalmarkt square, nicknamed Münster’s “good parlour” is arguably the city’s most famous landmark and its traditional centre amid characteristic gabled houses and archways. This is where people come to shop, marvel, stroll and simply enjoy life.
Münster Cathedral is a dominating sight for its imposing size alone and can’t be missed even from a distance with its towers reaching over 55 metres into the sky. Inside you’ll find the astronomical clock that shows the phases of the moon and locations of the planets, and features a ten-bell chime.
Quite possibly Münster’s oldest inn, the Alte Gasthaus Leve has been around since 1607 and offers traditional Münster and Westphalian cuisine with a side of quaint and rustic ambience.
If you have a palate for fish, you’ll love the Sylt am Bült. Owner Hendrik Eggert will indulge visitors to this jewel of a seafood restaurant with all sorts of maritime delicacies, and sommelier Tommy Hergehahn has just the drop to tie it all together.
If you’re looking to pair dinner with a beautiful view of the Aasee, the modern Ristorante Il DiVino is a great place to do just that with a choice of excellent Italian dishes.
Picture: © Ristorante il DiVino
Breiter Weg in particular is full of small boutiques, concept stores and also Fritz Wahle—Magdeburg’s oldest book shop opened in 1841.
Situated directly on the banks of the River Elbe, the Allee-Centre is a modern shopping centre with over 150 shops, restaurants and services.
One of the popular places to take photos is the vertical-lift Hub bridge. Today, it’s used solely as a pedestrian bridge and for cultural events.
The Millennium Tower in the Elbauenpark—aka the cleverest tower in the world—is home to 6,000 years of scientific wonders for visitors young and old. From a hand axe to an X-ray telescope, cave paintings to CT scans—250 exhibits across five floors show just how far we humans have come.
The Schweizer Milchkuranstalt is a cosy beer garden located in the Fürstenwallpark overlooking the Elbe and cathedral, where you can try out local beers and a small selection of excellent wines in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
At Mademoiselle Cupcake, you get exactly what it says on the tin—a wide section of delicious cakes. The lovely, small café has a certain je ne sais quoi and you cannot go wrong with its freshly ground and brewed coffee. The cappuccino is of particular note.
Magdeburg Cathedral, or to give it its proper name the Cathedral of Saints Maurice and Catherine, is Germany’s oldest Gothic cathedral. Construction started in 1209 and wasn’t completed for over 300 years. Otto the Great, who established the Holy Roman Empire, is buried here and that together with its 99-metre tower make it the city’s most famous landmark.
Right at the heart of Magdeburg’s old town is the Unser Lieben Frauen convent which is today home to the Museum of Fine Art.
The Rothensee boat lift has been helping shipping overcome a normal water level difference of 16 metres for over 60 years and connects the River Elbe with the Docks in Magdeburg. In 2001, the lift was replaced by a lock, but it is still operated as a monument to its technology.
The Elbauenpark is a leisure park located on the site of the 1999 federal horticultural show and is considered to be the most attractive destinations for a day out in Saxony-Anhalt. Alongside the numerous events held on the lake stage and the various themed gardens, you can also make the most of several sporting opportunities—from a climbing park and a summer toboggan run to fitness and skater parcours.
Fancy a bike ride? Magdeburg is perfect for one as the countryside around the city is flat and you can access the 1,220 km Elbe cycle path—one of the most famous in Germany—directly from the city.
Picture: Schloss Münster © Stadt Münster / Maren Kuiter
This post was published on Jul 22, 2022.