Historic Market Square

Place to see, Historic buildings
The "parlour of the city".

The Osnabrück market (also known colloquially as the market square) in the old town centre is considered to be one of the city's founding cells alongside the cathedral castle. Archaeological excavations have shown that a market settlement already existed to the west of the cathedral in the 9th century. The market forms a central point in the old town as a link between the Heger-Tor district in the west and the cathedral grounds in the east.
The market is characterised by the architectural ensemble of the town hall, town scales, St Mary's Church, town houses and market fountain. A traditional weekly market is no longer held on the square, but numerous events take place here. For example, the market regularly hosts the Osnabrück Christmas market, the May Week and the children's gathering at the end of the hobbyhorse ride. In the past, the promotion celebrations of the football club VfL Osnabrück, the "Osnabrück eats well" festival and other events and festivals have been held here. Demonstrations have also been held on the square, which is steeped in history for the city's democracy.

History of the market

The area of today's market was originally densely built-up. It only took on its current dimensions when the acquisition and demolition of the houses standing there began in 1477. The old town hall on the site of today's city library was a small building that did not meet the city's requirements, which is why the council decided to build a prestigious new town hall on its current site. Many buildings, an entire alley and the former cemetery of St Mary's had to make way for this. The cemetery was moved to the north side of the church and existed there until the French occupying forces under Napoleon banned burials in the city centre at the beginning of the 19th century due to the risk of epidemics. Construction of the town hall began in 1487, lasted until 1512 and cost the equivalent of around 23 million euros.

The market fountain from the 13th century, which was probably filled in in the 17th century, was rediscovered in 1984 during canal work. Originally, the civic fountain was to be built on this site in the mid-1980s, but this was not possible for reasons of monument protection. As a result, it now forms the centrepiece of the neighbouring Platz des Westfälischen Frieden. Today, an octagonal wheel with viewing windows forms the cover of the old fountain. The former council fountain in front of the town hall steps was marked in the pavement by a bronze wheel.

The colourful stepped gabled houses

The colourful, late Gothic stepped gabled houses of wealthy Osnabrück bourgeois families still characterise the image of the market today. In the 16th century in particular, the stepped gable, originally from Flanders (now Belgium), became widespread in northern Germany as a stepped form of gable decoration. These were show gables, the stone façades were intended to represent bourgeois splendour and power. Behind them were the actual residential buildings in the form of half-timbered houses. It was not necessary to decorate the courtyard side as it was not visible to the general public. When the gables were erected in the frame, the existing half-timbered houses were "cut off" by four metres as they protruded too far into the new market square. The open fronts were closed with the new façades.

Over the centuries, the houses themselves were altered and renovated many times, while the gables remained. The town houses were destroyed in the bombing raids on Osnabrück during the Second World War, but the gables were preserved with the exception of the former Ameldung pharmacy (now the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Centre). In the post-war period, the houses on the south side of the market were reconstructed as late Gothic gabled houses from the 16th century.

The Ameldung Pharmacy

The "Erich Maria Remarque Peace Centre" has been located at Markt 6 since 1996. Here, the famous author's desk, photos and manuscripts, for example, are on display in a permanent exhibition. These are supplemented by themed temporary exhibitions. Remarque's best-known work is his novel "Im Westen nichts Neues."
The architecture of the building as it appears today is reminiscent of Osnabrück classicism at the end of the 18th century. However, Osnabrück's second pharmacy, the "Löwenapotheke", was already established on this site at the turn of the 17th century, probably as a consequence of the experiences of the previous plague periods. It became known by the name of its owners, the Ameldung family of pharmacists. As pharmacists, along with doctors and preachers, these educated people belonged to the city's intellectual elite. In the Middle Ages, pharmacists often also took on medical functions. In addition to medicines, pharmacies at that time also sold cosmetics, delicatessen products and spirits. At the time of the Peace Congress, the Ameldung Pharmacy was not only used by envoys, it also served as their unofficial and informal meeting place and social centre. The family register of journeyman pharmacist Johann Friedrich Etschenreuther still provides information about the illustrious visitors during the peace negotiations.
The building was badly damaged during the Second World War in 1944, but was rebuilt in 1958.

The pharmacy is known today for Anna Ameldung, the wife of councillor and pharmacist Heinrich Ameldung. She was the last victim of the Osnabrück witch hunt to die by beheading in 1636. In the Schölerberg district, Ameldungstraße has been named after this old Osnabrück family since 1925. The last male representative was the pharmacist and senior councillor Heinrich Christoph Ameldung, who died in 1803.

The Square of the Peace of Westphalia

In the immediate vicinity of the market, shady seats on the Square of the Peace of Westphalia invite you to take a closer look at the civic fountain. It illustrates the most important events in the city's history.


  • Evening atmosphere at the Market Square
  • Colourful stepped gable houses at the Market Square

Address & contact

Historic Market Square
Markt 1
49074 Osnabrück

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Note on possible changes at short notice

Please inquire on the homepages or directly in the respective houses about the current opening and event times, prices, cancellations, etc.. This information can change at short notice!