Bünde lies in the middle of the Ravensberg Basin between the Teutoburg Forest and the Wiehen Mountains in East Westphalia-Lippe. Around 45,500 people live in this 5,930 hectare area. This town on the Else is more than 1,150 years old. Its inhabitants, visitors and those in the hospitality industry can enjoy its many benefits. These include a wide spectrum of business and employment opportunities together with excellent provision for shopping and housing, education and sport, plus facilities for health, recreation, leisure and culture and an attractive array of hospitality options. Randringhausen, the nationally recognised health resort and spa at the foot of the Wiehen Mountains complements this wealth of attractions. Tradition and innovation stand side by side with commercial development in this charming town. Its colourful history as a cigar production centre cleared the way for the lively mixture of industries we see today. Bünde is a pleasant town offering both commercial and shopping potential and with good transport links to the surrounding area and further afield. It has a solid infrastructure and a modern town centre with plenty of green space in the form of parks, gardens and rural landscape. Living in fine style in an historic building or in a personally-designed dream house turns daily living into an unforgettable experience. Opportunities for an active life span the generations and encourage shared life-planning. Everyone in Bünde benefits from life here – from young families right through to investors. Unique visitor attractions, a large network of cycle paths and interesting destinations for local excursions help to make Bünde particularly attractive to short-stay or weekend holiday-makers as well as visitors making a longer visit for reasons of health or recuperation.
The commercial upturn in Bünde began in the middle of the 19th century, thanks to the cigar industry that replaced the hand production of yarn and linen which had previously been the town's main industry. The story goes that in 1843, Tönnies Wellensiek, father of a young family, went to Bremen on a trolley-bus and walked back to Bünde with 75 pounds of tobacco. He and his wife turned this tobacco into cigars, which sold very well. This marked the birth of the local cigar and tobacco industry. As a result of this, Bünde became known as 'Cigar Town' or the cigar box and the town's fame spread far and wide. There are still 3 well-known cigar manufacturers in the town today. Every second or third cigar produced in Germany is made in Bünde. As the cigar industry expanded, associated industries also sprang up, such as print works and manufacturers of cardboard packaging and cigar boxes. As part of later commercial re-structuring, well-known firms producing kitchens, home furnishings, upholstery and office furniture moved in together with important metal-working firms supplying the automotive, pharmaceutical, furniture, packaging and food industries. Specialist machinery and vehicle manufacturers, textile and clothing firms, electronics and wood-working businesses and the glass and plastics industries also belong on this list. Local producers of model-building parts, casing systems, heating, cooking, air-conditioning and commercial kitchen equipment are all well-known firms. A wide spectrum of trades workshops, service industries, service providers and wholesale and retail firms sit alongside the established sectors of agriculture, landscaping and horticulture.
Spend time browsing or shopping in this attractive town
Every town needs a main shopping street and boulevard, and in Bünde these are Eschstraße and Bahnhofstraße. The streets between Tönnies-Wellensiek-Platz and the Town hall are now a pedestrian precinct, and beyond that is a traffic-calmed area. These combine to provide 2,000 metres of attractive shopping possibilities. Numerous boutiques, independent shops, specialist shops and department stores offer all the shopper could wish for. The wide range of choice together with ample provision of free local parking makes shopping a pleasure. Our smaller visitors can also find something to suit them. The town centre also boasts specialist markets and large retail outlets, and cosy cafés and restaurants offer an irresistible array of cakes, ices, snacks, meals and drinks. A glance at the upper storeys of the buildings reveals historic façades with their lovingly-preserved detail, so characteristic of the Bünde townscape.
A stroll round the traditional Bünde market is a must for visitors. This takes place in the market square in Marktstraße three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and is well-known and well-loved throughout the region. The wide variety of goods for sale include regional specialities like Westphalian ham, sausage, meat, poultry, fish and textiles as well as bread and bakery products, eggs, dairy produce, honey, fruit, vegetables and flowers. The market is open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday throughout the year from 07:00 until 13:00.
Traditions and festivals
Bünder, as the local people are called, know how to celebrate with friends and visitors. Many well-loved events have had their special place in the local calendar since the year dot. The spring festival takes place on the first weekend after Mother's Day. The core element of this event is the exhibition in the pedestrian precinct by Bünde’s landscape designers and garden centres; an event which is unparalleled in the region. As well as all this, the merchandise on sale in Eschstraße and Bahnhofstraße is guaranteed to appeal to the senses, with good things to look at, listen to, smell and taste. Bünder can always be relied upon to take part in whatever is happening, whether it's "1000 Bünde Bikes", health awareness days or flea markets. Multi-cultural events create new impressions and make new friends. Our many visitors from near and far are always most welcome in Bünde. This also applies to the many sports and shooting festivals celebrated in all areas of the town during the summer months. The end of summer is marked by the traditional Bünde onion market, which developed from the Ägidii Market of 1756. This huge spectacle is something between a fair and a craft market and its kitsch and jumble bring in more than 250,000 visitors every year on the last weekend of September.
Sport and exercise in Bünde
People of all ages enjoy sport. Active people can make use of the many specialist facilities in sports clubs or in the adult education centre, either on their own or as part of a group. Bünde has two large community schools and sports centres. Attractions include sports halls and sports fields, a skating rink, three artificial turf pitches and a German Soccer Association (DFB) mini-pitch. From May till September the open-air swimming pool in the centre of Bünde offers the opportunity to cool down with a swim or one of the other water activities available: children's pool, non-swimmer as well as swimmer pools and not for the faint-hearted: the ten-meter diving board. The Bünder Welle, an all-year-round indoor swimming pool with garden surroundings in Ennigloh, is not only for early bird swimmers but also provides an all-weather alternative to open-air swimming. Walkers can enjoy the 100 km network of designated paths in the vicinity. There are particularly attractive tours available in Radringhausen, the nationally acclaimed spa resort with its health cure quarter in Dünne, and in Muckum-Habighorst, Werfer Bruch, Else-Aue, Bustedter Holz, the Doberg Nature Reserve, and a sea-water aquarium in Stein. In an area of woodland in the Ennigloh district is Dustholz Park, laid out as natural parkland with a mini-golf course. Steinmeister Park right next to the town centre is fast becoming a multi-generational meeting place. Elsedamm is popular for walking, cycling and jogging.
The culture scene in Bünde
The cultural focus in Bünde is the theatre and concert programme by Stadtkultur GbR (Urban Culture) which takes place in the large concert hall of the Stadtgarten. Outstanding theatrical productions alternate with great musical moments with old and new masterpieces. The breadth of events on offer in the Stadtgarten also includes musicals, ballet, dance and folk-dancing, rock and pop, folk music and more. In the late summer of 2001, an old cinema was given a new lease of life: The Universum cinema near the station suddenly shone forth again and – extended with a functional annex – took up its role as a modern cultural, educational and community centre. Repertory cinema, film series aimed at particular groups, classical music, jazz & blues and rock & pop as well as surprisingly experimental theatre, cabaret, comedy, variety, book readings, studio theatre and children's theatre, lectures and educational events plus multi-media presentations all make a dazzling impression. The gastronomic experience of Humphreys – small but beautifully formed – completes the inviting ambience of this building. To give a complete picture of the cultural scene in Bünde would involve a much longer list; the chamber music series in the Dammhaus, for instance, or the ambitious spectrum of church music, events in the Forum in Ennigloh with room for 600 people, school performances, concerts by the Bünde Music School, the activities and events organised by the many clubs in Bünde, lectures and readings in the library and so much more. The cultural contribution of Bünde’s twin towns of Jakobstad/ Pietarsaari (Finland) and Leisnig (Saxony) adds an interesting wider dimension to the overall cultural scene.
Hospitality in Bünde
The visitor to Bünde can live well. An abundance of comfortable restaurants and pubs
ensures that guests can be spoiled with German specialities and international cuisine. It is, of course, possible to sample typical Westphalian fare such as home-made Stippgrütze (not unlike haggis) or Westphalian Pickert (a type of potato pancake). Many establishments have preserved their own speciality over the years. There is something here for every taste; from the old-world atmosphere of a renovated half-timbered house to a stylish wine bar or the popular forest and tourist restaurants. As well as places to eat, there are plenty of pubs, bistros and cafés to meet friends or to make new ones at the bar. Or how do you fancy a visit to the oldest disco in Germany? Hospitality in Bünde can be enjoyed in modern hotels, cosy guest houses, B & Bs and a spa hotel. All according to taste and pocket, the visitor can choose the peace and quiet of the country or the lively city centre. Conference and social facilities are available for conferences and other events. For further information see the separate Register of Hotels and Accommodation in Bünde
Places of interest to visit in the town
1. Bünde Museum – a museum island at the edge of eastern Westphalia
The German tocacco and cigar museum is located in the Striediekschen Hof, built in 1830. The 2,230 exhibits and 31 interactive media stations give an insight into the cultural history of tobacco. The origins of tobacco in connection with the indigenous population of America and the route of this weed, unknown before Christopher Columbus' voyages of discovery, to the "Old World" are themes covered by the cultural history. Interesting facts can be discovered about tobacco as a form of medication and about the spread of the various methods of tobacco consumption. There are more than 500 pipes and 200 smoking accessories on display, which give interesting glimpses into the social significance and the consumption of tobacco previous centuries.
The Doberg Museum – the geological museum of eastern Wesphalia-Lippe is housed in a modern building in the same area. The Oligocene period is brought to life here, a time when 30 million years ago the waves of an earlier North Sea surged against the cliffs of the Teutoburg Forest. Fascinating fossils centred on the Herford Lias Basin and Wiehen Mountains can be seen in the section entitled "The Mesozoic period on the southern edge of the North German Basin". The most important exhibits from more recent periods of the Oligocene era are the Doberg skeleton of the famous Bünde manatee and the skull of equally famous toothed whale.
The exhibits in the museum of local history in the Hurlbrinksches Haus and the Spieker next door are tools and equipment related to the linen weaving industry and show aspects of life in the town at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. The reconstruction of a typical corner shop as it would have been around the first half of the 20th century is particularly interesting.
2. St Laurentius Church
St Laurentius' church in Bünde is one of the oldest churches founded in Westphalia. An ancient deed dating from the year 853 shows that this church together with a farming settlement called "Buginithi" existed in the time of Louis the Pious (778-840). Following much building and alteration work, the late Romanesque transept was completed in the 13th century and has substantially survived intact. The west tower is probably of an earlier date. The building is now used by the Lutheran church and has been a listed building since 1985. St Laurentius' Church is certainly well worth a visit, but there are other things to see as well. A walk round the square in front of the church reveals some ancient chestnut, oak and lime trees which also give that air of timelessness.
3. Hof Rahning and Haus Dahlkötter
Hof Rahning was once a town farmhouse dating from 1677. This imposing, half-timbered listed building is in Bahnhofstraße, just across from St Laurentius' Church. Dahlkötter, the four-storey half-timbered house next door is thought to have been built in 1555. If this is the case, the house is the oldest building in Bünde. It was originally built simply as a farmhouse. An extension on the west side served as a stable. The cellar beneath the house, with its small windows, still covered with a grille, was once used by the police as a jail. Today this building is occupied by the registry office.
4. Doberg – a "sea water aquarium in stone",
Doberg lies to the south-east of Bünde and consists of sand and marl, the deposits left by the original North Sea that covered this area about 30 million years ago. This is the only site in the whole of Europe where all the strata of that period are still intact. Doberg is, therefore, of great scientific significance. Huge turtles, gigantic sharks, slender toothed whales, manatees, numberless snails, sea urchins and crabs milled around in the warm tides of the wide ocean. This complex ecology can still be seen in its fossilised form. The most significant finds from Doberg include the skeleton of a manatee and the 1 metre-long skull of a toothed whale.
5. St Paul's Church
St Paul's Church was built between 1869 and 1873 in the neo-gothic style as a hall church with three naves. The church was built in Weser sandstone, and has a massive tower on it west front. It was originally built as a preaching church intended to accommodate 1,200 people, and so the pulpit stands in the middle of the attentive congregation. This imposing building bears witness to the growth of the Lutheran congregation in Bünde and the development of the town in the mid-19th century. St Paul's Church has been a listed building since 1986. As well as services of worship and other ecclesiastical events, the church regularly hosts classical concerts which feature artists from Germany and abroad.
The Universum Cinema successfully combines the atmosphere of a 50s cinema with the latest technology. The cinema can seat 220 patrons and is a centre for intimate theatre and cinema. It is open six days a week and presents entertainment for all tastes. In Humphreys, the bistro attached to the cinema, can meet in a sociable setting to chat about what they have just seen or are about to see.
7. City Hall "Stadtgarten"
For over 100 years the Stadtgarten had been the focus for social and cultural events in Bünde. Completely renovated in 1997, the main hall can seat up to 2,400 people. It is the venue for large-scale performances, celebrations, concerts, theatre, musicals, ballet, dance and folk-dancing, rock & pop, folk music, trades fairs, conferences etc.
A green oasis in the middle of the town: The 2.5 hectare Steinmeisterpark is barely 10 minutes walk away from the shopping area. Benches along a network of paths invite the visitor to sit and rest for a moment or two. This is the place to recover from the stress of everyday life and to enjoy the laughter of children in the play area at the edge of the park or simply to watch the ducks swimming along. The Steinmeister pond is the only remaining fish pond of what at the end of the 19th century were 38 ponds between Lübbecker Straße and Bismarckstraße first created as fish farms. Fish farming was introduced by August Steinmeister, the son of the co-founder of the Bünde cigar industry. There is no record of why fish farming did not survive in Bünde. The little house at the edge of the pond are a reminder that the fish farmer once lived here.
9. The tobacco warehouse
The striking four-storey red-brick building with its two attic floors was built in 1896 in the industrial style of that time as a tobacco warehouse. This is the only remaining warehouse in Westphalia and its appearance is reminiscent of the warehouse buildings of the north German Hanseatic cities. In 1986, the Bünde town council made the tobacco warehouse a listed building and it has subsequently been completely restored. This industrial monument is still used as a tobacco warehouse.
10. The Bünde Music School
The Bünde Music School was founded in 1958 as part of the youth music movement in the Herford district and was taken over in 1970 into the care of the local authority. Since 1983 it has been based in the former administration building in Ennigloh, a handsome art nouveau building with a Renaissance-style south gable built in 1902. Around 1,100 pupils receive instruction here in early and basic musical education, music theory and instrumental or vocal tuition in a total of 25 subjects. The musical skills the pupils acquire can be expressed and developed in the symphony orchestra, chamber music groups, the big band or other ensembles.
11. Public Library
The library holds around 40,000 books, CDs, cassettes and CD-ROMs for every taste and every interest which are available for borrowing.
The library also hosts a varied cultural programme: Story-telling sessions, book quizzes and puppet plays for children, plus lectures and readings and lectures etc. Just come drop by, it's well worth a look!
City Porträt of Bünde
City of Bünde
Post Code 32257
Prefix number +49 52 23
District of Herford, administrative district of Detmold, Land of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Bünde municipal administration, Bahnhofstr. 13 + 15, 32257 Bünde,
P.O. Box 27 49 • 32227 Bünde
Phone 1 61-0, Fax 1 61-3 51
Citizens Advice Bureau in town hall, phone 161-435,
Urban area 5,930 hectares
North-south extent 10.7 km
East-west extent 11.0 km
Altitude 59 -175 metres above sea level.
Administrative centre, Herford 12 km
Bielefeld 22 km
Osnabrück 39 km
Hannover 100 km
Culture and events centres
Stadtgarten (and Stadthalle), Universum Cinema, Dammhaus, Town Hall, Library, Music school, community schools Bünde-Mitte and Bünde-Nord, events in churches, light shows in Bünde.
8 primary schools, 1 secondary school, 2 secondary schools, 2 grammar schools, 1 comprehensive school (Federation of Comprehensive Schools, Bünde/Kirchlengern, 1 special school for children with learning difficulties, 2 vocational schools for the Herford district (specialist school for technology and therapeutic pedagogy, school of business studies), adult education centre in Herford district.
Sport and leisure
1 heated open-air swimming pool, 1 indoor swimming pool, 19 sports and gymnastics halls, 20 sports fields and outdoor sports facilities, 2 tennis courts, 3 shooting ranges, 2 riding facilities, angling on the Else (more than 40 different species of fish), cycle hire, bike park at the station.
Health and social life
1 hospital (400 beds), 1 psychiatric clinic, 11 general practitioners, 46 specialists, 22 dentists, 8 practitioners of alternative medicine, 4 midwives, 3 veterinary surgeons, 13 pharmacies, medical and health centres, 19 day nurseries, 34 children's playgrounds, 1 youth hostel, 1 youth leisure centre, 4 residential care homes for the elderly, 1 day care centre with welfare centre, 10 day centres for the elderly, support centres for foreigners and refugees and numerous churches.
Bünde is mobile
Bünde IC railway station as part of the East Westphalia linked transport system
The Bünde area is on the 375 timetable stretch of the Hengelo-Löhne line and so has excellent long-distance passenger rail connections to Amsterdam/Münster and Hanover/Berlin. LPT – local public transport
Bünde railway station has a direct connection to the Bünde city bus services. Other regional bus services provided by the Minden- Herforder Verkehrsservice GmbH start from the central bus station. Modern city buses run on 4 routes through the Bustedt, Dünne, Ennigloh, Hunnebrock, Südlengern and Spradow districts, serving around 35,000 residents. Information on fares and timetables can be obtained from the bus office or the Treffpunkt bus stop. The mobility centre is also here and can supply information on all LPT services.City bus office
Cycling in Bünde
Details of the whole cycling network, which is 120 km long and is entirely signposted are given on the RADstadtplan (town cycling map) where other information about cycling in Bünde can also be found. The BahnRadRoute (rail-cycle route) Weser-Lippe and the Else Werre cycle path lead long-distance cyclists through Bünde. It is very straightforward to combine cycling with rail travel. Commuters can simply take their bike with them on the train or leave them safely in the cycle station at Bünde rail station. E-Bikes and Pedelecs can be topped up at the station with power for the next stretch. Kilowatt hours are free of charge for all cycle station customers. Cycling is in season in Bünde all year round. From April until October it is, of course, very busy. That's why the Bünder Radelsommer summer cycling calendar bundles all the dates to provide a quick overview. Cyclists from all over the region meet on the first Sunday in July for a cycling day and open cycle race. The annual summer event Radopoly & Co. combines sociable cycling with solving puzzles. Themed cycle routes and suggestions for excursions encourage cycling all year round.
The nationally recognised spa resort of Randringhausen with its health cure district
To the north of the town lies the nationally recognised spa resort of Radringhausen with its health cure district and the only nationally recognised iodine-sulphur springs in North Rhine-Westphalia. Radringhausen is continuing the centuries old bathing tradition in Bünde, where the first health spring was discovered in 1728. The wooded spa area covers around 266 hectares and surrounds the actual health cure district of 34 hectares. In the spa hotel and the various B & Bs remarkable success is achieved in treating rheumatic ailments, sciatica, gout, nervous and gynaecological problems as well as rehabilitation following hip, knee and spinal surgery. Natural remedies used are iodine-sulphur and sulphur- mud baths with fresh, natural mud. Additional therapeutic treatments available are carbon dioxide and oxygen gas baths, bromine, valerian and pine needle baths and massage. Further information can be obtained from the spa hotel and Tourist Information. The beautifully kept spa parkland keeps its own promise to promote relaxation and well-being and even in its white winter dress offers irresistible walks, Nordic walking and jogging. There are also circular footpaths, graded for difficulty, through the charming landscape in the vicinity of the health cure district. Leisure activities are also available to health cure visitors in the form of a special programme of events, which includes slide shows, dietary advice, folk song evenings, excursions, sightseeing tours and shopping trips.
Since 1968 Bünde has been twinned with the Finnish town of Jakobstad/Pietarsaari, a coastal town on the Gulf of Bothnia. The twin towns share a similar history of commercial development. The tobacco industry was also dominant in Jakobstad at one time. Jakobstad has a population of around 20,000. The town twinning thrives on regular contact on both a large and a small scale.
In 1990, Bünde was also twinned with Leisnig in Saxony. This small mining town with a population of around 9,000 and situated in an attractive area of the Freiberg basin has a remarkable history. Cigars were also once produced in Leisnig. The Leisnigers go for superlatives in exactly the same way as the Bünder (enormous cigars in the museum). The Leisniger giant's boot (shoe size 330) is unique and has found its way into the Guinness Book of Records.