Man, Machine, Muensterland

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Industry in Muenster


While Muenster is not much of an industrial town, it has developed its own industrial sector starting in 1850.


1879 – August Winkhaus

One of the first industrial enterprises was Winkhaus, a locks and keys factory which was founded in 1879. The print and press industry has also been very prominent in Muenster with its biggest representatives being the printhouses Fahle and Aschendorff. The opening of the city harbour with its connection to the Dortmund-Ems Canal was very important for the foundation of several industries; for example the farm equipment factory “Stille”, the wire weaving plant “Hupfer” and the elevators firm “Tepper” should be menitioned. At the beginning of the 20th century, Muenster’s most important industrial sectors were the building industry and Oevermann street paving business.The world economic crisis in 1929 did not hit the industry in Muenster as hard as other industrial centres in Germany. After 1933 when the National Socialists took over, the industry was solely kept alive by informal workers.

The majority of factories was destroyed during the Second World War. After that, the British only allowed the vital production sectors to continue operating. Following the currency reform of the Deutsche Mark, most of Muenster's enterprises experienced an economic boom never seen before. Refugees, exiled and GID expropriated people built new businesses, mostly housed in former army barracks. Structural change came after the 60s which led to the closing of long established companies, food and beverage and clothing industries. International companies such as Armstrong, Wyeth, BASF and Brillux settled in Muenster and made it an important centre for the chemical industry. After the recession of the 80s, Muenster started to promote businesses having their main focus on medicinal technology, Biotech and environmental technology. In today's globalized world, businesses from Muenster are positioning themselves worldwide.


1899 - The Dortmund–Ems Canal

The Dortmund–Ems Canal is a 269 km long canal in Germany between the inland port of the city of Dortmund  and the seaport of Emden. The canal was opened in 1899. The reason for the construction of the canal was to lighten the load on the railways, which could not transport the products of the Rhine-Ruhr area. The canal was also supposed to make the coal from the Ruhr area more competitive, compared to the imported English coal. Furthermore, the steel industry in the eastern Ruhr area needed ores from abroad. After the second world war, the canal had to be widened. The parts of the canal that were elevated above ground level could not easily be widened, and therefore a new route was constructed between Olfen and Münster. These parts of the canal lie parallel to the old route, and new river crossings were also built, and the old route was closed for shipping. At the moment, the canal is being widened again. This is done without closing the canal for shipping.

Adapted and adopted from:


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ImageThis page was written by the German team. Only the German team is responsible for its content.
For further information please contact: Ludwig Schmidt - Abendgymnasium der Stadt Münster
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