The Aasee is an artificial reservoir in Münster. It is about 2.3 kilometers long and about 40 hectares in size and also serves as flood protection. Together with the surrounding areas offers visitors an area of 90 hectares the local recreation area of Münster.
In the 19th century, the site of today’s lake was a wetland that was regularly flooded. Sometimes even to the extent that the old town of Münster was affected.
The first zoo director of Münster Professor Hermann Landois (1835-1905) first had the idea of the Aasee project. He was not only concerned with beautifying the cityscape, enriching the groundwater for drinking water supply, fish breeding in the lake or sporting use such as rowing, sailing and swimming. He also wanted to achieve, from a hygienic point of view, the flushing of the Aabett in summer, when the Aa, as the “sewer” of the city, could quickly become a source of pathogens due to high temperatures. With the help of a reservoir, however, one also wanted to achieve that the residents of the Aa could be protected from the possible danger of flooding.
In 1914, work began on a kind of basin, but the work was interrupted by the First World War. After the catastrophic floods of 1925, the construction work continued. The old Aasee was created (up to the present Tormin Bridge), an area of about 21 hectares.
The need for use grew and so in 1972-76 the lake was extended by the New Aasee, which lies behind the bridge. Now it was possible to hold competitions on a 2000m long rowing course.
Trip with the SOLAARIS
In many places you go by steamer or ship, in Münster you go by SOLAARIS.
The SOLAARIS is an environmentally friendly passenger boat equipped with the latest solar technology. The ship is just under 16 meters long and 4.60 meters wide. 28 solar modules supply the engine with enough power to carry a maximum of 68 people on the lake.
We took a small tour by boat across the Aasee. Every hour the ship starts at the Aaseeterrassen, goes to the open-air museum Mühlenhof (link) and to the Allwetterzoo and from there back to the terraces. You can take a round trip or just ride individual sections of the route.
With our münstercard, we were able to take the boat trip free of charge. Fortunately, there were only a few people at the pier and so it was possible to get one of the few outdoor seats. When we then departed, I was a bit surprised at how loud the ship’s engine was. I had actually suspected that similar to the e-cars, no engine noise would be heard. But surely the technology of a ship’s engine is not equal to that of a car. Either way, I enjoyed the ride and looking at the shore of the Aasee from the water.
It was a steamboat trip of a different kind, which you should definitely take if you are in Münster.
Walk on the shore of the lake
We went for a walk around the lake. We enjoyed not only the peace and the beautiful view over the lake. Ducks swim, sailboats and pedal boats sail across the lake – only swimming is not allowed here. The water quality does not allow that.
At the Aaseeterrassen you have the opportunity to eat and drink something while watching the hustle and bustle on the water. There is always something going on here, many visitors stroll around. But if you go further along the shore path, there are less and less people walking here. Now and then a jogger runs by, bicycles do not ride here.
On the shore you can find numerous art installations, which sometimes more or less aroused our interest. There are, for example, the “Giant Pool Balls”, which are no longer as white as the artist intended, but are covered with colorful graffiti on the northern shore.
On a large lawn stands the Wewerka Pavilion, which is used for art exhibitions. You are not allowed to go inside. Here you can only look at the art from the outside.
Already from the water we had discovered the pier in the Aasee. The Pardo Pier by artist Jorge Pardo is about 40 meters long and leads to an open pavilion on a viewing platform. From here you can look beautifully over the lake.
On our first visit to Münster, we were very pleased to see the sound installation under the bridge that crosses the Aasee. We really liked it. Unfortunately, we didn’t hear it this time.
Pedal boating on the Aasee
Do you know the story of Petra the Swan from Münster? Already during our first visit to the city, we were told the story:
It was 2006, when a very special love story caught our eye on the Aasee in Münster. A swan fell in love with a swan pedal boat. When someone approached the pedal boat, it even defended it with threatening gestures. Later, the swan followed the boat, even if it was rented, across the lake.
A nickname was quickly found for the swan “Black Peter”, in reference to Peter Overschmidt, the owner of the boat.
Even when the pedal boat had to be taken out of the water in winter, the swan stayed close by. In the meantime, a DNA analysis of a feather had revealed that Peter was a Petra. In the winter quarters in the all-weather zoo of Münster, they tried to pair the female swan with other mourning swans – unsuccessfully – the love held.
For two years Petra tried to attract the attention of the boat, then the affair ended suddenly and Petra disappeared. Since 2009, she was considered missing. She was searched for everywhere in Germany. But Petra then reappeared injured in a sanctuary for wild birds in Osnabrück in 2013. There she found a new love, a male mourning swan.
Whether the swan pedal boat is still the same pedal boat today, we do not know. … In any case, we took this pedal boat for a ride around the Aasee. There is only one swan pedal boat on the Aasee, accordingly it is much sought after and also the “eye-catcher” for the strollers on the shore.
If you pedal briskly, you make it, in 30 minutes to the bridge that leads across the lake and back again. But that is then already really work. We preferred to go a little slower and looked for a new friend for the pedal boat swan.
I wonder if this will be the next swan affair, even if it’s not a swan???
Those who are not so fond of pedal boating can also learn to sail or go rowing on the Aasee.
What to discover near the shore – excursion tips around the lake Aasee
Not only can you take a walk or go boating on the Aasee. There are also plenty of recreational opportunities on the shore of the lake.
If you have a lot of time, you can visit the Allwetterzoo Münster. Here you can discover about 3000 animals, romp around on playgrounds or make new friends in the petting zoo.
For horse lovers, the Westphalian Horse Museum is located in the Allwetterzoo Münster.
A visit to the LWL Natural History Museum, which is located almost directly on the Aasee, is also highly recommended.
We visited the open-air museum Mühlenhof. Here are beautiful half-timbered houses from the 16th – 19th century. If you would like to learn more about it, it is best to read our report “Visit to the open-air museum Mühlenhof in Münster”.
Overnight stay tip at the Aasee
We stayed at the Möwenpick Hotel Münster for one night during our visit to Münster.
A really nice hotel that impressed me especially with the richest breakfast buffet I have experienced in a hotel so far.
The selection, variety and quality of the food was very good. Too bad that at some point you can not eat anything!
Our evening visit to the hotel bar to end the day with a cold beer was also very pleasant.
We slept soundly here, the room on the 4th floor was quiet and comfortable.
If you arrive by train like we did, you can reach the hotel after more than 30 minutes on foot or you can take a bus to the vicinity of the hotel. We took an e-scooter in the evening after over 28000 steps around the Aasee and parked it in front of the hotel. But there is also the possibility to use a rental bike (bike station free of charge with münstercard or hotel-owned bikes).
Disclosure: We were able to use some of the offers presented here free of charge during the blogger trip to Münster. the report on this was written independently.
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