Seeing and experiencing
"Small, but beautiful" - that is how the well-travelled person likes to describe Halle in Westphalia after taking a closer look. "Our city", the locals say, not without pride. Because here on the southern slope of the Teutoburg Forest - one of only 63 UNESCO geoparks - one can live splendidly, be a guest and feel good. Come along on a discovery tour.
Alte Lederfabrik (Old Leather Factory)
Today this old leather factory in Halle is home to numerous artists and craftsmen. Come here to find sculptors, painters, photographers, artisan b blacksmiths, stove builders and now also a small wine shop.
They all have their workshops and studios here and offer the opportunity to visit them and watch them work during their opening hours and on every first Saturday of the month, and by appointment. Some artists offer creative workshops from time to time where you can gain practical insights into different techniques through your own work.
The town of Halle has also rented space in the factory where it holds regular exhibitions with well-known or unknown artists. The ‘Frühlingserwachen’ (‘Spring Awakening’) and ‘Unikat’ (‘One of a Kind’) are two large events on the factory premises where guest exhibitors are invited to present a wide range of themes. By now it has become impossible to imagine the range of events at the factory without the ‘FabrikFestival’, a music event with regional bands, organized by Dietmar Althaus and the cultural office of the town of Halle, is an integral part of the cultural life of the factory.
Activities are held throughout the year, such as the culinary guided tours in ‘Kunst und Genuss’ (‘Art and Pleasure’), and theatre events or readings round off the activities and the attractiveness of the Old Leather Factory.
Gerry Weber Stadium
The GERRY WEBER STADIUM is a multifunctional arena with closable roof accommodating 11.500 visitors. The design engineering which is unique in the whole of Europe allows it to convert the Stadium within 90 seconds into a venue independent of weather.
Seasonal highlight is the only German ATP lawn tennis tournament, the GERRY WEBER OPEN. Since its premiere in 1993, the Event evolved into one of the most successful ATP tournaments in Europe. TV audience rates and total numbers of viewers (over 100,000 spectators each year) remain unequalled in Germany.
Further national and international sports events – Davis-Cup-home matches, handball major events, ice skating shows and the German Volleyball Cup finals– alternate with high-class concert events.
Over the past years Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Lionel Richie, Eros Ramazzotti, Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, Peter Maffay and Elton John and others performed here in front of an enthusiastic audience.
In addition, the GERRY WEBER STADIUM is superbly suited for product presentations and company incentives. For example, vehicle presentations of the companies MAN and Volvo, and also the 100th anniversary of the Storck company have been held in the arena.
"Haller Herz" ("Heart of Halle")
The heart of Halle lies well-protected between two lively shopping streets. The half-timbered houses along Rosenstrasse and Bahnhofsstrasse form an almost complete bulwark. The pointed oval shape gave the church square its name: the Heart of Halle. This impression is even more pronounced when you discover the narrow passageways and the peaceful square at its centre. Today, the impressive lime trees that surround the central church here and the few passers-by you are likely to make the Heart of Halle into a refuge where you can relax after a lengthy stroll.
In past times, however, the farmers actually retreated to this inner square around the church to find protection from attacks. The square even gave them the opportunity to bring their cattle and some provisions with them. The protected space also therefore became the last resting place of the people of Halle. The graveyard surrounding the church of St. John, which today is not only a religious attraction but also attracts music-lovers due to events such as Halle Bach Days and Halle Musical Autumn, has meanwhile disappeared. The same is true of the old school, which is now a combined residential and commercial building. The former residence of the administrative head of church square now houses the museum for the works of important artists that were created during their childhood and youth and is considered the oldest existing half-timbered building in the historic centre of Halle. Come here to enjoy peace among the magnificent lime trees after a walk through the town. Or take a themed tour of the town in order to find out more about this idyllic place.
Haller Willlem (Willem from Halle)
If a railway line is given a nickname, this is proof that it is close to people’s hearts – like Willem from Halle. This section of railway, which connects Halle with the cities of Bielefeld and Osnabrück, has the rather awkward name of ‘RB 75’ in railway jargon. In Halle and in other places along the route, it is known simply by the name ‘Haller Willem’.
The journey from the railway station in Halle to Bielefeld central station takes a good 20 minutes, and it takes 40 minutes to Osnabrück. As well as in the centre of Halle, the Haller Willem also stops at Gerry-Weber Stadium and in the districts of Hesseln and Künsebeck. Thus, the railway route is not only convenient for commuters but also the ideal method of transport for outings to nearby destinations.
As modern as Haller Willem is today, its name is still reminiscent of a time before the railway stopped in Halle. The real Willem from Halle was a carter: Wilhelm Stuckemeyer conveyed people and goods from Halle to Bielefeld twice a day. When the railway opened in 1886, this corpulent coachman, who was well loved in Halle on account of his good humour, lost his livelihood. His nickname quickly spread to the new trains.
If you cross Ronchin Square, you will see the monument to ‘Haller Willem’, created in 2002 in granite and bronze by the artist Wojtek Höft and commissioned by the town. Besides its artistic appearance, it also animates visitors to take photographs or to climb, touch or sit on it, an offer that is particularly taken up by children.
The ‘Haller Willem’ town festival, named after the historic carter, offers fun and entertainment for young and old. More than 20,000 visitors flock to the centre of Halle every year for this two-day event.
Kaffeemühle (Coffee Mill)
It is not the octagonal shape with its copper structure that gives the ‘Kaffeemühle’ (coffee mill) its name. This building in the middle of the Teutoburg Forest (at the junction of Hermannsweg and the A1 hiking path) was also built by a coffee merchant. The Bremen merchant Hermann Hagedorn planned the pavilion as a viewpoint for a large park on the slope. Today, the avenue of chestnut trees along Apothekerstrasse is the only remaining part of the park – and, of course, the ‘Kaffeemühle.. It is still a popular destination for walkers and offers spectacular views over the whole of Halle and beyond.. Hermann Hagedorn’s descendants built a memorial to him, directly in the line of sight and just below this listed pavilion, for his great commitment to Halle.
Remise (Carriage Hall) Community Centre
The Remise community centre was established in 1988 from the former Kisker distillery to form a socio-cultural centre. The company had moved its operations to Künsebeck business park at the end of the 1970s.
The entire ensemble of buildings, which is listed, consists of a shed (originally: carriage hall), distillery, ham house and a half-timbered house. Today, the buildings house the town’s library with the archives, the office of the Ravensberg adult education centre, the youth centre, the multi-generation house and various crèche groups.
The Remise serves as a venue for events and also houses a gallery for exhibitions. The events in the hall of the Remise centre enrich the cultural life of our town. These include exhibitions, music and cabaret events, literary and culinary evenings, arts and crafts and environmental markets, tea dances and much more. The annual Halle Schützenfest (or marksman’s fair) has also found an excellent venue here.
Ronchin-Platz (Ronchin Square)
At the centre of the pedestrian precinct, looking towards the tower of the church of St. John, where Bahnhofstrasse and Rosenstrasse meet, lies Ronchin Square. It was given this name in 1984 when the town was twinned with the town of Ronchin in northern France.
If you cross this square you will see the monument to ‘Haller Willem’, created in 2002 in granite and bronze by the artist Wojtek Höft and commissioned by the town. It was named after the carter Wilhelm Stuckemeyer. He was one of the men who conveyed goods between Bielefeld and Osnabrück before the railway line was built. This popular carter drove his horse-drawn carriage to and fro between Halle and Bielefeld twice a day. When the railway was built, Stuckemeyer lost his livelihood. However, his nickname ‘Haller Willem’ remained – until today.
Ronchin Square is also often the centre for festivals and events and we sometimes unofficially call it the ‘Square of Nations’. We decorate the town and raise flags as a visual reminder of the idea of international understanding at this central location. This happened on the occasion of the Men’s Handball World Championship in 2007 and the Women’s Volleyball European Championship in 2013.
Skulpturenpark (Sculpture Park)
The sculpture park in the old graveyard on Bahnhofstrasse offers a journey of discovery through local art. Here, you can admire numerous sculptures, most by regional artists. Through the old gravestones, this place combines nature, tradition and art.
It is in places like graveyards and museums where visitors can find peace and devote themselves entirely to contemplation. In cemeteries, it is the gravestones that bring back memories, allow your thoughts to wander and re-awaken feelings. This is why gravestones were created with particular love and care, especially in the past. These memorials in stone often represent allegories and symbols that unfold their own pictorial language. In museums and art galleries, paintings and sculptures are the things that appeal to visitors encouraging them to linger and discover.
In Halle, both aspects are united in one place. ‘Der Alte Friedhof’, the old graveyard – consecrated in 1828 but long since disused – has become a museum here, a sculpture park. The first permanent sculpture was installed in 2004, and the park has been growing a little every year since. The ideas for the works of art come from the ‘Halle Bach Days’. This series of concerts is held under a different theme each year and this inspires not only the concert programme but is also implemented visually by local artists.
After the artists have created this optical accompaniment to the Bach Days, the works are then exhibited at the graveyard site and thus achieve a different point of reference and a new life. The sculptures that are exhibited are mainly works by artists from the region.
Stockkämpen Parish Church
The Reformation turned Germany into a religious patchwork carpet. The Ravensberg Land remained true to its Protestant beliefs and only a few noble families remained Catholic. They included the houses of Holtfeld (Franz Wilhelm Freiherr von Wendt) and Tatenhausen (Friedrich Matthias Freiherr von Korff-Schmising). However, they did not have their own church.
In their search for an urgently needed space to pray, they finally came across an unusable area of sand named ‘Stockkampf’ or ‘Stockkämpe’ where they built the Catholic church that was consecrated in 1696. Outwardly simple, the typically magnificent Baroque style only unfolds in the interior. The pietà developed into a destination for pilgrimages, which also take place every year along the Stations of the Cross around the church. A graveyard was built behind the church for those who had died and this developed into a very special jewel of its own kind over the years.
Waldbegräbnisse (Woodland Graveyards)
Nowadays, this is called a ‘Friedwald’ or ‘Forest of Peace’ And it is praised as a particularly sensitive innovation in the funeral business. But in Halle, there were already citizens in the 19th century who wished to be buried in the middle of the Teutoburg Forest. When the municipal graveyard in the ‘Heart of Halle’ was hopelessly overcrowded in 1811, some private graveyards were created in the centre of the Teutoburg Forest. Designed in their own artistic manner, there are still 34 graves maintained here today, with different sculptures and sarcophagi and even a small mausoleum. The largest interconnected grave area is located to the east of Grüner Weg with others below the ‘Kaffeemühle’.
Wasserschloss Tatenhausen (Moated Castle Tatenhausen)
A journey into the days of the barons and counts awaits when you take a trip to Tatenhausen moated castle. This Weser renaissance castle was the seat of the barons and counts von Korff gen. Schmising for more than 470 years. This moated castle, surrounded by trenches and groups of trees, was constructed in 1540. A Baroque altar that was imported from Rome decorates the castle chapel and the orangery, designed by Johann Conrad Schlaun, is considered a Baroque masterpiece.
The Tatenhaus Forest nature reserve extends across 114 hectares in the districts of Hörste and Bokel. Hikers along the paths following Loddenbach, Ruthebach and Laibach streams really get their money’s worth. There is also a lot for animal lovers in this green area: At least ten rare species of bat and different native birds have made their home here. You might even get a photo of them with a bit of luck.