It is worth taking a closer look at Lingen. Here in the Emsland region, hikers, cyclists and water sports enthusiasts get their money's worth, there are pretty traditions and shopping in the center is usually crowned with success.
Rural small town" my ass - with about 55,000 inhabitants, Lingen is the largest town in Emsland and also the economic and cultural center of the region. And has a lot to offer, you just have to decide. Active people are best off heading north to the Geester See lake. The 180-hectare reservoir has a long beach and is ideal for sailing and surfing. Even if there is a lull in the wind in Emsland, there is always a good wind here at the lake, which is 15 meters higher than the surrounding area.
If you don't have any concrete plans yet, take a stroll to the forecourt of the town hall, look at the sign tree there and get an overview of excursions in all directions.
Sometimes, with a bit of luck, the bells and figurines from the historic town hall tower can be heard. A gift from the Kivelinge to the citizens of Lingen. Have you never heard of the Kivelings? Their name comes from the Middle Ages and means "little fighters". To this day, Lingen is mighty proud of its Kivelings - unmarried sons of citizens who successfully defended the town against invaders more than 630 years ago. As a reward, the daring fellows were given the right by the magistrate to celebrate a lavish festival every three years - always at Whitsun.
A tradition that is still held on to iron in Lingen today. The medieval spectacle takes place around the market square, the university square and the Powder Tower. The Kivelings (or, more precisely, their successors) received their accolade from the UNESCO Commission: since December 2018, they have been listed as "intangible cultural heritage".
For almost 200 years, the city on the Ems was under Dutch rule. Noblemen of the houses of Nassau and Orange had stately buildings erected. These included the Kreuzkirche (Church of the Holy Cross) and the university, which was founded at the end of the 17th century with the faculties of theology, jurisprudence, philosophy and medicine. Today, Lingen has more than 2000 students. Whereas in the 17th century the university square in the city center was still considered the center of knowledge, the campus is now housed in the landmarked halls of a disused railroad plant.
Lingen moves. Both with exciting history and with varied natural landscapes. Bicycle tours are a particularly good way to explore the area. The Guelph Route (65 km) leads along the dead-straight Dortmund-Ems Canal and later along the winding course of the Hase. Attractions along the way: the distillery in Haselünne or original Dutch pancakes in the café "Olle Nordholter Schoule".
The Spinola route (37 km) is named after an Italian general. It runs south from the picturesque district of Baccum to the Hanekenfähr recreation area. The Machurius Tour (55 km) begins west of Lingen. Here you cycle through the Lohner Sand, the former territory of the robber chief Machurius, who - according to legend - spread fear and terror in the area.
Last but not least, all roads lead back to Lingen. To the market square with its cafés, pretty stores and the carillon in the town hall tower. The largest bell weighs 137 kilograms. The smallest seven. All together, they have 40 different major and minor keys. And remind us eight times a day of the "little fighters" of Lingen.
Cover photo: View of the Dortmund-Ems Canal near Lingen © Helmut Kramer
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