I learned something new this week. Osnabrück, one of the two cities where the Peace of Westphalia was negotiated, was the birthplace of German author Erich Maria Remarque. Remarque, as it happens, is most famous for his novel “All Quiet on the Western Front” (Im Westen Nichts Neues), which has a pacifist theme that runs through Remarque’s other works as well. Osnabrück awards a “peace prize” every two years for writers who address the topics of “inner and outer peace.” It is a small prize (25,000 euros) and I haven’t heard of any of the recipients, but it is a nice tie-in for the town to the thing for which they are most known.
Osnabrück is the poor sister of the two peace cities. It was smaller than Münster in the 1640’s, and remains about half the size today (although it has well over 150,000 inhabitants, which is no small number). Sweden and the Empire were the only states to negotiate there in the 1640’s, and the final, ceremonial signing of both treaties was actually completed in Münster. Its website bills it as the “City of Peace,” and I suppose it has as much right to that title as Münster.
Written by dcroxton
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