Some 330,000 people live here, making Bielefeld one of the twenty biggest cities in the Federal Republic. Founded in 1214 as merchant city, Bielefeld emerges today as dynamic university city with a total of seven universities and nearly 35,000 students. Over the next few years Externer LinkCampus Bielefeld will be developed into one of the most modern university locations in the whole of Germany. Welcome to the heart of the East Westphalia-Lippe region, home to a number of big names and world-class companies including Dr. Oetker and Seidensticker, Dr. Wolff-Group (Alcina) and JAB Anstoetz, Dürkopp-Adler, DMG Mori and Schüco.
Sparrenburg Castle – Bielefeld Landmark
High above the town on the Sparrenberg hill sits imposing Sparrenburg Castle. Its mighty fortifications are located right next to one of the most beautiful ridge walks in Germany, the 156km Hermannsweg.
Constructed in the mid 13th century by the Counts of Ravensberg, the castle was administrative centre and residence of the county sovereign, and protected the town and trade routes through the Bielefeld pass. It was rebuilt many times. Sparrenburg Castle gained its present outline in the middle of the 16th century. A vast 300m system of underground passages can be explored from April to October, and visitors can enjoy panoramic views over the town Panorama and surrounding countryside. The castle also provides the impressive backdrop for the annual medieval spectacular, the Sparrenburgfest.
Tower and Visitor Information Center
April – October: daily 10.00am – 6.00pm
November – March: Sat, Sun + public holidays 11.00am – 6.00pm
(closed 24 December to 1 January)
Charges (Ascent of the Tower)
adults: 2.00 €
senior citizens, children, students: 1.50 €
Altes Rathaus (Old town hall)
Adjacent to the City Theatre (Stadttheater) and also opened in 1904, is the Old Town Hall. Here, architectural elements of Gothic and Renaissance were combined with other historic building styles. The Bielefeld coat-of-arms is incorporated into the gable. A detailed model of the town around 1650 is displayed on the ground floor. This, Bielefeld’s prestigious administrative centre, was complemented in the 1980s by a modern extension – the New Town Hall. The sculpture ”Passione per l’arte” by Sandro Chià sits prominently in the square between the two buildings.
Rudolf-Oetker-Halle (Rudolf Oetker Concert Hall)
Renowned for its acoustics and unique architecture, the Rudolf Oetker Hall, opened in 1930, is rated by experts as one of the most beautiful concert halls in Europe.
This highly acclaimed classical music venue also stages a variety of other music and cultural events, and the International Dance Festival Bielefeld every summer.
Directly adjacent to the concert hall is the Bürgerpark municipal park with its impressive rose garden.
Heimat-Tierpark Olderdissen (Olderdissen Animal Park)
This well-loved animal park, established from a fawn nursery run by the town’s forester and opened in 1930, nestles in the attractive landscape of the Teutoburg Forest. More than 450 animals of 100 indigenous species can be observed on 15 hectares, with ponds, meadows and forests. Excellent animal husbandry has facilitated the breeding of rare and endangered species. A favourite destination for all the family, the animal park is free of charge and open all year round, providing a major attraction with its brown bear enclosure.
Altstädter Nicolaikirche (Nicolai Church)
Not far from the Old Market Square stands Bielefeld’s oldest town church, which became an independent parish church in 1236. The interior of this Gothic hall church (1340) features a priceless wooden altar carved at the Antwerp workshops of the St. Luke’s guild in 1524. The carvings depict more than 250 figures in scenes from biblical stories.
A daily carillon with 36 bells peals at 9.58, 12.58, 15.58 and 18.58.
Opening times: daily 10.00 – 18.00
Bielefeld’s biggest square has had a facelift. The redesign has transformed a drab, marginal square into a multiple-amenity city centre arena. Trees, water features and benches create a pleasant ambience. Kesselbrink’s weekly market adds regular bustle. The highlight of the square is the skate park, one of the biggest in Germany. Kesselbrink has attracted many visitors since opening in 2013.