Münster is home to more than 25,800 foreign citizens from 155 nations. They constitute 8,6 per cent of the population. The largest group, which comprises about 2,150 people, is from Poland. Around 1,790 inhabitants stem from Serbia and 1,780 from Turkey. Portugal and Italy are strong, too. Moreover, almost 20,000 Münster inhabitants have a dual nationality. Every fifth citizen has a migratory background.
Münster already had an elected advisory board for foreigners in 1984, a full decade before boards of this kind became a legal obligation, in order to provide foreign inhabitants with better access to political, social and cultural city life. Since 2010, it is the Integration Council that deals with all matters concerning municipal politics. It is the legal and political representation of all Münster citizens with a migration background. 18 of its 27 members are being elected by all foreign citizens living in Münster, including those who adopted German citizenship no more than five years before. The other 9 members are delegated by the City Council. The Council's initiatives have to be considered by the City Council and its political boards.
Coordination Office für Migration and Intercultural Affairs
The successful integration of foreigners who come to live in Münster is a core strategic task, as the city greatly benefits from cultural diversity. Founded in 1999, the Coordination Office primarily aims at effectively implementing the Migration Concept, which the City Council passed in 2008.
The Migration Concept wants to
- make Münster an open city
- increase diversity in everyday life
- maintain social peace
- build a city society committed to respect and tolerance
- create a self-determined togetherness
Communal Integration Centre
The department is part of a country-wide network, which aims at guaranteeing integration and access to social partaking. It does so by qualifying organisations and professionals working in the field of migration and integration.
- Database of organisations for people with migratory background in Münster:
- Coordination Office for Migration and Intercultural Affairs, Stadthaus 2, Ludgeriplatz 4, 48127 Münster, ph. 02 51/4 92-70 54, Reckfort(at)stadt-muenster.de
Münster is an important place of refuge for people who have fled their home countries. Not only is the city providing former army facilities as reception camps to the North Rhine Westfalian authorities. Refugees who are allocated to Münster usually go to the Oxford barracks first, where the city's Social Office has established facilities for the initial reception of families and single refugees. All refugees are given a warm welcome and first orientation, so that they may have a good start in Münster. The Social Office finds them a new home and helps to develop a perspective for their new phase of life in Münster. The refugees receive medical attention. Children and youngsters get advice on schooling and an immediate two weeks German course. The Immigration Office and the help organisations offer consultation on all topics which may be of interest. Plus, there is an immense number of volunteers and citizens' groups who are ready to help with administrative paperwork, support language lessons, give moral support, and offer their help as first contacts and networking partners.
Münster has partner cities all over the world. The city has forged nine twinning relationships since 1957. York/England, Orléans/France, Kristiansand/Norway, Monastir/Tunisia, Rishon LeZion/Israel, Fresno/USA, Rjazan/Russia, Mühlhausen/Germany and Lublin/Poland. These connections are complemented by the city’s amicable links with Braniewo/Poland and the twinning relationship between the Münster district of Hiltrup and Beaugency/France. Münster’s twinning relationships are “citizen partnerships“. They create a context for encounters and understanding between thousands of people from schools and universities, sports, culture and partnership associations, year after year. They have also resulted in a multitude of personal friendships around the globe.
Münster is home to a thriving international scene. Cultural associations, clubs and public institutions all act as meeting points. Intercultural encounters and international understanding are a feature of everyday life in the city. Below is a selection of international associations:
- Afrika e.V. – association promoting the integration of Africans in Münster
- Africa in Münster – African events in Münster
- Amigos e.V. - Friendship with Somoto
- Checkpoint Afrika – intercultural life and learning
- Darfur-Hilfe – help for Darfur
- Deutsch-Dänische Gesellschaft Münster e.V. (German-Danish Society in Münster) – for the promotion and preservation of German-Danish relations
- Deutsch-finnische Gesellschaft Münster e.V. (German-Finnish Society in Münster) – for the promotion and preservation of German-Finnish relations
- Deutsch-Französische Gesellschaft Münster e.V. (German-French Society in Münster) - forum for German-Francophone exchange
- Deutsch-Indische Gesellschaft (German/Indian Association)
- Deutsch-Polnische Jugendakademie e.V. (German-Polish Youth Academy) – information about Münster’s twin city of Lublin
- Deutsch-Russische Gesellschaft (German-Russian Society) – for the promotion of German-Russian relations
- ECI - English Club International (English International Club)
- Eine Welt Forum Münster (One World Forum in Münster) – Union of One and Third World groups
- Freunde für Rishon LeZion (Friends of Rishon LeZion)– for the promotion of the partnership between Münster and Rishon LeZion
- Gemeinschaft für deutsch-polnische Verständigung (Community of German-Polish Understanding) - information, Silesia forum
- German/Netherlands Corps
- Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker, Regionalgruppe Münster (Society for Endangered Peoples, Münster regional group) – human rights organisation for the protection of ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples and pursued refugee groups
- GGUA – Gemeinnützige Gesellschaft zur Unterstützung Ayslsuchender e.V. (association for the support of asylum seekers)
- Kindergefängnishilfe Münster-Ecuador (Münster-Ecuador Aid Association for Children of Imprisoned Parents) – aid for children in Ecuador
- Ko'embota - Siedlungs- und Armenhilfe in Paraguay
- Münster-York Partnerschaftsverein (Münster-York Partnership Association)
- Ökumenischer Zusammenschluss der christlichen Eine-Welt- und Dritte-Welt-Gruppen Münster (Ecumenical Union of Christian One and Third World Groups in Münster)
- Pan y arte – development aid for Nicaragua focussing on culture
- Partnerschaft Hiltrup-Beaugency (Hiltrup-Beaugency Partnership)
- Projet Maison Dogbo – aid project in Benin/West Africa
- Schritt-Weise - Weg des Friedens, von Münster nach Jerusalem (the path of peace from Münster to Jerusalem)
- Step by Step e.V. – support for people in need in Germany and abroad
- terre des hommes - AG Münster, For a Humanitarian World
- Tibet Initiative Deutschland e.V. –Münster regional group, Tibet - the drama on the top of the world
- Unicef – Münster work group
- Vamos e.V. Münster – For human rights, solidarity, justice and tolerance in the globalised world
- VDIJB e.V. – association for the promotion of German-German and international encounters between young people
- Verein zur Förderung der Städtepartnerschaft Münster-Lublin (Association for the Promotion of the Münster-Lublin Twinning Relationship)
- Verein zur Förderung der Städtepartnerschaft Münster-Rjasan (Association for the Promotion of the Münster-Rjazan Twinning Relationship)
Around 3,500 international students and over 200 visiting academics from all over the world at the University of Münster (WWU) alone underscore Münster’s international reputation as an attractive university location. Universities and science also make a significant contribution to the city’s international flair.
Both the major universities offer foreign students support to ensure they find their feet as quickly as possible.
- The university’s international centre is called "Die Brücke" ("bridge"). It advises foreign students and provides support in matters of accommodation, formalities and everyday issues.
- The International Office at the University of Applied Sciences also promotes the establishment’s international orientation.
- The "Connecta International" trade fair takes place in Münster on a regular basis. The International Centre "Brücke" constitutes a collaboration between the University and the City of Münster, creating a forum for international students, academics and graduates which enables them to explore the various professional fields and companies the city and region have to offer. The Federal Foreign Ministry awarded "Connecta" the "Prize for Excellent Care of Foreign Students".