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Sounds from afar - Münsters Watchwoman from St. Lamberti

Our hidden treasure from Friday, May 15, 2015 suggested by Sebastian Herwig. Sebastian Herwig

It is late in the evening and you are stepping out of the conference venue – the Fürstenberg Haus – or walking across the city. But listen, what`s that? “Hoot”, “hoot”, “hoot”. It sounds like a horn of a ship, but the Aasee seems to be a little bit too small for such a sound.

No, it is not a ship or a train or something like that. It is a more than 600 years old and still vital tradition of the watchman – or nowadays a watchwoman – in the tower of the church St. Lamberti. Since 1383 being a watchman or watchwomen is a stable and one of the highest located jobs in Münster. Even today it is one of the tasks of the watchwomen to keep an eye out for fires and to alert the citizens. In former decades the watchman also looks out for offenders, but, be sure, this time is over. Another and widely audible task is to provide the “hoot”- the sound you have heard. Every day from 9 p.m. to midnight, the watchwoman indicates that another 30 minutes are gone. With the help of an old horn, you have to hoot all 30 minutes three times in all four cardinal directions.    

But note, doing this job you have to have no head for heights. Your workplace is on the pinnacle of the St. Lamberti church tower on a level of round about 75 meters. Here you will have a cosy sitting room, especially for cold and windy winter nights.

Since 2014 the job is done by Martje Saljé – the first woman in the 600 years old history. Follow her interesting and funny stories about her job, the church tower and the Münster peoples on Facebook or her blog. Some of the stories are in English but, unfortunately, the most of them are in German. Or have a look at the nice photos from the top of Münster.

PS: Sebastian (or Sette) is a former PhD student of the Department and now taking care of all the data the researchers of the University of Münster create. If you ever think about introducing a Current Research Information System at your University - go skiing with him ;-)

Show me, show me, show me!!!

Church St. Lamberti - Source: Wikipedia

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