Cloppenburg has been a focal point for farmers, merchants, and traders since the 9th century.
You needn’t travel too far from the banks of the Soeste River to discover pastoral scenes. Fields laden with corn and barley are interspersed amid old forests, marshes, and grazing lands, where languid cows watch you pass by.
A visit to the Lower Saxony Open-air Museum, adjacent to Town Hall (which also serves as a culture center), is certainly in order. Gazing at the quiet sculptures is an almost meditative experience. Notice also how this part of town has been designed with pedestrian traffic and easy shopping in mind.
The reconstruction of buildings reminiscent of a medieval village (800-1800) is one of the main attractions you will not want to miss here. It is called the Museumsdorf, and it features a replica windmill in the Dutch style.
Another must-see piece of architecture is the ruins of the local castle, Schloss Cloppenburg. You will notice how manicured green lawns envelop the ancient rocks that once formed the fortress walls and protected against foreign invaders.
Befitting a farming center, pet markets, hobby markets, and livestock markets are popular in Cloppenburg. Horses and ponies, sheep, goats, rabbits, poultry and pet birds are available for purchase.
You can attend the June Market in summer or the Virgin Mary Market in September. Both offer great deals at 110 local shops, as well as a taste of the local cuisine. The Town Festival occurs in late September, and the Christmas Market in December is also something to see.
For the sports minded, Cloppenburg offers a fitness center, indoor-outdoor bathing, horseback riding, shooting facilities, tennis courts, river fishing, and sailing opportunities. You might also like to take some dance lessons at one of four local schools.
If culture is your passion, ask for an events calendar at the Tourism Office at the marketplace. Concerts, comedy, literary evenings, art exhibits, and local festivals are just a few of the activities you will find available in season.