Whoa, hold on there! For a minute instead of thinking I was talking, writing, and seeing a German town — I thought I was in the Netherlands. What would make me think such a thing? Were the signs written throughout Laer in Dutch?
No, it was the wooden shoes.
Anyone visiting Laer should have the Holskenmuseum as their first stop. Here you can learn all about the craft of wooden shoe making. Splinters, of course, are not included in the admission price. ;-)
Just kidding, but the business of this age-old craft isn’t funny. It is, however, truly remarkable how they manage to do it.
Whether you walk around Laer in them is totally up to you, so long as you’ve gotten around to seeing the stone Rathaus that lies along the water. This isn’t a bright Renaissance style building — but there’s something wonderful and peaceful about the old place.
Another peaceful place in Laer is the Oldenburg. What’s totally shocking is no one knows who built the 9th century place, or why it was abandoned in the 1100s. Also from the Middle Ages is the “Fief wunnen Beld,” an altar that once belonged to a medieval court.
The original St. Bartholomew Church is from the Middle Ages, sometime in the 12th century. The building you see today came along in 1485; and inside it is full of religious art and items, like the 15th century wooden crucifix and the Baroque Crucifixion scene.
A good way to the rest of Laer is on one of the Night Watchman tours, or along one of the cycle trails through the Münsterland (like the 150km Aa Vechte Route). You’ll pass along places like the Mühlenturm, built in the 1920s; and the Rathaus Pond shadowed by the Kappwindmühle.
Oh, would you look at that… just another reason to think that you’re in the Netherlands instead of being 10km from Steinfurt, and 20km from Münster. But, if there’s any doubt, the Theater im Park (2 days in August) is all in German, just to remind you that you actually are in Germany. ;-)