Münster is considered the cultural capital of Westphalia in Western Germany. Around 280,000 people live in the city, approx. 48,500 of whom are students matriculated to one of the city’s eight universities and colleges.
The City Council put into action a climate protection concept as early as 1995. A coordination unit supervises the more than 80 projects and measures that are destined to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by an ambitious 40 per cent by 2020. A system of monitoring water and energy consumption in more than 300 public facilities such as schools, day care centres and other public buildings, a programme to renovate and insulate private old buildings, or else the 99 million euros investment in a new cogeneration gas and steam plant are parts of the concept.
Sustainable traffic solutions help getting closer to the common CO2 reduction aim: Half a million bikes have been counted in Münster. The ‘Münsteraner’ hop on their bicycles 374,528 times a day, and the traffic planners give every support possible by leading bike riders through on privileged routes. Münster’s old fortification wall, dating from the middle ages, is nowadays a bicycle highway – a 4.5 km long green belt round the city centre. With a share of almost 40 per cent, bicycles are more important than cars in Münster.
Münster has a high-end mechanic-biological waste treatment plant. Almost two thirds of the 63,000 tonnes that go in every year are being recycled, and the biodegradables are used to produce electricity and heating energy. The concept works well because Münster people are great in sorting their rubbish and recycling. The children start to learn about climate protection and sustainable use of natural resources in kindergarten already.