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SOEST - A thousand years old - and not a bit antiquated.

The centuries come to life in the many nooks and crannies which shape the image of the town. Soest exudes a history derived from a prosperous past stretching as far back as the early Stone Age.
A number of imposing buildings reflect the significance of the “secret capital of Westphalia” during the time of the Hanse when Soest was one of the most important towns in Westphalia. The Wiesenkirche (St. Mary’s in the Meadows, 1313AD) is, for example, one of the most magnificent late Gothic hall churches in the whole of Germany. The mighty Romanesque tower of St. Patrokli, also known as the “Westphalian Tower”, stands high in the centre of the town, almost overwhelming the famous 12th century Nikolai  Chapel which is situated only a few steps away. Only the width of the pedestrian area separates St. Patrokli from St. Petri – the “Alde Kerke” –(the Old Kirk) from the 8th century and which is the oldest church to have been founded in Westphalia.

The people of Soest are particularly proud of their fortified town wall which has been almost entirely preserved. Still today can one stroll along the top of the wall and take a peep into the green gardens of the centre of the town. Don’t forget, however, to pay a visit to the Osthofentor, the only remaining town gate of the original ten. A walk along the wall or through the former moat, now dry, is always a special experience, particularly when the many trees are in full bloom, or, for collectors and bargain hunters, when the largest flea market in the region visited by about 40,000 people, winds its way through the Gräfte.

The citizens of Soest are well experienced in carefully safeguarding their inheritance and in filling it with new life. Private initiative and local government together achieve exemplary results. The sensitive restoration of the green sandstone churches and the half-timbered houses, historical buildings now being used for more modern purposes as well as the circumspect renovation of the town in general are good examples of this. A total of about 600 buildings are classified as historical monuments. In the foreseeable future the Soest stream, framed once more by green spaces rows of half-timbered houses and cobbled lanes, will provide a further captivating sight in the old town centre.

Cultural life in Soest is extensive and varied. From A-Z, from Altstadtfieber - Zappelparty  there is something for almost every taste.

Thanks to the Bürgerzentrum “Alter Schlachthof” (The Old Slaughterhouse) and the Events Centre of the Stadthalle  there is almost no part of the musical or theatrical spectrum which is not represented and nowadays top German comedians continually come and go. In addition to this, a number of large annual events take place in the town – e.g. the Soest Pub Festival (Take care! Tickets are always quickly sold out), The Börde Day in May, the Summer Music Days or the All Saints’ Fair in November, which can pride itself on being the largest town centre fair in Europe. This can truly be called a “mega event”. For five exceptional days the fair, covering an area of 60.000m² and attracting approx. one million visitors, emanates an atmosphere equal  to that of  the Carnival in Cologne.

There are several museums (Burghofmuseum, Osthofentormuseum, the Fire Brigade Museum, the Museum of the Belgian Armed Forces in Germany, the Museum of Technology as well as the Wilhelm-Morgner-Haus) for you to visit. Soest played an important part in the lives of several artists such as Conrad von Soest, Heinrich Aldegrever, Otto Modersohn, Wilhelm Morgner, Christian Rohlfs and Hans Kaiser.

But what would an evening at a concert or at the theatre be without stopping off at an intimate restaurant or a cosy pub afterwards?  In Soest, no problem. Be your penchant for an historical inn, a homely music pub or international speciality restaurants. After all, guests have been cared for in the Pilgrim Haus, the oldest inn in Westphalia, since 1304.

However, between cuisine and churches there is ample opportunity to go on a shopping spree right in the middle of the historical town centre. If you are looking for special offers or perhaps something more luxurious, everything is easily accessible on foot – a fact which is highly regarded not only by the 50.000 inhabitants but also by the approx. 180.000 strong group of people who belong to the catchment area.

Sport, leisure and recreation are a very important element of the quality of life in Soest. Go mountain-biking in the Arnsberg National Park, sailing on the Möhnesee, play golf or tennis or go riding, gliding or parachuting – all within a 15-minute car ride. House prices and rents are reasonable in Soest- so, take your choice – either ultra-modern in one of the spruce new building estates or in the centre of the old city surrounded by its historical backdrop. Soest, as the county town, is also the seat of numerous  administrative authorities.
The structure of the economy has traditionally been trade and administrative authorities. Since the end of the 1960s, however, political endeavour has resulted in the establishment of major production enterprises. Especially electrical engineering and aluminium industries are represented by internationally significant firms. Nevertheless about two thirds of all employees work in the service sector while industrial as well as computer wholesalers play a substantial role. 

The South Westphalian University of Applied Sciences with its faculties in agriculture, electrical and mechanical engineering is of particular importance in attracting numerous students as well as forming a link between theory and practice in co-operation with businesses in Soest. Foreign contacts  and internationally recognized degrees are now as much a matter of course as are the scientific and cultural programmes which focus specifically on interested parties outwith the academic community. Last but not least it is worth mentioning the most attractive university campus, a nation-wide renowned example of a successfully refurbished former military barracks. 

It is not only the economy which the citizens value, but also the exceptional infrastructure. The A44 with its two exits, Soest and Soest-Ost is the motorway leading to the nearest large cities or to the new Länder in the east of Germany. The IC and the ICE express trains to Kassel and Hamm halt at the Soest station several times a day whereas the high-speed regional trains depart towards Dortmund at half-hourly intervals. The two airports Dortmund-Wickede and Paderborn-Lippstadt  schedule domestic flights as well as flights to European destinations.