My experience in York – twin cities in exchange


Did you know York has a twin city in Germany? No? Maybe you’ve heard of the city Münster? In fact Münster is a twin city of York, and has been since 1957. And why am I telling you this? Because I’m from Münster and I’m taking part in an exchange programme of our cities’ friendship, and I want to tell you about my experience in this beautiful city.

I’m Katharina from Germany, 21 years old and I work for the City Council of Münster, while studying for a degree in Bachelor of Laws. Right now 11 of my colleagues and I from Münster are staying with different host families in York for two weeks to experience the British culture. This week I’m doing a job shadowing at Your Local Link to get involved in York’s work life.

So what similarities of the two cities did I recognise while living here? The most evident is that both cities have very charming old city centres. In fact, Münster’s impressive Prinzipalmarkt was partly destroyed during World War II and had to be rebuilt. So it’s extraordinary to witness the old buildings in the Shambles that have been here for hundreds of years. Indeed both cities are rich in tradition, though York’s history is 700 years older than Münster’s.

The Shambles

With York being England’s second most visited city after London, there are always loads of people walking around the streets – and it’s always very busy wandering around the Shambles. Although Münster has 310,000 more residents than York, the city centre isn’t as crowded with tourists as York seems to be most of the time. Though I feel it’s still pleasant to wander through the city, especially because like this there are always people in the various pubs. J

With that I also witnessed the student population in York. With 40,000 students studying in Münster you always see a lot of young people out in the streets. With York having two big universities it`s no surprise you see young people out here too.

Bikes in Münster

And now for an aspect that Münster is really popular for: cycling. A lot of people in Münster go everywhere on their bike because most of the time you’re just as fast as the buses – or even faster – because of the traffic. Although I’ve got to say that in comparison to Münster, I see way less people on bikes here, even though I’ve heard that York has ambitions to become a cycle city. So that’s a really cool parallel of the two cities.


So what did I enjoy the most while in York? Just strolling around the streets of the city centre was so much fun because you can discover something new every time in the many small streets. Wandering around the city walls was really impressive too, to have a look above the city (and to have a sneaky peek at the various houses!). Something else you must do if you visit York is try a traditional Afternoon Tea at Betty’s or in any of the other numerous cute cafes.

City Walls

And of course, I have to talk about the pubs again. For just two weeks I’ve been to plenty of pubs! From my point of view I liked Eagle & Child and Las Iguanas for getting a drink and also getting nice food.
A special experience for me was to visit the Kings Arms pub. Seeing how high the Ouse once rose and realising the pub has been completely flooded at different times.
I also liked The Stone Roses Bar as the audience there was mostly in my age.


So now with my two weeks in York coming to an end I can say that living here has been a great pleasure. The two cities are pretty similar in some ways and I really enjoyed getting to know York a little.


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