Town twinning

Kreis Steinfurt

Kreis (district of) Steinfurt (the district of Steinfurt) is a rural area situated in northern Germany in the county of North Rhine-Westphalia. It has an area of about 1,000 square miles - about the same as Derbyshire or Dorset. 

Ealing has been linked with Kreis Steinfurt since 1973.  During that time there have been civic visits and social, cultural and sporting links between the two areas. 


Its western boundary is close to the Dutch border and the large town of Munster is a few kilometres to the south-west.  Further to the south lies the industrial area around Dusseldorf and Essen.  Within its boundaries are a number of market towns, the largest of which is Rheine with a population of approximately 72,000. The international airport of Munster-Osnabruck, which opened in 1971 is situated at Greven.  


Like the rest of northern Germany, Kreis Steinfurt has seen stormy times in history.  From this area Germanic tribes set forth to fight against the Romans, whose empire extended eastwards to the River Rhine.  Later Saxons and Franks fought over the fertile land, and in medieval times the area was affected by the feudal struggles between the Bishop of Munster and local nobles. The region suffered from the heavy and bitter fighting of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) fought between Catholics and Protestants.

In the Napoleonic times, when the area was occupied by France, the local nobility lost their independence and the government of this district was reformed on the French model. 

In 1815 Kreis Steinfurt was established when the area became part of the Kingdom of Prussia.  The boundaries of the district remained the same until 1975, when two other local areas, the former Kreis Munsterland and Kreis Tecklenburg, were amalgamated to form the present day Kreis Steinfurt. 

Kreis Steinfurt today

Kreis Steinfurt's landscape is an extension of the Dutch lowlands, with large stretches of open countryside dotted with occasional windmills, while the eastern part of the district is hillier and contains part of the ancient Teutoberger forest.

The administrative centre is the town of Steinfurt, with its attractive moated castle.  Other significant towns are the picturesque medieval town of Tecklenburg, the market town of Emsdetten, Ibbenburen and Lengerich.

The area has several interesting castles and stately homes, many of them set in attractive gardens and parkland, as well as towns retaining the traditional German medieval style of architecture.

Kreis Steinfurt is a pleasant rural area, where agriculture is an important economic activity.  This is combined with industry in and around the towns, ranging from the traditional areas of textiles, coal and mechanical engineering to modern high-tech light industries.  There is also a developing tourist industry - cycling, camping and farmhouse holidays are popular. 

Kreis Steinfurt's towns are well served by leisure facilities, both sporting and cultural.  Most of the towns boast modern sports halls and swimming pools, and there is an open-air theatre in Tecklenburg. 

Kreis Steinfurt and Ealing

The main on-going activity is the well-established swimming exchange.  In Ealing this is co-ordinated by David Barnes (Chair of Ealing Swimming Club).  For more information please email:

For more information please visit: