Münster and its languages

Speaking Masematte

Masematte is the old language that was spoken almost exclusively in many districts of Münster. Originated in the 19th century it was considered the language of workers, tradesmen and artisans. It has its roots in the Rotwelschen slang and Yiddish. Masematte terms are not intuitive (you cannot grasp the meaning from knowing the Masematte term), therefore this secret language was often used when negotiating a transaction or doing business.

Masematte was spoken in Münster in the old worker districts of Kuhviertel in the historical center (then: Tasche, Brink und Ribbergasse), in Pluggendorf (south of the city), in the Sonnenstrassen district on the Promenade (Wevelinghofergasse) and in the Klein-Muffi, the neighborhood in the vicinity of the Hansa in between the Ring, Kanal, Wolkbecker and Schiller streets.

If you listen to the people from Münster, you will notice that many Masematte terms have found their way into everyday language. The old secret language experienced a small renaissance several years ago.


Plattdütsk küern - Speaking Plattdeutsch

The German dialect of Plattdeutsch is hardly ever used anymore in everyday life in Münster. You will mainly find it in street names and in the cityscape. One of the landmarks representative of this is the statue of the Kiepenkerl, the farmer with the “Kiepe” (basket) who transports sausages, eggs and other agricultural products. You can find this monument in the Spiekerhof in the front of the restaurant with the same name in the historical center of town.

In the open air museum in Mühlenhof, you can also experience how the Westphalians lived in former times, conducted commerce and communicated. Here the dialect of the “Mönsterlänner Platt” is also cultivated and maintained.

Our Aolt Huus brings Plattdeutsch back to mind.