Osnabrück ôs˝näbrük´ [key], city (1994 pop. 168,078), Lower Saxony, NW Germany, on the Hase River, linked by canal with the Midland Canal. It is an inland port, a rail junction, and an industrial center, with iron and steel mills, machinery plants, and factories that manufacture textiles, paper, and motor vehicles. Located on the site of an ancient Saxon settlement, Osnabrück was made (783) an episcopal see by Charlemagne. The city became a member of the Hanseatic League and a center of the linen trade. It accepted the Reformation in 1543; however, the cathedral remained Catholic, and under the Peace of Westphalia (see Westphalia, Peace of)—one of whose treaties was signed (Aug., 1648) in the Osnabrück city hall—the see was occupied alternately by Catholic and Lutheran bishops. The bishopric of Osnabrück was secularized in 1803, and the city passed (1815) to Hanover at the Congress of Vienna. The Catholic diocese was restored in 1857. Osnabrück was badly damaged in World War II. Noteworthy buildings include the three-towered cathedral (begun 783, burned down 1254; rebuilt in Romanesque style with Gothic additions); the Gothic Church of St. Mary (c.1300); and the city hall (1487–1512). Osnabrück also contains a teachers college (housed in a 17th-century palace) and a museum.
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