Through rolling fields, across moorland and along secluded lakes and winding rivers – more than 300 years ago, wandering merchants took this route from Westphalia in Germany to the Netherlands. The so-called ‘Tödden’ carried with them the finest linen and all kinds of stories in their luggage. They ensured that the cloth trade flourished and also contributed to cross-border understanding. Today, you can still follow the old path of the merchants on the Töddenweg which leads through unspoiled nature in northern Münsterland and Tecklenburg Land.
The German section of the old trade route runs for 134 kilometres (83 miles) from the city of Osnabrück in Lower Saxony to close to Losser municipality across the Dutch border. The Töddenweg merges into the Markskramerpad I (Pedlar Way), the Dutch section of the long-distance hiking trail, at the border. You follow this to the city of Deventer. Both sections of the trade route are part of the European long-distance hiking trail E11. In this Collection, I introduce you to the German part of the Töddenweg.
If you want to set off for the Netherlands as a ‘Hollandgänger*in’ (Dutch walker) as the Tödden were called, you can follow the six stages in this Collection. The routes lead through the picturesque Westphalian Bay with almost no climbs. Prepare yourself for peaceful, wide landscapes of fields rather than mountainous stages. As the landscape is flat, the stages are somewhat longer. Check if you want to plan an extra day so you can spend more time at the highlights along the way.
At the end of each stage, you will always find at least one place to stay overnight as well as public transport connections. One advantage of the Töddenweg is that you can easily reach your starting point in Osnabrück by train or use one of the many long-term parking spaces in the city.
If you finish the Töddenweg at the Dutch border, there are good train connections from nearby Oldenzaal or Bad Bentheim back to Osnabrück. For example, the RB 61 runs daily between the cities of Bielefeld and Hengelo. From there, you can change trains to other regions in Germany.
If you've never crossed the German-Dutch border on foot, make sure you plan the Töddenweg as your next hiking adventure. Natural paths and lots of history accompany you every day on the old merchants' path. On your hike, you might even come across words from the secret language of the Tödden, who called themselves Tüötten.
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Last updated: November 12, 2021
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At your starting point, the city of Osnabrück, you enter the world of the dead. As an old Hanseatic city, it was the most important trading hub in all of Westphalia. You start your hike at the town hall of the Peace of Westphalia and leave the old town behind after a short stroll.
Directly on the first…
Wet grassland, heather and beech forest are the hallmarks of the Düsterdieker Niederung, the foothills of which you pass behind Westerkappeln on the second stage. As far as Mettingen, the Töddenweg initially runs through a green natural landscape. You cross small streams and wander through fields.
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The footsteps of the Tödden lead you today to Hopsten, the gateway to Westphalia. In the 18th century, Hopsten was the home of many traveling merchants, and some of their houses are still standing today.
In the morning you get on the Fernweg at the exit of Dickenberg and first enter the Buchholzer Forest…
A tour full of contrasts lies ahead of you: you leave the small, tranquil Töddendorf Hopsten behind you and follow the old trade route through meadows and fields to the lively city of Rheine.
On the first 14 kilometers of the stage, the quietest section of the hiking trail is in front of you. The path…
The first section of the fifth stage takes you back to city life, because the Töddenweg leads you into the heart of the city of Rheine on the banks of the Ems, which flows through the city.
Your path first leads you from Altenrheine towards the old town, you will pass the impressive St. Antonius Basilica…
With the Netherlands as your destination, you start today full of energy on the last stage of the German Töddenweg. Outside of Schüttorf you get back on the hiking trail.With the babbling of the Vechte in your ear, you follow the river for a while and then leave it in a westerly direction.
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