Quellen are special places: the origin of life, religiously and ritually revered, holy and medicinal, according to some legends, legendary and refreshing, places with mysticism and magic. Sources are fascinating, especially when they gush as obviously as in Paderborn.
The headwaters of the Pader river are located in a small area in the middle of the East Westphalian city; After the Aach springs near Radolfzell in Baden-Württemberg, the Pader springs are the most powerful in Germany with a water output of up to 9,000 liters per second.
It swells so strongly that the Pader is, in a sense, a river from now on. The water bubbles, flows and gurgles everywhere – Paderborn does not live at the springs, the city lives on them, so to speak.
In the Palatinate, next to the cathedral, steep stairs lead down a shaft. In the building, which was built in 1978 on the remains of the old imperial palace – it houses, among other things, the museum in the imperial palace – German rulers have held court for four centuries since Charlemagne.
There is a spring in the basement that probably poured into a large basin a thousand years ago. The vault is in the twilight, it’s cool down here, the surface of the water in the spring basin trembles as if electrified. You can hear the rush of water flowing outside and the sound of church bells, muffled and far away. Here you can literally immerse yourself in history while delicate reflections of light flit across the ceiling of the vault.
You shouldn’t necessarily drink from the springs, because the surface water only needs two to four days from seeping into the crevices on the Paderborn plateau to reach the springs in Paderborn. The filter effect is correspondingly low.
The Pader is the shortest river in Germany
The floorboard pad rises below the Palatinate. It is one of six spring basins in Paderborn that have names like Börnepader, Maspernpader, Dammpader or Rothobornpader; There are more than 200 “Borne” in the city center – the old imperial and bishopric Paderborn was named after them.
Whenever it has rained unusually heavy, water pushes out everywhere: from the pavement of an alley, from the manicured green of the park, from wall openings. And when you jump, it bubbles! If several people are jumping at the same time on the lawn next to the spring pool of the plank pad, then the pond will bead a little stronger.
The Pader is a very special river. As soon as it rises from the ground, it has to give up its name after just four kilometers, in the district of Schloss Neuhaus, at the confluence with the Lippe. This makes it the shortest river in Germany – and yet extremely attractive. Because a green band of floodplains nestles against the river bank on both sides. Particularly attractive: the Paderaue between Padersee and Neuhaus Castle.
The park offers freshness in summer
Some springs can be reached from the city by walking through the cathedral and cloister, over lonely alleys and secret passages. There are also relaxation rooms.
Ideal for a picnic, for example when you are sitting at the source of the board pad on the bank of this spring. You can hear flowing water, the lively chirping of birds, sometimes church bells and soft, classical piano music from the cathedral music school next door. If you are lucky, you can even see brightly colored kingfishers here.
The Paderborn people laid out a park along the western arms of the Paderborn a good 70 years ago; today it is a unique inner-city water landscape, with plenty of space for the river and people. The mighty old trees are typical of the eastern arms of the Pader.
The area is so special because spring water is usually always cool, in this case around ten degrees. The wonderful and invigorating freshness makes strolling and walking pleasant in summer. And in winter it never gets really cold, because then the water warms up.
Exotic trees grow in Paderborn
This is one of the reasons why exotic trees thrive here and those who are lucky enough to be out and about with Hans Liekmeier will find the most splendid specimens. Because the Paderborn parks are an arboretum, a specially created collection of exotic trees, just like the Burgholz near Wuppertal, the park of Schloss Heltorf in Düsseldorf or the forest botanical garden in Eberswalde.
Around 40 native and foreign tree species have found their home in the Paderborn Arboretum. A circular path leads past the various tree species; The German and botanical names of the tree and the country of origin are indicated on signs.
Liekmeier leads to an island between two arms of Pader. The path crosses an enchanted forest of chestnuts, oaks and ash trees, native trees, but they are very powerful, certainly 30 meters high giants. While there is a great deal of humidity in the air outside the park landscape, it is “inside”, in the water wonder world, refreshing and cool.
Then Liekmeier points to a trumpet tree; this exotic plant with its beautiful flowers and leaves only awakens to its unusual splendor later in the year.
Then suddenly the rush of water and the chime of the bell – Hans Liekmeier points to a spring outlet under the wall of the historic building next to the former cathedral mechanic. As a child, he always drank from it, he says. A few steps further, the eye spring, which is enclosed with historical sandstone slabs and which is said to have special healing powers, flows.
Water gushes and flows from the springs
Water bursts up from the depths: Everywhere the water pumps, pulsates and presses, it seeps, bubbles and flows out of the earth and out of meadows, out of small ponds and the river itself, out of walls and walls, from somewhere, from somewhere out , it leaks in cellars and under bars, under a hotel. Sometimes it’s a knee-high, powerfully bubbling and undulating fountain, sometimes a subdued, slow-motion swelling underwater. Sand and fine gravel swirl over source nozzles.
Irises surround a pond, willows shade it, the water is strangely still and it is deep, you can feel the power of this place and the coolness that emanates from it. The water flows out of this pond without a visible beginning. The Pader is about to get underway.
The abundance of water is the basis of the park landscape, sometimes channeled and sometimes free-flowing, under arched bridges, splashing over cascades, powerful and playful at the same time. Next to such a cascade is a tree, to which Hans Liekmeier now leads, it is a primeval sequoia tree.
Until the 1940s it was only known as a fossil in 80-million-year-old layers of brown coal, then a researcher found a living specimen on the Yangtze River in China. What is now on the Pader and planted elsewhere in the world in parks and gardens are mostly descendants of that tree from the longest.
A little later we take a short break. Liekmeier points into the distance, where cedars from the Atlas Mountains stand; freshly sawn, the wood smells very spicy, almost like baked bread. Then he sees a slender, towering Omorika spruce, a rare species that is originally native to an area of just 50 square kilometers north of the Serbian city of Višegrad. Finally, Liekmeier leads to American cypress trees, which are actually typical of the Louisiana swamps. Now they are also thriving here, on the Dammpader, in Germany’s water town.
Tips and information
Getting there: Paderborn is located on the A 33 autobahn, it meets the A 2 at the Bielefeld junction and the A 44 at the Wünnenberg / Haaren junction. The city is easily accessible by train and bus.
Accommodation: “Gallery Hotel”, near the western headwaters, double rooms from 105 euros, galerie-hotel.de; “Gräflicher Park Health & Balance Resort”, a resort with its own sources in Bad Driburg, not far from Paderborn, double rooms from 195 euros, graeflicher-park.de.
Parklandschaften: The parks around Neuhausen Castle and Sander Lippesee, which were renewed as part of a state horticultural show, are recommended (schlosspark-paderborn.de) as well as the arboretum in Haxtergrund.
Information desk: paderborn.de