The Nature Reserve "Heiliges Meer"

The nature reserve “Heiliges Meer” is located along the Northwest border of Westphalia and Lower Saxony, 30 km northwest of Osnabrück, between the towns of Obersteinbeck and Hopsten along the highway L 504. Politically the nature reserve “Heiliges Meer” belongs to the neighboring communities of Hopsten and Recke in the county of Steinfurt.

The first references to the reserve are from 965 A.D. and describe it as “Drevanameri” (=ocean with three borders): At this point three different borders of saxonian provinces used to meet. Some of these borders still exist today. The border between the communities of Hopsten and Recke for example runs right through the “Heilige Meer“. The origin of the word “Heiliges Feld” (Field) or “Heiliges Meer” (Sea) is uncertain. Most likely it is not based on the word “heilig” (holy), but either on the word “hel” (hell) or on the word “hil” (hilig=bad, terrible) or even on the word “hola” (hol=cut, depth, hole). Another possible interpretation is based on the long time use of the bodies of water. For example, documents cite the “holy” ladies (nuns) of the monastery Gravenhorst as the owners of the fishing rights at the “Heilige Meer”.