Hobby horse riding

"We riders go through Osnabrück and sing for peace." – The hobby horse ride

If you are planning an autumn walk through Osnabrück's city center – don't be surprised if you suddenly see crowds of children riding past on hobby horses and singing. This spectacle is based on a traditional Osnabrück custom that has taken place every year at the end of October since 1948.

All fourth-grade pupils in Osnabrück parade through the city center to the town hall riding on specially designed, self-made hobby horses (Steckenpferd in German, which is literally “stick horse”) and wearing colorful paper hats. There, they are welcomed by the mayor with soft pretzels. The Peace of Westphalia was announced at this historic site in 1648, ending the Thirty Years' War. The hobby horse ride is intended to commemorate this historical event and to celebrate peace.

Why do the children ride hobby horses?

In 1648, believe it or not, there were no iPhones, and during the peace negotiations in Osnabrück and Münster horse riders shuttled back and forth between the town halls of both cities to transmit reports and decisions. Hence the reference to riding horses. However, the actual custom of riding hobby horses is based on a legend from Nuremberg, which says that in 1650 boys rode their hobby horses to the prince and asked him for a souvenir of peace. The prince then had the so-called Hobby Horse Rider penny (see photo) minted. That the city of Osnabrück has now become the home of hobby horse riders is thanks to the Emsland poets Clara and Emmy von Dincklange, who in 1875 in one of their works unceremoniously relocated the location of the action to Osnabrück. The Osnabrück writer Ludwig Bäte took up the legend for the 300th anniversary of the Peace of Westphalia and organized a hobby horse ride for the first time in 1948. Since then, this tradition has inspired the citizens of Osnabrück every year.


Photo: Swaantje Hehmann

Ich stimme der Verwendung von Cookies zu (mehr Infos):