Rider: October 25, in the year of our lord 1648. Today is the day! How long have we been waiting for this moment? More than once, we almost lost hope. But today is finally the day! After 30 years of war, peace has been made. At this very place, in front of Osnabrück’s townhall, it has been declared after endless negotiations with envoys from all over the world.
It has been 7 years ago now, during the 24th year of this all-consuming war, of plundering and murdering, of battles and devastation, that the warring parties started to see reason and agreed to a peace congress in Osnabrück and Münster. Those two cities had remained undestroyed and were trusted to carry the load of this congress and to be good hosts. Additionally, they were close to each other with one of them being under protestant, the other under catholic control.
Five years ago, the first step has been taken when advisory council Krane declared the two cities neutral and assured safe conduct to every delegation that would attend the congress.
The actual negotiations began three years ago. And I have to admit, it was everything but easy:
There were the imperial envoys talking to the Frenchmen, and the Spaniards talking to the Dutchmen. Then again there were the Swiss, who wanted to ensure their independence from the empire. In Osnabrück, the imperial envoys were trying to come to terms with the Swedes and the Estates of the Empire while the princes and cities negotiated with the emperor about a future constitution and peace between the confessions. And everything was closely connected. It seemed to be a desperate situation. Like the one when Alexander the Great came across King Goridios and his inextricable knot. No one knew what to do. And yet, time pressed badly as the war was raging on, without a truce and without mercy. Finally, however, just like Alexander did, the knot was cut! And now it is here: the Peace of Westphalia. At this very place, the townhall of Osnabrück, it was declared, restoring peace and order all across Germany and Europe!
At last, dispatch riders are delivering this message to every lord and peasant. To all those people, who have awaited this peace so longingly:
I come bearing good news,
Peace has been made, your suffering has been ended!