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Stadtteil of Paderborn
Sennelager is located in Germany
Coordinates: 51°46′N 8°43′E / 51.767°N 8.717°E / 51.767; 8.717Coordinates: 51°46′N 8°43′E / 51.767°N 8.717°E / 51.767; 8.717
StateNorth Rhine-Westphalia
Admin. regionDetmold
Elevation109 m (358 ft)
Time zoneCET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes33104
Dialling codes05254
Vehicle registrationPB

Sennelager is a village in Germany that forms part of the City of Paderborn. It is notable for its association with the military since the 19th century. It is now the location of a British army barracks, where the 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade are currently based.



Sennelager lies around 5 km north of Paderborn City Centre in the West of the landscape "Senne". The area falls under the administration of the Schloss Neuhaus/Sande wards of the city. To the South between Sennelager and the City of Paderborn is Schloss Neuhaus, to the West Sande, and to the North Hövelhof.


The name Sennelager literally translates as "camp on the Senne" - a name originating in 1851 when the Prussians used the area as a training camp for their cavalry. At the time, the area belonged to what was then the Neuhaus [de] region and was largely unpopulated. This camp later expanded into a full training facility for the armed forces, most notably during the reign (1888-1918) of Wilhelm II.

The word Senne itself derives from the old Low German word sinedi, meaning "sand".

During the First World War (1914-1918) a POW camp here housed merchant seamen, most notably many British trawlermen taken prisoner after German raiders sank their ships in the North Sea, especially in the first days of the war. Many of the fishermen came from Boston or from Grimsby in Lincolnshire. Many were later transferred to Ruhleben internment camp near Berlin, where many remained for the duration of the war.

During the Third Reich (1933-1945) the Wehrmacht used the village as a military loading station, and the village's railway station shows signs of this - there are facilities for loading military vehicles onto trains which are still regularly used by the British and German armies. The Catholic order of the Salvatorians, who were based in the still-standing Heilandsfrieden House, was disbanded and driven out of Sennelager by the Nazis in 1941; they were forbidden to settle anywhere in Westphalia or in the Rhineland.

At the end of World War II in 1945, the historic military base passed first briefly into the administration of the United States Army, before a more long-term handover to the British, who retain control as of 2015, using the Sennelager Training Area as a training facility and Westfalen Garrison as their base.


The former Bundesstraße B68 runs through the village, which is now Bielefelder Straße; this now runs through to the northerly-lying village of Hövelhof. The B68 has since been replaced by the north-south A33, which can be accessed at the Paderborn-Sennelager junction.

Sennelager train station is served by a regular train service operated by Veolia Transport-owned NordWestBahn that runs between the Paderborn main station and Bielefeld. The service operates on an hourly basis, although train times are different on Monday to Friday mornings to allow a higher amount of services to run to allow for the considerable commuter traffic.

Two regular bus services, the number 1 and the number 420, connect Sennelager to Paderborn City Centre.


Modern culture in Sennelager is largely decided by the presence of the British Armed Forces in the village. The area contains several British settlements, and businesses have opened there largely to cater for this market, including a "traditional" British corner shop (Little England), several tax-free car dealerships, some British pubs.There is also an industrial estate containing a NAAFI supermarket (only accessible to forces personnel and their families), car dealership and electrical goods dealer (SSVC).

In a play on old Carlsberg beer advertisements from the 1980s, many British soldiers use the phrase "Sennelager: probably the worst lager in the world" to refer to the training area.


Three British schools, two primary one being William Wordsworth School named after the poet who wrote a poem about daffodils, and the other Robert Browning School, named after the writer who wrote the Pied Piper story set in Hamelin (Hameln), and one middle school called John Buchan Middle School, exist to educate the children of the British families resident in the area. When the children reach year 9 they go on to Kings School in Gütersloh which is about 45 minutes away. There is also a primary school, a Catholic and a civic kindergarten for the German residents. Children of German families in the area generally go on to attend secondary school in Schloss Neuhaus or Paderborn itself.

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