Munster is a small town in Heidekreis in Lower Saxony, almost exactly between Hamburg and Hanover. In relation to the number of soldiers stationed there Munster is the largest site of the German army and the fourth largest location of the Bundeswehr. The city lies between the training areas Munster Munster South and North. These areas not open to the public of the Bundeswehr and the large number of soldiers and civilian employees of the armed forces are part of public life in the city. The practice ranges limit growth to some extent, and are one reason that Munster has kept its rural character despite its comparable with the former county town of Soltau population.