Christmas markets in Germany

Kitsch is a German word and the wonderful, warm, colourful Christmas markets of Germany demonstrate exactly what it means.

There were mock pine forests (trees nailed to the floor, Goslar); mock wooden houses (everywhere); mock stone ovens (plaster and fibreglass, Leipzig); and mock snow (fibreglass and glitter, Dortmund). The stalls sell traditional wooden toys, traditional sausages, traditional stollen, traditional cough sweets — you name it, if it’s ‘time honoured’ they’re selling it.

And yet, it doesn’t feel nasty, or tacky or cheap.

On our first night in Germany, we found ourselves in the Christmas market in Dortmund, surrounded by people slightly tipsy on gluehwein. Everyone was cold, but had hot booze to keep their hands warm. There was a genuine and general sense of well-being and togetherness, despite the fakery with which we were surrounded. And we didn’t give the absence of beer a second thought.

We’re no subscribers to the idea that we live in ‘binge Britain’, but the thought did cross our mind: could this ever work in the UK? Are we too cynical, too prone to drunken idiocy? It would be nice to think not…

13 replies on “Christmas markets in Germany”

I think German xmas markets are a couple of stepts ahead than those in Prague. But i still love hanging out at the market in Old Town Square. It must be one of the few places where I don’t feel uncomfortable for being among a big crowd. It doesn’t matter how many people are there, how difficult it is to walk around, everybody seems to be enjoying themselves without rushing or getting stressed, the total opposite of malls and supermarkets.
BTW, did you try hot mead while you were here?

No, we didn’t try hot mead, sadly. We turned into a right pair of tickers in Prague, trying as many different beers as possible, and taking on no other liquid whatsoever.

I strayed into the Weihnachtsmarkt in the centre of Münster last Saturday. I hadn’t inteded to, but thought I might as well. It was packed. The whole Altstadt was packed, but this was super packed. Bus-loads of tourists come to visit on Saturdays. My colleague laughed when I mentioned I had been in there on Saturday and said nobody from Münster goes on the weekend. So, I’m biding my time… Feuerzangebowle here I come! 😀

The one in Munich is magical, even to a bitter old cynic like me. Twinkling lights, Gluhwein and heisse maroni under the glockenspiel, and then off to Andechser Am Dom for a helles. Lovely.

Birmingham has a German Christmas Market every year – the first one was while I was still at university. Apparently it was become very popular and rather than just beng a bunch of Brits flogging German stuff, and probably add a healthy dose of British naff to the proceedings, it is run by Germans who bring their stalls over.

It does work in Britain after a fashion. The German Market in Manchester is well established and well expensive too! £4.50 for a bratwurst anyone? These were going in Germany last week for €2.50. And don’t get me started on a £2 deposit for plastic glasses.

In Düsseldorf and Cologne we enjoyed the markets there a lot. Very relaxing and everyone in a good mood. They aren’t naff and we came away with plenty overpriced baubles for good measure. Pity I dislike glüwein, though E loves it, but beer was sold too.

There are two German Christmas markets in London as we speak. One down on South bank, which is kind of poor.
There is a much better on in Hyde Park at the Hyde Park Corner entrance. They have all the usual offerings as well as a Paulaner tent, and a Krombacher bar. But sadly currywurst is £5.

Welcome Tim and TIW. We’ve not been to the Munich Christmas market, but we’re definitely due a winter visit there some time.

We’ll give the Hyde Park one a go – I wasn’t at all convinced by the Tower Bridge effort last year, although there was a bloke selling some American Christmas beers. He didn’t know anything about them, hough.

I haven’t been to the Christmas markets in London. I imagine if they had a Krampus running around menacingly it might appeal to me more. Maybe I am more a part of the cynical, drunken idiocy than I thought?

Was at winter wonderland, the German Christmas marketsof London last weekend. I can’t say I was very impressed but am glad the christmas market culture is hitting the UK. The one in Birmingham(as mentioned above) is called the Frankfurt Christmas Market. Heard that is one of the popular ones, looking forward to visit that somewhere around Boxing Day..

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