• Germany edition
 
Celebrating spring with flowers and wine in Werder
A fruit orchard in Werder (Havel). Photo: DPA

Celebrating spring with flowers and wine in Werder

Published: 24 Apr 2008 16:06 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 Apr 2008 16:06 GMT+02:00

Thankful Germany’s miserable spring weather finally seems to be improving, Tom Norton decides to explores two favourite Teutonic pastimes – nature and booze – ahead of the Werder Tree Blossom Festival.

Let’s be honest. This spring has been fairly miserable as far as weather goes. Snow at Easter? Hail the size of ice cubes every other week? It’s enough to make you want a drink.

Fortunately, the temperatures are on the rise and there’s a perfect place to enjoy both nature and some booze: the Baumblütenfest, or Tree Blossom Festival, in Werder (Havel) in Brandenburg.

The festival takes place from April 26 to May 4 this year and it’s only a short train ride away from Berlin. The event has no pretensions – it’s exactly what its name suggests; a celebration of spring, the blossoming of fruit trees, and local fruit wine, which is the star of the show. Time honoured tradition dictates that anyone attending should get completely sloshed. After all, it is a German festival.

The area around Werder is known for its fruit orchards that cover the hills surrounding the village and during the festival family run stalls line the streets offering their homemade blends. Almost every local family with an orchard has its own brand of hooch.

If you don’t happen to be a connoisseur of fruit wines the extensive range can be mind-blowing. Varieties include strawberry, raspberry, plum, blackberry, plus loads others you might never have thought possible. But don’t be afraid you might go blind drinking them – all are extremely palatable. You could easily spend your entire time at the festival sipping on these exotic delights, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Think nasty fruit wine hangover.

The festival began in 1879 and Werder council says its 129th year could be possibly the biggest ever. It started when an old farmer named Wilhelm Wils hit upon the idea of hosting a fruit wine festival. He convinced the other fruit growers to join in and the festival quickly grew in size and popularity. Only during East Germany’s four-decade existence did its popularity lapse, apparently since consuming excess amounts of alcohol was frowned upon by the dour communist government.

But these days, the festival is said to be the second biggest such event in Germany, eclipsed only by Munich’s mighty Oktoberfest. Last year over 800,000 people attended the Baumblütenfest, but it’s not the size that makes the festival special. It’s the beauty of walking down streets lined with cherry blossom trees, as the pungent smells of fresh and fermented fruit waft up your nose. It’s enough to make our lousy spring this year just a hazy memory.

While plenty of opportunities to sample fruit wine exist, picking ripe fruit is another popular activity. Walking through the gardens is a great way to spend the afternoon and there’s a great view of the whole town from up on the hill. For those seeking speedier entertainment, in the town square there’s a rollercoaster, a Ferris wheel, and other rides you’ll find at your average German fair. But my past experience says don’t try these after too much wine.

The opening ceremony will be held on April 26, which contains the kitschy and thoroughly stimulating event of the crowning of the Blossom Festival Queen. This nubile young flower is carefully plucked by group of local old ladies, who then push her onto stage into the awaiting hands of a town council official.

There will then be ten days of music performances and other entertainment. Check out Werder’s website for the full programme of events. On the last night of the festival there’s a firework show – and if you’re lucky, you might even get to meet the Blossom Queen.

Getting There:

It’s advisable to take the train to Werder, which is around 35 kilometres southwest of Berlin. Driving isn’t recommended as most people will be having a few drinks and a lot of the town roads are blocked off and checked by police. You should also buy a return train ticket for your journey, since Werder (Havel) only has one ticket machine at its dinky train station.

If you’re visiting Berlin at this time, the festival makes an excellent day trip – the wines are too good to miss. From Berlin catch the RE1 (Regional Express) in the direction of Magdeberg to Werder (Havel). The trip takes about half an hour.

More info: www.werder-havel.de

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
German ladies net Fed Cup final appearance
Germany's Angelique Kerber celebrates her victory over Australia's Sam Stosur with teammates after their match in the Fed Cup semi-final. AFP Photo: Patrick Hamilton

German ladies net Fed Cup final appearance

Angelique Kerber put Germany into their first Fed Cup final in 22 years with a fighting victory over Australia's Samantha Stosur in the semi-final in Brisbane on Sunday. READ () »

Germany should make use of shale gas: EU
EU commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger pictured in Luxembourg in 2013. AFP Photo: Georges Gobet

Germany should make use of shale gas: EU

EU energy commissioner Günther Oettinger has urged Germany to make use of shale gas options and added that the he saw no danger of Europe's access to Russian gas falling victim to possible economic sanctions in the standoff over Ukraine. READ () »

Tennis aces close in on Fed Cup final
Members of the German Fed Cup Team celebrate after an earlier victory in the tournament. Photo: DPA

Tennis aces close in on Fed Cup final

Germany took hold of their Fed Cup semi-final on Saturday, winning both the opening day singles to lead Australia 2-0 in Brisbane. READ () »

Croatia extradites ex-top spy to Germany

Croatia extradites ex-top spy to Germany

Croatia extradited a former Yugoslav spy chief, Zdravko Mustac, to Germany on Thursday to face charges for the 1983 murder of a dissident on German soil. READ () »

German court jails Somali pirate for 12 years
An officer of the Lower Saxon Criminal Investigation Department (CID) securing evidence on the hijacked ship Marida Marguerite. Photo: DPA

German court jails Somali pirate for 12 years

A German court has sentenced a Somali pirate chief to 12 years in jail for hijacking a ship off the Horn of Africa and tormenting its crew during an eight-month ordeal. READ () »

New app helps clients find prostitutes
Photo: DPA

New app helps clients find prostitutes

While the German government is considering tightening prostitution laws, Berlin entrepreneurs have developed a smartphone app to connect sex-workers with clients. READ () »

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend
Photo: DPA

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend

The days running up to Easter may be cool and wet, but the holiday weekend should be a bit warmer for most of Germany, according to forecasters. READ () »

Berlin man must call himself a mother
The fight over the transgender man's right to be his child's official father has been raging since last year. Photo: DPA

Berlin man must call himself a mother

A transgender person who became the first man in Germany to give birth in March 2013 must be registered as the child's mother, a court has ruled after his year-long court battle to be named a father. READ () »

Study: rape convictions fall sharply
Photo: DPA

Study: rape convictions fall sharply

The chance of being convicted of rape in Germany has more than halved in the past two decades to fewer than one in ten, a major study revealed on Thursday. READ () »

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax
The tax privilege for investment income is unfair, says the SPD. Photo: DPA

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax

The centre-left half of Germany's coalition government has called for the old top rate of a 45-percent tax on investments to be brought back - to match standard income tax and fight the squeeze on middle incomes. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Rhineland
Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
What's the unemployment rate in your area of Germany?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
'The mafia has infiltrated every sector in Germany'
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The week in pictures: April 5th - April 11th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Advertisement:
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,066
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd