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Heidelberg plans ban on public drinking

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Heidelberg plans ban on public drinking
No more binge drinking and jumping into the Neckar.Photo:dpa
07:54 CET+01:00
Hordes of foreign travellers hoping to enjoy a few cold German beers outdoors in the tourist hub of Heidelberg this summer could face fines as the city aims to limit public drinking.

A spokeswoman for the picturesque city on the Neckar river on Thursday confirmed reports in the local press that Heidelberg planned to put a stop to brawls and carousing with an alcohol ban on its medieval streets and squares.

Deputy mayor Wolfgang Erichson told the daily Rhein Neckar Zeitung that the city aimed to stop those "who get senselessly drunk in public," by imposing the restrictions on weekend nights and holidays from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am. He said, however, that beer gardens and street cafes in the popular old town would be excluded from the rules.

About 150 people are injured in Heidelberg's old town each year, according to local records, most of them on weekends and after heavy drinking.

The city attracts about 3.5 million guests annually including tens of thousands of tourists from the United States and Japan. Heidelberg also has a sizable US military presence and a large student population attending the renowned university.

Similar bans have already been imposed in Freiburg and Marburg in western Germany and on a popular square in Magdeburg in the east. The western cities of Düsseldorf, Dortmund and Detmold are also mulling similar measures, according to the German Federation of Cities and Towns.

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