The administrative court’s decision means that alcohol can now be consumed anywhere within Freiburg’s city centre again. The southern university city in the state of Baden-Württemberg had begun banning public drinking around certain areas in January 2008 and extended the ban in summer of 2008 to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence and crime.
A local law student had sued the city for the so-called “Bermuda Triangle” ordinance, which restricted the consumption of beer and spirits in Freiburg’s nightlife areas from Friday through Monday every week.
“It is an understandable attempt by the community to condense something into an ordinance that can’t be condensed into an ordinance,” said judge Karl-Heinz Weingärtner, who ruled that the city’s ban was too sweeping.
A spokeswoman for the city told the DDP news agency that the court's decision would not solve the problem and said the city wants municipalities to have more legal power in such instances.
Freiburg is one of several German cities that have put alcohol bans in place in the past year. Heidelberg, Magdeburg and some parts of Berlin have also cracked down on public drinking in the last year with varying degrees of success. The bans are part of a broader attempt to curb excessive underage drinking.
According to DDP, other cities also have similar regulations planned, but had delayed implementing them until a decision was reached in the Freiburg case. The city can appeal the decision to Germany’s highest administrative court in Leipzig.