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THE LOCAL LIST

CHRISTMAS

Germany’s weirdest Christmas markets

Christmas markets are an intrinsic part of the holiday season in Germany. But for those fancying an odd twist on the standard stalls offering Glühwein, The Local has uncovered markets with erotic, nautical and various other themes.

Germany's weirdest Christmas markets
Photo: DPA

Erotic Christmas market in Hamburg

Aptly dubbed “the horniest Christmas market in Germany“, this unorthodox Weihnachtsmarkt can be found in the St Pauli district of Hamburg and offers an array of sexy seasonal treats for the sixth year in a row.

The set up is similar to a normal market, with wooden stalls touting their wares, a decked out Christmas tree and vendors selling mulled wine. But there is one main difference; sex everywhere, in true St. Pauli style.

Alongside the traditional Christmas paraphernalia sit scanty knickers, erotic pictures, and hand carved wooden dildos made by a family-run team specializing in wooden sex toys.

Gingerbread hearts, instead of reading “I love you” are emblazoned with romantic phrases such “let’s bonk”, and Glühwein has been renamed “virility punch,” or “hooker juice.”

Inside the market tent, burlesque dancers swing around poles and perform regular strip shows. There is even fortune teller, for those who want to know if they’ll be getting lucky in the New Year.

Probably not one for the kids, but definitely worth a visit, the erotic Christmas market can be found on Spielbudenplatz daily. Entrance is free.

Click here for a gallery of Germany’s weird Christmas markets

Harbour Christmas market in Cologne

Fish might not be the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about Christmas, but nevertheless, on the banks of the Rhine River in Cologne, a nautical Weihnachtsmarkt has sailed into town.

On Cologne’s oldest bridge, in front of the chocolate museum, revellers can enjoy a range of fishy snacks whilst bobbing along to sea shanties played on the accordion. Go at the right time and you might even catch a performance by the choir of sexy sailors.

Children can hope aboard a story boat and listen to tales of sea monsters, pirates and mermaids, as grown-ups can stroll around the 70 stalls enjoying a Glühbier – a deliciously spiced, warm beer.

The market runs daily and entrance is free.

Underground Christmas market in Kleinbremen

Pop on a helmet and some sturdy shoes, and enjoy the underground Christmas market in Minden.

For three days in December, visitors will be able to peruse handmade goods and enjoy local delicacies by candle light in an abandoned mine, not to mention watch a laser show each evening. With just 50 stalls lining a 150 metre subterranean walkway, this unusual market it bound to be one of the cosiest ones around.

Catch it whilst you can, however, as this Weihnachtsmarkt is only open from the 14 to 16 of December. Entrance fees are a little pricier than normal at €8 for adults and €4 for children, but enjoying a Glühwein and a bratwurst away from the biting cold will be worth it.

Feng-Shui Christmas market in Bergisch Gladbach

If the bustle of Christmas markets sometimes proves too stressful, the North Rhine-Westphalian town of Bergisch Gladbach may be able to help with its Feng-Shui market. Christmas goodies a-plenty can be found in the grounds of Schloss Bensberg, where not a fairground ride is in-sight, and visitors can soak up the ambience to the soulful grooves of gospel group Harlem-Grooves.

Stalls are arranged in accordance to ancient Feng Shui principles of grouping elements together: stalls selling wooden knick-knacks or paper items are sold together in the wood area. Roasted chestnuts or freshly baked goods are sold in the fire section, and the handcrafted jewellery in the metal area.

And what’s more is that the stalls are all arranged in a way the strictest Feng Shui adherent would approve of, creating the most harmonious of Christmas environments. The overall result should be a market with a flowing energy. Or flowing Glühwein at least, which has been especially produced with grapes from Rhineland-Palatinate.

The Bergisch Gladbach market has a small entrance fee of €6 for adults, which includes a drink. Children are admitted free.

Children’s Christmas Market in Lübeck

A Christmas market just for kids has been opened up in Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein. Here, little ones get to experience the magic properly as smaller stalls allow them to get just as stuck in as the adults.

There is also a 200 metre square ice-rink, but strictly for those under 1 metre 60 tall, and under the age of 10. Parents also have the opportunity to enjoy an adult beverage, whilst their children bake Christmas biscuits in the baking tent under the watchful eye of a trained professional.

Budding actors or actresses will also get the chance to re-enact the nativity story, complete with costumes. More retiring youngsters can sit and watch, however, with a mug of hot chocolate.

The market is open daily through December, entrance is free but the ice-skating rink costs €3 per child.

The Local/jcw

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BERLIN

EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

Shops
If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

Leisure
2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

Hairdressers
For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

Transport
3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.

 

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