7 events across Germany you won’t want to miss this February

From fancy festivals to street samba, we've found the best events to lighten up your February.

7 events across Germany you won't want to miss this February
Photo: DPA

1. The Night of the Jumps, Berlin, February 4th – 5th

Photo: DPA

“The excitement that every driver feels before a jump exchanges unfiltered into the audience,” say the organizers of The Night of the Jumps. While the rest of Germany can offer high culture and traditional festivals, this event provides something completely different: adrenaline.

It's billed as an evening of spectacular jumps and aerial acrobatics on motorbikes, and takes place in the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin on the 4th and 5th.

The drivers fly through the air, taking part in different events such “highest air”, and “Whipcontest”, and of course an event like this wouldn't be complete without a huge firework display.

2. The Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg

Photo: DPA

After the colourful and vibrant opening of the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg's new concert house has a lot to live up to in its first full month. With one of the best cellists in the world, Yo-Yo Ma, already having hit the stage at the end of January, it certainly hasn't disappointed so far. 

With pianists Anna Vinnitskaya (Feb 8th) and Mitsuko Uchida (Feb 23rd) on the line up this month, there is still much to come.

3. Carnival in Cologne, Düsseldorf and other western cities

Photo: DPA

Having started at 11:11am on November 11th, the festive period of Karneval has been going for a while in Germany. However the four-month festival draws to a close in February on Ash Wednesday. For all who don't know this season, it's traditions are quite bizarre!

The week of celebrations start with Weiberfastnacht, or Fat Thursday, this year falling on February 23rd. Originating in Bonn, it is tradition that the women “take back” the town – women symbolically storm the town hall and cut off the ties of the men, leaving them with a small kiss as compensation. The whole event is even shown live on television!

Photo: DPA

For the rest of the week there are many processions and marches where different groups can create a float or a performance and take part in the festival. Much of the town dresses up, painting their faces and taking to the streets in celebration. 

The biggest city for carnival is undoubtedly Cologne, where they spend over €2 million on the week of celebrations, and give away 700,000 bars of chocolate and 300,000 bunches of flowers to spectators.

In some areas of the Rhineland they take the religious aspect of the week much more seriously, burning a straw man in order to take away all of the sins committed over the course of carnival season. 

4. Berlin International Film Festival, February 9th – 17th

Meryl Streep led the jury in 2016. Photo: DPA

Tired of the same old, same old from Hollywood? Looking for some original, interesting films? Look no further than the Berlinale, one of the world’s most notable film festivals.

This year, the 67th festival is running from the 9th to the 17th of February. It will, as always, offer a wide range of movies, from independent and art house productions to some international premieres (T2 Trainspotting is a particular highlight), and everything in between.

With 20,000 professionals arriving from 122 countries, half a million attendees expected and a reputation to die for, you can bet your horses the Berlinale will be an experience to remember.

5. Magritte Exhibition at Frankfurt Schirn Kunsthalle,  February 10th – June 17th

Photo: DPA

Does 2017 feel surreal to you? Embrace it with an exhibition of the famous 20th century Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte arriving in Frankfurt.

Frankfurt's Schirn Kunsthalle is hosting an exhibition under the patronage of German Federal President Joachim Gauck and the Belgian King. In fact, the same exhibition has just been showing in Paris at the Pompidou Centre, where it proved very popular. One for the culture vultures.

6. Bremen Samba Festival, February 17th– 18th

Photo: DPA

Weather got you down? Lacking colour in these wintry days? What better antidote than Bremen’s Samba festival, a two-day bonanza of dancing and exuberance.

Every year since 1986 Bremen’s city centre has been filled with dozens of samba groups from around Germany and beyond, and up to 40,000 spectators. As well as the massive parade on Saturday lunchtime there’s also a kids’ carnival, dancing long into the night and a masquerade ball to round it all off.

The theme this year is ‘wonders of the world’ – expect to be dazzled. If you’re looking for something a bit different, here’s your ticket. After all, as the organisers themselves say, the masks are supposed to signify how extraordinary and individual each of us is, breaking with the everyday.

7. Bonn Video Arts Festival, February 17th – April 2nd

The Museum of Art, Bonn. Photo: DPA

February also sees the opening of one of Germany’s less well-known events: the biennial Bonn Videonale festival of video arts.

Held since 2005 in Bonn’s Museum of Art, the festival has among its highlights a competition between old hands and young up-and-comers in a fierce battle for the €5,000 top prize.

But it’s not all about the money. With plenty of discussion of modern video art trends, alongside lectures, performances, presentations and more, this is a fusion of artistic talent not to be missed.

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Seven must-attend online events in Germany in April

Most cultural institutions remain closed in April, but there's plenty of activity happening online. Here's a list of online events for you to attend in Germany in April from the safety of your own home.

Seven must-attend online events in Germany in April
Semperoper in Dresden. Photo: DPA

Deutsches Theatre, Berlin, Interactive online event, until April 16th 2021

‘‘16-year-old Laura finds a message in her locker on the last day of school before the lockdown. A classmate is in danger and asks her for help. But Laura cannot solve the riddles she finds in her exercise book. Since she can no longer trust anyone at her school, she asks four outsiders for help’’. 

This is the plot of the interactive game with live performers hosted by Deutsches Theatre. Viewers get deeper and deeper insights into the dark machinations of the school via Zoom, Telegram and websites. In the style of escape rooms and detective games, a microcosm of corrupt clique leaders, illegal events and frightened schoolchildren unfolds.

To participate, you need a PC, a smartphone with the Telegram messenger app and a stable internet connection

Semperoper, Dresden, Virtual performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, starting April 5th 

Starting on Easter Monday, the Semperoper in Dresden invited its audience members to attend a virtual performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. A recording of Dresden’s latest opera can continue to be viewed free of charge. 

Volksbühne, Berlin, Digital Collection, until further notice

        Photo: DPA

Volksbühne in Berlin has various online events to check out. These include a production of Oedipus, talks on the role of instruments in the pandemic (‘Piano against Corona’) pieces by the Rosa Kollektiv in collaboration with the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation and more.  

Arab Film Festival, April 21st-30th

With a selection of fresh films, the festival will present the latest film making from the Arab world. Impressive film art, gripping stories and blunt statements are the focus of this year’s official selection, paired with strong protagonists. Feature films and documentaries deal with topics such as migration, gender roles and the culture of remembrance and show a contemporary and often personal image of a turbulent region.

Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, DIGGIN’ OPERA II  April 25th 6 pm-7:30 pm

Festspielhaus Baden-Baden is showing an opera production produced entirely by high school children, including writing music, creating the stage sets and costumes. Under the guidance of the best specialists in their field, the young people have worked over several months to put together a music theatre production which they will now be presenting at the Festspielhaus online 

Virtual Marathon, Germany, April 11th

At the Virtual Marathon Germany, you can run anywhere in the world, alone or with friends! You can choose to run a distance of 21, ten or five kilometres.

You can set a training goal for yourself for April 11th and as a reward, you will receive a marathon package in the mail – including a medal and running shirt. In the virtual marathon, each participant can choose his or her own route. There are even prizes for winners, for which more than three hundred people have already registered.

Gämeldegalerie, Berlin, Online collection, until further notice

The National Museums in Berlin have published another virtual tour of one of their museum collections: Following the Bode Museum, the Gemäldegalerie can now also be explored digitally in its entirety and in both German and English. The gallery is showcasing its 58 rooms, 112 panoramas, and 1,200 works of art.