Hamburg set to get extra public holiday, but parties can’t agree on which one

The city-state of Hamburg feels like life just isn’t fair. The people of Bavaria in the south get 13 public holidays a year, while the port city has to make do with nine.

Hamburg set to get extra public holiday, but parties can’t agree on which one
Hamburg. Photo: DPA

“I have complete sympathy for those who say we need an extra holiday – I also think there is a lack of equality between north and south Germany,” said Andreas Dressel, head of the Social Democrats in the Hamburg Senate, according to broadcaster NDR.

Dressel called for all the parties in the Senate to put forward a day on which the new public holiday should be celebrated. But this is where things have started to get difficult.

The Christian Democrats (CDU) want the holiday to be held on Reformation Day, which falls on October 31st.

“Hamburg has a protestant history that gave the city a distinctive power which is still felt today,” said CDU leader in Hamburg, André Trepoll. “That is a good reason for us to make Reformation Day a permanent holiday.”

Die Linke, on the other hand, think May 8th would be more appropriate. On May 8th, 1945, the Nazis finally surrendered to the allies, ending the Second World War.

“It was a day of liberation not only for Germans, but for all the people who suffered during the war,” said Die Linke politician Deniz Celik.

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) have yet another proposal. They want May 23rd, the day on which the German constitution was published, to be the public holiday.

One suspects that, for the people of Hamburg, it is less about paying their respects to the constitution, the allies or Martin Luther, and rather more about having one extra day when they don’t have to set their alarm in the morning.

READ ALSO: Here's how to make the most of the public holidays in 2018


Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.