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CHRISTMAS

5 events not to miss in Germany this December

Christmas is nearly here! But until the big day finally comes, here's what's on offer around Germany this festive month.

5 events not to miss in Germany this December
Photo: DPA

1. Stollen festival, Dresden (December 9th)

Bakers creating the giant Stollen before Stollenfest 2015. Photo: DPA

In addition to having the oldest Christmas market in Germany, Dresden also plays host to the annual 'Stollenfest', dedicated to Germany's favourite fruitcake. 

To celebrate Stollen in all its glory, there is a Stollen Mädchen (Stollen girl) and even a procession for the star of the show, the giant Stollen which is baked every year.

Sadly the giant Stollen is no longer baked in one piece but instead is crafted from more than 200 individual Stollen trays by master bakers according to the traditional Dresden recipe. 

For the Stollenfest's 20th anniversary almost 3 million raisins were baked into the giant fruitcake.

The festival began in 1994 and this year, just like all 23 years before, takes place on the Saturday before the second Sunday of Advent.

2. ChocolART chocolate festival, Tübingen (December 5th-10th)

If the chocoholic in you wishes Christmas markets would have fewer crafts and more desserts, then ChocolARt, Germany's biggest chocolate festival is a must see.

The festival has everything imaginable to do with chocolate, including chocolate art, chocolate theatre, and of course lots of tasting and chocolate-making workshops.

With more than 100 exhibitors from Africa, North and South America and Europe, the festival has a large range of chocolate on offer, which is handy if you're yet to do your Christmas shopping. Vegans can also enjoy the festival, as there are stalls which cater exclusively to vegan diets.

3. Christmas Markets

Wherever you go in Germany this month, you are sure to never be far from a Christmas Market. In fact, according to the German Christmas Market website, there are 1,551 markets to choose from this year.

If you aren't sure which market to go to first, or miraculously there isn't one near you, then check out our lists on 10 Christmas Markets not to be missed and Germany's weirdest Christmas markets.

4. Christmas Garden Berlin (November 16th- January 7th)

Berlin's Botanical Garden takes on a whole new quality this season with the Christmas Garden. The Garden's two kilomtre walk is lit up in festive glory with intricate Christmassy scenes. The walk has 30 individual installations fitting the Christmassy theme using a total of 1,500,000 lights

Visitors choose a time slot and then can stroll through at their leisure, visiting the 'Santa Clause' restaurant, warming up around the fire pits and taking a spin on the Garden's ice rink.

5. Krone Circus Munich (December 25th- January 31st)

Catch Circus Krone on their home turf this December, as they present this year's winter programme at the Krone building in Munich, staying in-house for the entire winter season before touring in the summer months.

Circus Krone has officially existed for almost a hundred years, as it was established in 1919 by Carl Krone. Krone was, literally, born in the back of a circus van and became a renowned lion tamer at the age of just 17.

Together with his wife Ida Ahlers, Krone performed at Munich's Oktoberfest in 1902 and developed a full circus show by 1905, originally called Circus Charles before the name change in 1919.

The circus is still in the Krone family and continues to be as popular today and holds the title of Europe's biggest circus.

LIVING IN GERMANY

REVEALED: The most commonly asked questions about Germans and Germany

Ever wondered what the world is asking about Germany and the Germans? We looked at Google’s most searched results to find out – and help clear some of these queries up.

Oktoberfest
Hasan Salihamidzic, the sports director of FC Bayern, arrives with his wife at Oktoberfest in full traditional dress. Photo: picture alliance/dpa |

According to popular searches, Germany is the go-to place for good coffee and bread (although only if you like the hard kind) and the place to avoid if what you’re looking for is good food, good internet connection and low taxes. Of course, this is subjective; some people will travel long stretches to get a fresh, hot pretzel or a juicy Bratwurst, while others will take a hard pass.

When it comes to the question on the bad Internet – there is some truth to this. German is known for being behind other rich nations when it comes to connectivity. And from personal experience, the internet connection can seem a little medieval. The incoming German coalition government has, however, vowed to improve internet connectivity as part of their plans to modernise the country.

There are also frequent questions on learning the German language, and people pointing out that it is hard and complicated. This is probably due to the long compound words and its extensive grammar rules, however, as both English and German are Germanic languages with similar words in common, it’s not impossible to learn as an English-speaker.

Here’s a look at some of those questions…

Why is German called Deutsch? Whereas ‘German’ comes from the Latin, ‘Deutsch’ instead derives itself from the Indo-European root “þeudō”, meaning “people”. This slowly became “Deutsch” as we know it today. It can be a bit confusing to English-speakers, who are right to think it sounds a little more like “Dutch”, however the two languages do have the same roots which may explain it.

And why is Germany so boring? Again, probably a generalisation, especially given that Germany has a landmass of over 350,000 km² with areas ranging from high rise, industrial cities to traditional old town villages and even mountain ranges, so you’re sure to find a place that doesn’t bore you to tears.

Perhaps it is a question that comes from the stereotype that Germans are obsessed with strict about rules, organised and analytical. Or that they have no sense of humour – all of these things being not the most exciting traits. 

Either way, from my experience I can confirm that, even though there is truth to German society enjoying order and rules, the vast majority of people are not boring, and I’m sure if you come to Germany you’ll meet many interesting, funny and exciting people. 

READ ALSO: 12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Germany

When it comes to the German weather, most people assume a cold and cloudy climate, however this isn’t entirely true. While the autumn and winter, especially in the north, comes with grey skies and sub-zero temperatures, Germany can have some beautiful summers, with temperatures frequently rising above 30C in some places.

Unsurprisingly, the power and wealth of the German nation is mentioned – Germany is the largest economy in Europe after all, with a GDP of 3.8 trillion dollars. This could be due to strong industry sectors in the country, including vehicle constructions (I was a little surprised to find no questions posed on German cars), chemical and electrical industry and engineering. There are also many strong economic cities in Germany, most notably Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg.

READ ALSO: Eight unique words and phrases that tell us something about Germany

Smart and tall?

Why are Germans so tall? They are indeed taller than many other nations, with the average German measuring a good 172.87cm (or 5 feet 8.06 inches), however this may be a question better posed to the Dutch, who make up the tallest people in the world.

Why are Germans so smart? While this is again a generalisation – as individuals have different levels of intelligence in all countries – this question may stem from Germany’s free higher education system or their seemingly efficient work ethic. Plus there does seem to be some scientific research behind this question, with a study done in 2006 finding that Germans had the highest IQ in Europe.

So, while many of the questions posed about Germany and Germans on Google stem from stereotypes, we can confirm that some aren’t entirely made up. If you’re looking to debunk some frequently asked questions about France and the French, check out this article by our sister site HERE.

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