Six events not to miss in Germany in May 2019

Whether it's history, green sauce, music or LGBTQ culture, there's lots going on in Germany this May.

Six events not to miss in Germany in May 2019
Green sauce, potatoes and eggs in Frankfurt. Photo: DPA

Franfurt’s Green Sauce Festival

Goethe’s favourite dish and Frankfurt’s most popular delicacy is honoured with a seven-day culinary celebration, Starting from May 11th and running to the 18th, dozens of the central German state's restaurateurs come together for this annual festival, each of them vying for first place in the green sauce competition.

Green sauce is a culinary creation that hails from Frankfurt. It contains seven herbs: parsley, cress, chives, sorrel, borage, pimpinella and chervil. The herbs are then mixed with quark and traditionally served with potatoes and boiled eggs.

One for your foodie friends. 

Berlin's Airlift festival

More than 50,000 guests are expected at the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin this May to mark the 70th anniversary of the Airlift (Berliner Luftbrücke)

Seven decades ago on May 12th, 1949, the blockade on West Berlin imposed by the Soviet Union on June 24th 1948 finally ended.

The people of West Berlin could once again receive supplies by land, and the legendary airlift of the Americans, British and French, among others, was no longer needed. 

The German capital is celebrating this important historical event with a festival on the runway of the former Tempelhof Airport, in the south of the city, on May 12th.

SEE ALSO: 70 years on from the Berlin airlift

A varied programme for the whole family is planned, with events to celebrate and educate people about what happened. 

Among the exhibits is an audiovisual installation which will be installed in one of the airport hangars. Featuring films, photos and sound, it will lead guests on a journey through time. 

In another hangar, an exhibition will focus on the logistics and planning of the Airlift as well as the personal and humanitarian commitment that ensured the survival of the city for almost a year. 

An open day at Tempelhof Airport. Photo: DPA

Munich’s Spring Festival

Known as “Octoberfest’s little sister”, Munich’s Frühlingfest is a family-friendly two-week celebration with fairground rides, beer tents and live music.

Set in the city’s Theresienwiese, the festival started in 1965 and many of the vendors are still represented today. Look out for the Festhalle Bayernland where you’ll find beer tents and Bavarian specials like roast chicken, knuckle of pork and rolled pork roast. Meanwhile, there’s lots of entertainment and bands.

There’s also the ‘Hippodrom’ which is a smaller version of the famous beer tent at Oktoberfest.

It runs until May 12th.

Dresden Music Festival

The Dresdner Musikfestspiele is this year celebrating 100 years of the Bauhaus movement. Starting on May 16th and running until June 10th, the festival is running 56 events at 22 venues across the eastern German city.

Festival director Jan Vogler wants to break down genre boundaries and revive traditions with artists and fellow musicians from all over the world, in line with the Bauhaus' forward-thinking philosophy.

For the first time, star singer René Pape will perform with the Dresden Festival Orchestra in his home town, under the direction of Ivor Bolton.

The line-up is also packed full of international artists, including guitar legend Eric Clapton. He will bring the 42nd edition of the festival to a close in Messe Dresden on June 10th.

Düsseldorf’s Christopher Street Day

A combination of demonstration, political statement, party and celebration, the CSD, Christopher Street Day in Düsseldorf has become well established in the state capital. The stage is prominently placed across from the parliament buildings next to the Rhine promenade.

It runs from May 31st to June 2nd.





CSD 2019 #CSD #pride #duesseldorf #lesbian #bi #gay #transgender

A post shared by CSD Düsseldorf e.V. (@csd.duesseldorf) on Nov 13, 2018 at 12:13pm PST

The Beelitz Spargel festival

Spargelstadt (asparagus city) is the nickname for the Brandenburg city of Beelitz. And at the end of the month, from May 31st to June 2nd, you'll find this city is home to the Beelitzer Spargelfest. Expect mountains of yummy white asparagus, live music, food stands and a parade. 

Spargelzeit also coincides with erdbeeren (strawberry) season so pick up a box of yummy fruit to munch along with your veg. Don't forget that Spargelzeit is fleeting so take advantage of it while its here. 

SEE ALSO: German word of the day: Spargelzeit

Meanwhile, head to Bruchsal in Baden-Württemberg, which is also a top asparagus destination. The Spargelfest there takes place on May 18th and 19th.

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Reader question: Can I get a retirement visa for Germany?

Unlike in EU countries such as Portugal or Spain, Germany does not have a visa specifically for pensioners. Yet applying to live in the Bundesrepublik post-retirement is not difficult if you follow these steps.

Reader question: Can I get a retirement visa for Germany?
Two pensioners enjoying a quiet moment in Dresden in August 2020. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Sebastian Kahnert

Due to its quality of life, financial security and health care, Germany snagged the number 10 spot in the 2020 Global Retirement Index. So just how easy is it to plant roots in Deutschland after your retirement?

Applying for a residency permit

As with any non-EU or European Economic Area (EEA) national looking to stay in Germany for longer than a 90-day period, retirees will need to apply for a general resident’s permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) under which it will be possible to select retirement as a category. 

READ ALSO: How does Germany’s pension system measure up worldwide?

This is the same permit for those looking to work and study in Germany – but if you would like to do either after receiving a residency permit, you will need to explicitly change the category of the visa.

Applicants from certain third countries (such as the US, UK, Australia, South Africa, Japan, South Korea, Israel, Canada, and New Zealand) can first come to Germany on a normal tourist visa, and then apply for a residency permit when in the country. 

However, for anyone looking to spend their later years in Germany, it’s still advisable to apply at their home country’s consulate at least three months in advance to avoid any problems while in Germany.

Retirement visas still aren’t as common as employment visas, for example, so there could be a longer processing time. 

What do you need to retire in Germany?

To apply for a retirement visa, you’ll need proof of sufficient savings (through pensions, savings and investments) as well as a valid German health insurance. 

If you have previously worked in Germany for at least five years, you could qualify for Pensioner’s Health Insurance. Otherwise you’ll need to apply for one of the country’s many private health insurance plans. 

Take note, though, that not all are automatically accepted by the Ausländerbehörde (foreigners office), so this is something you’ll need to inquire about before purchasing a plan. 

READ ALSO: The perks of private health insurance for expats in Germany

The decision is still at the discretion of German authorities, and your case could be made stronger for various reasons, such as if you’re joining a family member or are married to a German. Initially retirement visas are usually given out for a year, with the possibility of renewal. 

Once you’ve lived in Germany for at least five full years, you can apply for a permanent residency permit, or a Niederlassungserlaubnis. To receive this, you will have to show at least a basic knowledge of the German language and culture.

READ ALSO: How to secure permanent residency in Germany

Taxation as a pensioner

In the Bundesrepublik, pensions are still listed as taxable income, meaning that you could be paying a hefty amount on the pension from your home country. But this is likely to less in the coming years.

Tax is owed when a pensioner’s total income exceeds the basic tax-free allowance of €9,186 per year, or €764 per month. From 2020 the annual taxable income for pensioners will increase by one percent until 2040 when a full 100 percent of pensions will be taxable.

American retirees in Germany will also still have to file US income taxes, even if they don’t owe any taxes back in the States. 

In the last few years there has been a push around Germany to raise the pension age to 69, up from 65-67, in light of rising lifespans.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Could people in Germany still be working until the age of 68?