Eight events you won’t want to miss in Germany in December 2019

Even though the days are getting shorter and colder, there is plenty to do in Germany in December.

Eight events you won't want to miss in Germany in December 2019
There's more to December in Germany than Christmas markets, like the Dortmund Comic Con. Photo: DPA/ Roland Weihrauch.
The Winterdom festival features activities for all ages. Photo: DPA/ Axel Heimken. 
The largest folk festival in northern Germany began in early November and will continue until December 8th this year. The Hamburg DOM festival occurs three times throughout the year (winter, spring, and summer), but the Winterdom is very special. The winter edition will showcase fair rides, carnival games, and a special fireworks show every Friday. 

The festival is free entry and takes place next to the famous St. Pauli Stadium. The tradition began in 1948 and has run continuously ever since. Just as exciting as the carnival activities is the wide variety of food to choose from at the festival. Snack on everything from Bratwurst and Currywurst to traditional dishes, including the Schmalzkuchen, or “lard cakes,” which is similar to a donut but smaller and square-shaped.

The largest international chocolate festival in the country

Visitors browse the stalls at ChocolART. Photo: DPA/Christoph Schmidt.

This year, from December 3rd to 8th, Tübingen will host the fourteenth annual “ChocolART” festival in the Old Town. The festival will include chocolate tasting sessions from around the world, courses on how to make pralines, cocoa painting, as well as readings and lectures about chocolate. There are also a series of offerings for children to enjoy the sweet celebration. 

Over 100 exclusive chocolatiers from around the world have been invited to the festival and will set up under tents in the historical city square. In addition, local shops and restaurants will take part in the fun, offering special shopping and chocolate-centered menus. Entrance to the event is free.

Frankfurt's Santa Run

Runners dressed in Santa suits enjoy the annual run in Frankfurt. Photo: DPA/ Andreas Arnold.

This 4km charity run through Frankfurt’s city centre is taking place on December 5th this year. It is open to runners of all levels and has a €20 entry fee, which also includes a Santa Claus costume, a drinks voucher, and a starting number. The event begins at 7pm and includes both a pre and post-run party. 

The proceeds from the run will go to support both young and experienced athletes in Germany. The event is open to all ages, and many families, as well as groups, participate in the run. Over 1,500 runners participated last year. Even if running isn’t your thing, seeing so many Santas running through the streets of the city is bound to be entertaining!

Berlin's Modern Art Showcase, the Zeughausmesse

The showcase will take place in the Zeughaus area of the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/ Miguel Hermoso Cuesta. 

From December 5th-8th, Berlin’s Deutsches Historisches Museum (German Historical Museum) will host a Modern Craft exhibition and sales fair for the 16th year in a row. It celebrates “applied contemporary art,” bringing together upcoming artists and designers who focus on creating contemporary art for everyday use. Around 90 artists will be present at the event, and a panel of experts has been selected to comment on their work. Visitors have the opportunity to speak directly with many of the artists. 

An €8 entry fee (free for under 18) will provide access to exhibitions at the museum, as well as the showcase. Entry to the showcase will be free from 6-9pm on Saturday, December 7th. 

While in Berlin, also check out the Christmas Garden at the Botanical Garden Berlin, which features over a million light spots, various illuminations, 3D Christmas figures, cosy fireplaces with local treats, and an ice skating rink.

Munich's Tollwood Winter Festival

An illuminated tent and organic potato booth are just part of the fun at Tollwood. Photo: DPA/ Felix Hörhaber. 

This annual festival takes place from November 23rd-December 31st at the Theresienweise, where Oktoberfest is held. The festival is a free event that features a series of theatre and music performances, kids entertainment, and environmental activities.

In addition to the artistic performances, the festival has an international “market of ideas.” This market, which might look similar to a Christmas market from the outside, contains over 200 stalls with organic food and handcrafts from all around the world. 

If you happen to be in Munich on the evening of December 8th, be sure to check out the Krampuslauf, or Krampus run, from 3pm at the Christmas market at Marienplatz. Around 300 masked individuals dressed up as the monster Krampus, will run through Munich’s streets, continuing a 500 year old tradition from the Alpine regions.

German Comic Con in Dortmund

Convention-goers show off their creative costumes outside the comic con in Dortmund. Photo: DPA/ Roland Weihrauch.

This convention at the Messe Dortmund will bring together Hollywood cinema, comics, costumes, and more. There will be panel discussions, celebrity appearances, and a large costume contest.

It's taking place December 7th-8th this year. This lively event does require a ticket, but it is sure to delight comic and superhero fans of all ages!

Christmas Markets 

Christmas markets are one of the most popular ways to beat the cold. Photo: DPA/ Oliver Killig.

Of course, Christmas markets across the country are a great way to spend time in Germany in December. Here have compiled some of our best guides to making the most of Christmas market season in Deutschland. 


New Year’s Eve Celebrations 

The Silvesterparty at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin is one of Europe's most popular street parties. Photo: DPA/ Monika Skolimowska. 

Silvester, or New Year’s Eve, is a big deal in Germany. There are popular fireworks shows and parties at nightclubs and other venues across the country. Every major city has its own fireworks show, and there are a variety of fun traditions celebrated to mark the new year.

In Berlin, one of Europe's largest street parties takes place between the Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column with live bands, DJs, light and laser shows, as well as food stands. The highlight of the evening will be the fireworks show at midnight. Entry is free.

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This article was updated on December 3rd.



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German Christmas market closures ‘can’t be ruled out’: health expert

As Germany battles a fierce Covid wave, concerns are growing over events, with one health expert saying closures of the country's beloved Christmas markets can't be ruled out.

Revellers enjoy mulled wine at the 'Santa Pauli' Christmas market in Hamburg on November 15th.
Revellers enjoy mulled wine at the 'Santa Pauli' Christmas market in Hamburg on November 15th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marcus Brandt

Martina Wenker, president of the Lower Saxony Medical Association, said she believed Christmas markets may have to be cancelled if the Covid-19 situation gets worse in Germany. 

“Depending on the regional incidence situation, closures should not be ruled out in extreme cases,” Wenker told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

“We can’t stand by and celebrate while next door in the hospitals, planned operations have to be postponed frequently, corona patients are dying, and staff in practices and clinics are at their limits.”

Wenker said regional leaders allowed the opening of Christmas markets on the basis that the Covid situation was moderate.

“But if we reach higher levels of escalation, we will have to consider whether Christmas markets are still justifiable,” she said.

Germany on Tuesday reported 32,048 Covid infections within 24 hours and 265 Covid-related deaths. The 7-day incidence increased to 312.4 Covid cases per 100,000 residents. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s Covid incidence tops 300 for first time

‘Maximum safety’

Bavarian state premier Markus Söder said on Monday that he wanted to ensure there was “maximum safety” around Christmas markets.

He said it will be among the topics discussed at the Covid crisis talks between the federal government and state leaders this Thursday. 

In general, Söder said mask requirements should remain at Christmas markets as well as distance rules and other protection measures. 

In an interview with broadcaster Bayern3, Söder explained that so far there is no legal framework for Bavaria to cancel Christmas markets. “At the moment, we cannot legally order it,” he said.

Some Christmas markets, which have recently opened to the public, are already enforcing strict rules such as excluding the unvaccinated from entry, or not serving alcohol to people unless they can show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid. 



Christmas market – (der) Weihnachtsmarkt

Celebrate – feiern

Planned operations/procedures – geplante Eingriffe 

Postponed – verschoben

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