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German word of the day: Der Brückentag

Raphael Henry
Raphael Henry - [email protected]
German word of the day: Der Brückentag
Photo: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

Nothing beats making the most of public holidays - and a Brückentag or two can help you do just that.

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Translating literally as ‘bridge day’ or 'bridging day', this word does exactly what it says on the tin: when a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, eagle-eyed Germans will smugly book a day off of work on the Monday or Friday, effectively ‘bridging’ the holiday and the weekend.

This tactic gives you a luxurious four days of relaxation, and only costs one annual leave day from your holiday allocation. 

These Brückentage have become deeply ingrained in the German cultural consciousness – they even have a dedicated website, which documents all of the possible regional combinations of public holidays and weekends and, in typical German fashion, gives you an efficiency rating of each combination to show how best to use your holiday time.

This level of fixation on efficient holiday extensions has developed because of Germany’s irritating rule of not giving employees an extra day off whenever a public holiday falls on a weekend.

READ ALSO: What are Germany's state and national public holidays in 2023?

The German Left Party (die Linke) have made several bids over the past few years to change this rule, arguing that many other countries (the UK and US included) do offer compensatory extra days off when a public holiday falls on a weekend.

If you managed to book your Brückentag in time, you might be enjoying Monday off before the Tag der deutschen Einheit (German Unity Day) on Tuesday, October 3rd.

But if you missed the chance this time around, there are a more Brückentage coming your way in 2024, including two in May (the days between Labour Day on Wednesday, May 1st and Ascension Day on Thursday, May 9th).

READ ALSO: Brückentag, Fenstertag or Zwickeltag: All the German words for getting longer holiday weekends

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Examples:

Wie willst du deinen Brückentag nächste Woche verbringen?

How do you want to spend your bridge day next week?

Nimmst du sich die Brückentage um Ostern frei?

Are you taking the bridge days off at Easter?

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