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.
Love the German word Brückentag, which refers to the Monday bridging a weekend from a public holiday on Tuesday, or the Friday after a Thursday off
— nathan ma (@nthnashma) March 6, 2022
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, which this year is the case for a fair few public holidays (such as, ironically, International Workers’ Day on May 1st).
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’re working in Berlin and were lucky enough to book your Brückentag in time, you might be enjoying Monday off before the regional Women’s Day public holiday on March 8th.
If not, look forward to the bridge days around Easter time in April or May 27th, the Thursday after the nationwide holiday of Ascension Day.
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?