How Germany is celebrating the 33rd annual Unity Day

Author thumbnail
DPA/The Local - [email protected]
How Germany is celebrating the 33rd annual Unity Day
Hamburg's Mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) stands between a group of alphorn blowers during his tour of the German Unity Day festivities in the Harbour City on Monday. picture alliance/dpa | Christian Charisius

Hamburg is the official host of this year's celebrations to honour the historic day and German public holiday.


Tuesday marks the 33rd German Unity Day, commemorating when East and West Germany officially came together after the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9th, 1989.

This year, Hamburg is the official host of the celebrations, with a sprawling two-day Bürgerfest, or citizen’s festival, which started on Monday.

In Bavaria, Oktoberfest remains open until October 3rd partly to mark the occasion. In Berlin, festivities are readily found around the Brandenburg Gate, although an official celebration is not taking place in 2023. 

Various historical exhibits and events will be taking place around the city, according to the capital’s tourism board. Other parts of Germany are not necessarily offering Unity Day-themed events, but rather festivals and performances on the national public holiday and the rest of the week.


How is the Harbour City celebrating?

Hamburg kicked off its events on Monday afternoon. 

The Harbour City’s mayor Peter Tschentscher officially opened festival with an appeal for cohesion in a still-divided society. 


"We want to look to the future together. We must be and remain confident and not drift away through populism and polarisation," said the SPD politician and Bundesrat President on a floating stage on Jungfernstieg. 

READ ALSO: 33 years on: Are East and West Germany growing apart?

At the festival around its Rathaus (town hall) and the Binnenalster lake, the city wants to present itself as a diverse, sustainable and future-oriented metropolis through a colourful line-up of events.

Hamburg mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) Unity Day speech

Hamburg mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) speaks on a stage at the Binnenalster at the official opening of the Citizens' Festival on German Unity Day. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christian Charisius

Already in the morning, numerous visitors took advantage of the mild weather to take a selfie with the mayor in Mönckebergstraße, where the other 15 German states are presenting themselves. The Stiftung Berliner Mauer, who The Local interviewed on its last Germany in Focus podcast, also has a booth dedicated to the day’s history. 

All in all, hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to attend the two-day festival under the motto "Opening Horizons".

READ ALSO: PODCAST: How Germany remains divided 33 years after reunification

The highlight of the celebrations will be a concert in the Elbphilharmonie on Tuesday.

Beforehand, there will be an ecumenical service in the main church of St. Michaelis - the "Michel". Both events will be broadcast live on television by public broadcasters ARD and ZDF.

Night of Unity

The "Night of Unity" is planned for Monday evening. Cultural institutions, businesses and churches are planning to keep their doors open until midnight and offer readings, improvised theatre, poetry slams, talk shows, live music, installations and activities. 

In addition to a large floating stage at Jungfernstieg, the Stage of Cultures at the "Hamburg International" event area is also featuring an extensive music programme with tango dancing from Argentina, chansons from France and Beatles hits by singer Stefanie Hempel.

The celebration of German Unity Day is the final and high point of Hamburg's presidency of the Bundesrat. 


On Tuesday, Mayor Tschentscher will hand over the baton to Manuela Schwesig (SPD), the state premiere of the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.. 

She will take over the office of Bundesrat President starting on November 1st with the motto “Set sail united”. 



Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also