German word of the day: Sternfahrt

Freya Jones
Freya Jones - [email protected]
German word of the day: Sternfahrt
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

With lorries and tractors gathered across Germany, this word has been shining out of the headlines.


What does it mean?

The literal translation of die Sternfahrt is “star ride”, but it means rally. More specifically, it refers to a rally of vehicles, driven from different places to gather at a certain point. Anyone keeping up with the news will certainly have seen this in the last few weeks: following on from the recent farmers’ protests in Berlin, lorry drivers from all across the country have also driven their lorries (“Lastkraftwägen” or LkW) to gather in the capital.

Historically, the word “Sternfahrt” has existed in German for many years, but saw an increase in popularity in the 20th century. As well as being used in relation to political demonstrations and protests, it was further popularised by the annual Berlin bicycle rally (Fahrradsternfahrt), which started in 1977. 

READ ALSO: Explained: What sparked the protest culture of modern Germany?

It’s estimated that Berlin's Fahrradsternfahrt in 2021 drew over 40,000 cyclists from around Germany, who travel along a number of designated routes, known as “die Strahlen des Sterns” or “the rays of the star”. 

Meanwhile, Germany’s biggest motorsport rally (Motorradsternfahrt) has taken place in Kulmbach, Bavaria annually since 2001 and regularly attracts thousands of participants.

While a “Sternfahrt” involves vehicles, the related term “Sternmarsch” refers to a foot march on the same principle. Meanwhile, a “Sternflug” is a coming together of airplanes.

To remember this, think of a guiding star, drawing people towards a specific destination.


How can I use this word?

Wegen einer LKW-Sternfahrt werden Verkehrsbehinderungen erwartet.

Due to a truck rally, traffic delays are expected.

Die nächste Sternfahrt findet im April statt. The next rally takes place in April.

Die Fahrradsternfahrt macht viel Spaß! “The cycle rally is a lot of fun!”


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