How many German holidays fall on a weekend in 2022?
With the summer holidays over and Christmas right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking ahead and get booking your holiday leave for the coming year. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and attendant travel restrictions, chances are you’ve got quite a few holiday days saved up. With a little bit of smart planning, and by making strategic use of regional and national holidays in Germany, you can make your days go a long way.
Holidays & Bridge days in Germany 2022
2021 was a bad year for “building bridges” - booking holidays on so-called “bridge days” (Brückentage) to make longer breaks out of public holidays that fall mid-week - with lots of holidays falling on the weekend.
Next year, the outlook is much the same, with three out of the five moving public holidays falling on the weekend. It kicks off straight away with New Year’s Day, which is on a Saturday in 2022.
Nonetheless, in theory (and depending on which federal state you live in), in 2022 it is possible to combine 26 of your holiday days with public holidays to build breaks totalling up to 60 days. Magic! Here’s how it works in practice.
Mega-bridge over Christmas and Epiphany
The first opportunity comes early in the year for those who live in states that celebrate the Catholic holiday of Epiphany (January 6). This year, it falls on a Thursday, and so employees in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Saxony-Anhalt have the opportunity to build a mega bridge, from December 24, 2021, all the way to January 9, 2022.
By taking 10 vacation days, you can have 17 days off in a row for an ultra-relaxing Christmas period. Even better if, like civil servants in Germany, your employer classifies December 24 and 31 as non-working days; then you’d only have to take eight days of holiday.
After that begins a long dry spell for almost everyone working in Germany, as the next public holiday does not come around until Easter - with one exception for people in Berlin, who get to celebrate International Women’s Day on Tuesday, March 8. With just one holiday day on March 7, Berliners can enjoy a four-day weekend.
Easter, as ever, is good for holidays
For the rest, it’s a 14-week-long period without a holiday, until Good Friday arrives on April 15. As ever, Easter promises a four-day weekend for everybody, with both Good Friday and Easter Monday classed as non-working days in Germany. If you take another four days holiday on either side of Easter, you can build a nice 10-day holiday.
If you live in Brandenburg, it’s worth noting that it is the only state to officially class Easter Sunday as a holiday, so if for any reason you end up working on April 17, you are entitled to an alternative day of rest. This also applies to Whitsunday (June 5), which is only given special holiday protection in Brandenburg.
May disappointing for bridge-builders
May is usually a good month for bridge-building, but 2022 is a little on the disappointing side, with Labour Day (May 1) falling on a Sunday. On the bright side, Ascension Day (May 26) is always on a Thursday, and so just a single vacation day on May 27 gets you a cool four-day weekend.
Another popular option is to bridge right through from Ascension Day to Whit Monday (June 6). By taking May 27, 30, 31 and June 1, 2 and 3 as holiday days, you can enjoy a 12-day break. The weather tends to be nice at the beginning of June, as well.
Next in June comes Corpus Christi, a regional holiday celebrated only in parts of western Germany (Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland) and in Catholic communities in Saxony and Thuringia. Since it always falls on a Thursday (June 16 in 2022), it’s a good opportunity for a four-day break.
Summer brings on another dry spell
As we head into July, August and September, there aren’t many bridge days to make use of, unless you’re lucky enough to live in one of the three states with regional holidays. Assumption of Mary, for example, is only celebrated in Catholic areas of Bavaria and Saarland.
In Thuringia, you have World Children’s Day on September 20 - a Tuesday - and residents of Augsburg in Bavaria have the Peace Festival on August 8 - a Monday. All three offer a good chance to build a four-day holiday.
Things looking up in autumn and winter
October, on the other hand, looks a little better, since both of its public holidays - German Unity Day on October 3 (a national holiday) and Reformation Day on October 31 (a regional holiday) - fall on a Monday in 2022. This will especially please those in federal states where Reformation Day has only been a holiday since 2018.
Another opportunity for a four-day weekend also crops up on November 1; All Saints’ Day - a regional holiday in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland.
Saxony also has the Day of Repentance and Prayer in November, which always falls on a Wednesday and so sets up a great “bridge pillar” in the middle of the week. In 2022 the holiday is on November 16.
Christmas will be a so-so bridge-building opportunity in 2022. Christmas Day (December 25) itself falls on a Sunday, and so only December 26 will be a day off work. New Year’s Day 2023 is also on a Sunday.
2022: Not the best for holidays, but not the worst
Overall, 2022 isn’t a bad year for holidays. Not as good as 2014 - when all five moving holiday days were on weekdays, but also not as bad as 2021.
Some of you may be asking: why doesn’t Germany forget this nonsense about moving holidays and give an extra day off for those that fall on the weekend? This is already standard practice in countries like the UK, Ireland and Spain. Well, the idea has been proposed in Germany, but it never gained much traction.