How you can double your holiday leave in 2023 with some clever planning

How you can double your holiday leave in 2023 with some clever planning

After 2021 and 2022 left us with only slim pickings when it came to maximising holiday leave, 2023 is looking a lot more promising, with plenty of regional and national German holidays falling on weekdays. With a bit of clever planning, next year it will be possible to effectively double your holiday entitlement. Here’s how it’s done. 

2023 is a holiday bridge-building dream

2021 and 2022 didn’t give us much opportunity to “build bridges” - book holiday days on so-called “bridge days” (Brückentage) that come between midweek holidays and the weekends, to create longer breaks - since so many public holidays fell on the weekend, and in Germany you don’t get a “catch-up” day to make up for the lost holiday day.

In 2023, however, things look a bit brighter for people working in Germany, because only two public holidays - New Year’s Day and, of course, Easter Sunday - fall on the weekend. At least four public holidays fall on a Thursday or a Tuesday, making for ample bridge-building opportunities. By using just 25 holiday days you can enjoy up to 61 days off work - not a bad deal, right? Let’s take a look. 

New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday in 2023

First things first, the year does get off to a bad start, because January 1 - New Year’s Day - falls on a Sunday this year. Only in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Saxony-Anhalt is there a reason to celebrate in January, because Epiphany (January 6) is a public holiday in these federal states, and this year it falls on a Friday. Either take a nice long weekend, or book the rest of the week off (January 2-5) and enjoy a cool nine-day break for a relaxing start to the year. 

For the first time in 2023, March 8 will not only be a public holiday in Berlin, but also in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which voted in 2021 to make the day a state holiday. This year, International Women’s Day falls on a Wednesday, making it suitable for building bridges either way. 

April and May bring lots of opportunities for maximising leave

Easter is also a great bridge-building holiday, with both April 7 and 10 designated as public holidays across Germany. If you take April 3 to 6 off, you get 10 days of holiday, or, if you book off the whole block from April 3 to 14, you get a glorious 16-day break with just eight days of holiday leave. 

Heading into the warmer half of the year, you’ll be pleased to hear that there are plenty of opportunities for maximising your vacation days in May, because Labour Day (Monday, May 1), Ascension Day (Thursday, May 18) and Whit Monday (Monday, May 29) all fall on weekdays in 2023. Wily planners who book off from May 18 right through to May 29 get a whole 12 days off with just six days of holiday. 

There’s another long weekend in June for people living in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. Corpus Christi, which is always celebrated on a Thursday, falls on June 8 in 2023. And in Saarland and parts of Bavaria, another holiday comes on Tuesday, August 15, giving lots of opportunities to build long weekends. 

Plenty of German holidays in September, October and November

September brings only one public holiday, celebrated in just one state: World Children’s Day is marked on September 20 in Thuringia, and everyone gets a day off work. Since it falls on a Wednesday, booking days off either side presents a great opportunity to build some longer holidays. 

The next nationwide holiday comes on October 3 with German Unity Day. In 2023 it is a Tuesday, so booking off the Monday beforehand seems like an obvious move. October 31 - Reformation Day - also falls on a Tuesday in 2023, but is only a public holiday in Brandenburg, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. The following day, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North-Rhine Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland mark All Saints’ Day with a day off. For either holiday, you can take nine days out of work by booking off just four days. 

The Day of Prayer and Repentance, marked only in Saxony on Wednesday, November 22, is another good opportunity to build bridges. 

Christmas Day and Boxing Day come on Monday and Tuesday in 2023

And finally, at the end of the year, the Christmas period brings good cheer for bridge builders. Christmas Day will fall on a Monday in 2023, and Boxing Day (also a public holiday) is on a Tuesday. New Year’s Day 2024 is also on a Monday. Booking off December 27-29 gives you a festive 10 days off work with just three holiday days. 

2023 is a great year for building holiday bridges, and after the last two years, we definitely deserve it. Get your calendars out and get planning - happy bridge building! 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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