Fact check: Does it ever snow on Christmas in Germany?

Fact check: Does it ever snow on Christmas in Germany?

Everybody loves a white Christmas, but how often do they really come around in Germany? Although there is often snow during the winter season, which lasts from November to March, there are few occasions where it actually snows on the big day!

The snowy areas of Germany

Of course, since Germany is such a large country, different areas are prone to different winter weather, and those in the mountains in Bavaria are more likely to see a winter wonderland during the holidays than those in the inner-city areas of Berlin. While altitude plays a role, so does a region's distance from the sea. 

So, on the Heligoland islands in the North Sea, the probability of having snow on Christmas is around two percent; and children Berlin and Brandenburg have a much greater chance of being able to build a snowman on Boxing Day than those in Lower Saxony. The only place in the country where you're guaranteed to see snow on Christmas is the Zugspitze - Germany's highest peak - where there's been a white Christmas every year since records began in 1880!

There have been only six white Christmases in the last century

But elsewhere in the country, it's actually pretty rare to see a white Christmas - which is officially classified by the German Weather Service (DWD) as a year that sees a centimetre or more of snow on December 24, 25 and 26. Indeed, statistics from the DWD show that Germany has only had six "proper" white Christmases during the last century.

This is because Christmas falls at a relatively autumnal time of the year, with the meteorological winter only beginning on December 21 each year - whereas the coldest times of the year in Germany are usually from late January to early February. The DWD has found that, while the temperature often dips at the beginning of December, shortly before Christmas mild Atlantic air often flows from the west to Germany - ruining any chances of snow. 

Germany saw its last proper white Christmas in 2010, when a particularly cold winter brought a wonderful sprinkling of snow across most of the country over the festive period. Even the northern city of Hamburg was blessed with just under 20 centimetres of the white stuff! 

So, does it ever snow on Christmas in Germany?

Statistically speaking, rural areas in Germany are more likely to see snow at Christmas, whereas cities such as Berlin, Munich and Hamburg are less likely to have a white Christmas. 

Much of this has to do with the fact that cities tend to be warmer, since buildings and other structures generate heat which radiates through the air. Northwestern Germany is the region which sees the least snow overall each winter season. 

So, in short: does it ever snow on Christmas in Germany? Well, not very often. But we can always hope - anything is possible! To get an idea of the chances of snow in your region, check out this handy graphic on the Berliner Morgenpost website. 

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. After this, she obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in...

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