From Kiel to Cologne: Christmas markets open across Germany

From Kiel to Cologne: Christmas markets open across Germany

The first Monday after Sunday of the Dead (Totensonntag) is the date that Christmas markets in Germany traditionally start doling out mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and handmade trinkets. But this year is very much a tale of two halves: while some famous markets have been called off last-minute, others are ploughing ahead. 

Christmas markets in Germany: A tale of two halves

Last week, Munich became the first major Christmas market to be cancelled in 2021 due to the tense coronavirus situation. Other big names soon followed - Nuremberg, Dresden, Leipzig - as several federal states at last admitted defeat and announced that the markets could not go ahead this year, given the spiralling infection rate. 

But in other German cities, including Essen, Duisburg, Dortmund, Düsseldorf and Freiburg, markets have already opened their gates for the first time in two years, and more will join them on Monday as the season really kicks off. 

In Berlin, some of the capital’s most famous markets will open on November 22, including the Weihnachtsmärkte at the Gedächtniskirche, by Roten Rathaus, and on the Gendarmenmarkt. Markets are also popping up in Frankfurt am Main, Kiel, Lübeck, Karlsruhe and Cologne

One feature is markedly different this year, however: most markets are operating under strict entry conditions, whether 2G (vaccinated and recovered people only) or 3G (vaccinated, recovered or tested people). 

Big German cities make use of 2G and 3G rules

In Hamburg, the historic Roncalli market will return to the town hall square for the first time in two years. It is joined by markets on the Gänsemarkt, in Eppendorf and the HafenCity, as well as the LGBTQI+ market “Winter Pride” in St Georg. All markets are open to all, but areas serving food and drink will be marked off and subject to the 2G rule. 

In Bremen and Hannover, there will be fewer stands than normal, but access to the markets should be unrestricted. 3G rules will be in operation at the stands in Bremen, while Hannover has opted for 2G. 

In Berlin, visitors will meet a mixture of 2G and 3G rules, depending on which markets they are visiting, so it’s a good idea to check with the individual operator before making travel plans. In Mainz, the 2G rule is in operation, as it is in Cologne, Dortmund, Karlsruhe and Lübeck.

In Kiel, 2G rules are in operation in all indoor areas, large tents and at the stands. Frankfurt will also make use of 2G rules in certain areas. 



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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