Start of the Christmas market season: Early, earlier, Duisburg

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Christmas Market
According to the organizers, the “Winter Magic” in Berlin-Lichtenberg is the first Christmas market in Germany to open this year. © Christoph Soeder/dpa

Gingerbread in the supermarket for weeks now, now also cups of mulled wine in the central squares of large cities: The republic – against all odds – is getting into the Christmas spirit in 2022 as well.

Duisburg – Some people rub their eyes in disbelief: 44 days before Christmas Eve, the city of Duisburg is opening its big Christmas market in the city center on Thursday (10 November). For a Christmas market as spacious as that of the city on the Rhine and Ruhr, this is earlier than ever before – one day before Saint Martin or the start of the carnival season (November 11th), 17 days before the first Advent (November 27th) and just one month and two weeks before Christmas Eve.

Of course, smaller markets such as the “City-X-Mas” on Frankfurt’s Opernplatz, the Winterwelt on Potsdamer Platz in Berlin or the Bayreuth Winterdorf even opened in October. A market has been running in the Essen district of Steele since November 3rd, in Hamburg the Wandsbeker Winter Magic since November 4th, as well as the market in Berlin-Lichtenberg.

After the failures of the Corona crisis, the Christmas markets are facing the energy crisis this year. Many have announced more efficient or less lighting, and sometimes shorter opening hours. Overall, there is a trend to no longer close the markets before Christmas Eve, but to keep them open between the years or even into January.

Early bird

In the Ruhr area people like to be particularly early. Duisburg will be followed on November 11 by the Centro leisure and shopping center in Oberhausen with “Mountain Christmas Market”, “Santa’s Village” and “Wichtelmarkt”, and on November 12 by the city of Essen in the city center with its 50th International Christmas Market. Other cities in North Rhine-Westphalia, such as Bochum, Dortmund and Düsseldorf, will kick off the stall magic on November 17th, while Bonn will begin on November 18th.

Traditionally, Christmas markets in German-speaking countries usually only open after Totensonntag, which falls on November 20th in 2022.

For example, the popular markets in Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Heidelberg, Lübeck, Bremen, Mannheim, Münster and the Munich Christkindlmarkt open on November 21st. The Christmas market at Cologne Cathedral will not officially open until the 21st.

The Erfurt Christmas Market and the Historical Market in front of the Hamburg City Hall start on November 22nd. The Christmas markets in Stuttgart and Dresden start on November 23rd, in Mainz on November 24th and in Rothenburg ob der Tauber as well as the world-famous Nuremberg Christmas market on November 25th.

Frivolous on the Reeperbahn

“Hamburg’s coolest Christmas market” called Santa Pauli on the Reeperbahn will start with its frivolous huts on November 14th.

The churches, whose support among the population has been dwindling for years, are opposed to the extension of the Advent season and the Christmas market hustle and bustle in the so-called mourning month of November. But that hardly affects many municipalities anymore.

“In fact, we’ve never started as early as this year,” says Alexander Klomparend, Head of Communications at Duisburg Kontor GmbH. In view of the energy crisis after the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, people are happy that they have been using LED lights for some time. In addition, some measures have been taken.

“We do without the ice rink as an energy guzzler and we adjust the switching times of the lighting according to dusk – in other words: don’t just switch on the lights at 2 p.m.,” says Klomparend. “At 10 p.m. it is then switched off consistently.”

Duisburg sees all this as a good compromise with a sense of proportion between doing without and celebrating. “Light is hugely important and the Christmas markets create a fundamental sense of community. We want to make the city shine against all odds. People should feel just as comfortable as they used to.”

The showmen, who were shaken by Corona, are hoping for a good and finally more normal season in 2022. The German Showmen’s Association had warned against canceling the markets: “In particular, the retail trade in the city centers, which has been damaged by monoculture, lockdowns and online competition, bring billions in sales during the most important weeks of the year – and thus tax revenue.” dpa

The Vienna Christmas market starts on November 19th, the Salzburg Christmas market two days before.

In Zurich, the “Wienachtsdorf” in front of the opera house on the Sechseläutenplatz and the Dörfli Christmas market in Niederdorf begin on November 24th, exactly one month before Christmas Eve.

In the Alsace metropolis of Strasbourg, which calls itself the “Capital of Christmas”, it all starts on November 25th.

In Prague, the large Christmas market opens against the imposing backdrop of the Old Town Square (Staroměstské Náměstí) on November 26th.

Christmas markets in the neighboring countries of Austria, Switzerland, France and the Czech Republic:

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