Best Christmas Markets in Germany

 

If you are a huge fan of Christmas season, I am glad to tell you that next Thursday (11/21/2019) is the opening of the Christmas Markets in Germany. A magical time of the year where each city, full of Christmas lights and decoration, emits a delightful scent of Glühwein (typical mulled wine) and traditional food.

To be honest, I also think that this is a beautiful time of the year. Most of the people here in Germany enjoy this time to spend some quality time with family and friends, to open their advents calendars, to offer little surprises and to be more compassionate. Families come together and spend time buying Christmas decoration and having some hot drinks in the markets.

This markets tradition is celebrated all around the country. However, each city has different markets and each market has its own decoration and stands.

Do you want to know which are the top 5 Christmas markets in Germany?

Let’s check them together!

 

Dresden

The capital city of Saxony is our first stop.

The Striezelmarkt is considered the first Christmas market not only in Dresden, but in whole Germany.

It dates from 1434, when Friedrich II, Elector of Saxony, allowed traders to have a public holiday the Monday before Christmas. This celebration took place at Altmarkt square, where the Striezelmarkt is located today.

Its 240 stands attract around 2 million visitors every year. 80% of the stands belong to traders who come from the Saxony region.

One of the most relevant moments, during the time the market is open, takes place the Saturday before the second Sunday of Advent. That day a 4 ton Dresdner Christsollen – a raisin stollen – will be baked and carried from Zwinger Schloss to Striezelmarkt. The Dresdner Christollen is a piece of cultural history produced in only 120 bakeries and pastry stores around Dresden.

This festivity is known as “Stollenfest” and the organizer is the Schutzverband Desdner Stolle e.V. association.

The blaze of lights, the smell of Glühwein and Christmas music spreading through the market make this place a to-put-on-your-list one.

 

Opening time 2019

From the 27th  of November to the 24th of December

 

Monschau

This medieval city situated on the border with Belgium deserves a visit at this time of the year.

If you have already been here during summer time, you might already know that this stunning city is located between mountains – which gives it with a magical feeling. This feeling becomes stronger during Advent and Christmas time.

Here not only the market is decorated with lights and advent wreaths, also other business such as bakeries, restaurants and fashion stores are decorated according to the decoration of the Christmas market.

In the market, among all the stands, we can find Glühwein as well as traditional food such as Flammkuchen and melted cheese.

The most beautiful moment comes when the city’s choirs sing Christmas songs and go all over the market.

However, if you’d rather buy Christmas decoration during summer or spring, do not worry! There is a 3 floors store in Monschau where only Christmas objects are sold. And you know what? It is open from March to December! 😉

 

Opening time 2019

From the 22nd of November to the 22nd of December

 

Cologne

I am sure you have already heard some opinions about the Christmas market in front Cologne’s cathedral. Or maybe, you have already heard about the one in front of the Chocolate Museum.

Well, those markets are good. But what about discovering some less-touristic ones?

In this post I want to talk you about the one in Rudolfplatz, beside the famous Hahnentorburg from s.XIII.

This market is called “Santa Claus Village” and its decoration is stunning. Most of the stands are “two floor houses”, whose roofs are decorated with reindeers, candies, presents… It is a familiar market where you really feel in Santa’s village.

Another nice thing about this market is that some bands play live Christmas music every evening.

 

Opening time 2019

From the 25th of November to the 23rd of December

 

If you are willing to discover more cute places, I highly recommend you the Heumarkt market.

This market is one of the oldest in the city and the stands are organized by trades (food, leather, toys…), as tradition dictates.

Also an ice skate rink can be found in this market. In fact, this rink is the largest in Germany with a 1,800 square meters surface. This rink will open until the 5 th of January 2020.

 

Opening time 2019

From the 25th of November to the 23rd of December

 

Münster

In my opinion this could be the largest Christmas market in Germany because the whole city is a market.

How is this possible?

Easy. Münster is the home of 5 Christmas markets which are connected among them in a way that you can walk from one to another without even realizing. Well, that’s not 100% true… Each market has its own decoration and thematic, so at a certain point you realize 😉

A market that I really like is Aegidii market. This market has an impressive nativity scene, a 6 metres high wooden pyramid and a fairy tale area.

This year traders will even offer warm beer and cocktails. Are you ready to try them?

 

Opening time 2019

From the 25th of November to the 23rd of December

 

Nuremberg

I must recognize that I have never been to this market, however, the information I am about to tell you is really reliable 😊

The most stunning market in Nuremberg is called Christkindlesmarkt. Every year one child acts as a Christkind and appears on the balcony of the Church of Our Lady to open the holiday season and sing a traditional Christmas song.

This festivity takes place on Friday before the first Sunday in Advent.

Once this market is open the whole city scent mulled wine, rum punch and roasted almonds. If you visit this market, do not forget to try its famous Nuremberg bratwurst and gingerbread.

 

Opening time 2019

From the 29th of November to the 23rd of December

 

Your turn

Have you ever been to a german Christmas market? How was the experience? Do you know any of the above mentioned ones?

In case you want to share your experience feel free to leave a comment below or to contact me via social network. I am alway thrilled to read your adventures!

 

 

 

*Please, note that I am not an English native speaker. Therefore, you may find some spelling mistakes in this post. Feel free to let me know it and help me improve my English level.

Upcoming events – Summer in Düsseldorf

Looking for something to do in Düsseldorf this summer? Whether you’re a local, new in town or just cruising through I have loads of great ideas for you.

Ready to find the upcoming summer events in Düsseldorf?

June

European Fencing Championships

Did you know that fencing was one of the first sports to be played in the Olympic games? In fact, competitive fencing is one of the five activities which have been featured in EVERY modern Olympics.

This month of June Düsseldorf will be the house of all fencing athletes competing for their qualification for the Olympics Games 2020.

To experience fencing on the highest level with all possible emotions just come to Düsseldorf 😉

When: From the 17th to the 22nd of June 2019

Where: Messe Düsseldorf

More information: https://www.madeofsteel2019.de/en/

T3 Triathlon

Once again the awaited T3 Triathlon is coming to Düsseldorf. Around 2,000 participants register each year for this important event, where both professional and non-professional athletes swim, run and cycle around the city. As usual, “Mediahafen” is the starting point of this intense competition.

During two days, the meadow in front of the NRW state parliament will be the meeting point. Around 40,000 people come every year to enjoy the triathlon, support all the athletes and spend some time surrounded by friends and family.

When: The 23rd of June 2019

Where: The meadow in front of the NRW state parliament (registration point).

More information: https://www.t3-duesseldorf.de/

Nacht die Metropole Ruhr

50 venues, 24 cities, 300,000 visitors, one night: Die Nacht die Metropole Ruhr.

Since 2001 the Night of the Industrial Culture or “Nacht die Metropole Ruhr” became a unique cultural event where the industrial part of NRW (Ruhrgebiet) opens its doors, so that visitors can discover its impressive industrial heritage. Therefore, around 500 events, from classical music to stand up comedies and fireworks, take part among the different cities of this area.

Dortmund, Duisburg, Dorsten and Essen, among other cities, welcome around 300,000 visitors who easily switch between locations and cities thanks to a free shuttle bus.

If you are interested in discovering more about the industrial heritage of the NRW, do not miss the chance to take part in this event. For only 17€ you have access to all venues and the already mentioned shuttle bus.

When: The 29th of June 2019

Where: Find here all the cities taking part in this annual event – https://bit.ly/2Kija3Q

More information: https://www.extraschicht.de/home/

July

Düsseldorf Frankreichfest

The event of the year is coming to Düsseldorf.

As every year since 1989, the Frankreichfest is a great opportunity to keep cultivating Franco-German relations.

During three days, visitors can experience delicious French wine, local specialties from places such as Alsace and Bretagne and live french music.

In the year of the 30th anniversary LEJ, one of the most successful music band in France today, will be playing in the courtyard of the town hall. At the same time, another anniversary will be celebrated this year during the Frankreichfest: Citroen celebrates its 100th anniversary!. Ready to enjoy one of the biggest gatherings of Citroen cars in Germany?

When: From the 5th to the 7th of July 2019

Where: Rheinpromenade and Düsseldorf town hall

More information: https://www.duesseldorfer-frankreich-fest.de/

23. Open MIC Comedy-Show Punchline

The 23rd open mic comedy show is a nice opportunity to discover new comedians and to experience a crazy show guaranteed to make you laugh.

When: The 9th of July 2019

Where: Biergarten VierLinden, Düsseldorf

More information: https://bit.ly/2wS1t2a

Lichterfest

The festival of lights or “Lichterfest” is the most popular open-air event in Benrath. Here you will find classical music of the highest standard, breathtaking water features and colourful fireworks.

Every year around 11,000 people experience this unique event. Ready for a unique experience?

When: The 13th of July 2019

Where: Palace of Benrath, Düsseldorf

More information: http://schloss-benrath-lichterfest.de/

Open Source Festival

THE music festival of the summer season in Düsseldorf for the last 15 years.

If you like to discover new artists and new music styles do not miss the chance to experience this unique festival.

When: The 13th of July 2019

Where: Galopprennbahn Düsseldorf

More information: https://www.open-source-festival.de/

Kirmes am Rhein

The Rheinkirmes is the largest temporary amusement park in NRW with around 4,000,000 visitors per year. This event lasts 10 days and it takes place every year between the second and third week of the month of July.

The 19th of July do not forget to enjoy the impressive fireworks performance 😉

When: From the 12th to the 21st of July 2019

Where: Oberkassel, Düsseldorf

More information: http://rheinkirmes.com/

August

Open Air Kino

Are you a cinephile? In this case I suggest you to experience the largest open air movie theater in Germany.

Open Air Kino is the best chance to watch the latest movies during warm summer nights. This yearly event takes place in different spots of Düsseldorf during one month.

Ready to eat pop corns under the stars?

When: From the 25th of July until the 25th of August 2019

Where: Düsseldorf (different spots)

More information: https://alltours-kino.de/

Gourmet Festival

Do you enjoy trying different kinds of food? Are you a foodie? Are you willing to discover new tastes? Then the annual Gourmet Festival is the right place for you!

Here you will find high quality restaurateurs, special producers and wine from all around the world.

When: From the 23rd to the 25th of August 2019

Where: Königsalle, Düsseldorf

More information: https://gourmetfestival-duesseldorf.de/

 

Your turn

Do you know any other interesting summer event in Düsseldorf? Are you planning to attend to any of the above mentioned events?

Since I love to try new things and to discover new places, I would be really happy if you leave a comment below to share any other summer event that you love and you want to recommend to all of us! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Please, note that I am not an English native speaker. Therefore, you may find some spelling mistakes in this post. Feel free to let me know it and help me improve my English level.

The 5 best cafés in Düsseldorf

Cakes, among other sweet treats, are a hugely important part of German culture. Germans would rather get together for cake and coffee on a weekend afternoon, than at home for cocktails and ham, like in France, or for dinner, like in other countries. Across the country you can find many coffee places which bake their own delicious, homemade cakes every day.

But an afternoon coffee and cake break isn´t just for the weekend. Germans love to enjoy a nice piece of cake accompanied with a cup of coffee also during the week.

Also, when it comes to birthday celebrations tradition dictates that the birthday person has to bake or buy a cake to share with other people. Each year on my birthday I buy some homemade cakes – sorry, I do not know how to cook- for my friends and for my colleagues. In fact, every time it is someone´s birthday at the office, the main table is full of cake and cookies.

Of course, our modern times mean that people living in germany have less time for recreational breaks – people should work- but with such strong traditions like socializing around a piece of cake, also known as Kaffee und Kuchen or Kaffeezeit, german bakers need to have a sizable repertoire of cakes.

Since german baking is something traditional, you might think that traditional cafés are the only places where you can enjoy a Kaffe und Kuchen. Not at all! German bakery is all around!

Now, let me share with you the 5 best cafés in Düsseldorf to taste delicious cakes and good coffee.

Sulis Cafe

If you follow the blog since some time ago, Sulis Cafe shouldn´t sound new to you. This cozy cafeteria was mentioned in my old post about the best places to have brunch in Düsseldorf , however, this place is more than a mere place to brunch. Sulis´ cakes are known due to their high quality ingredients and their delicious taste

Sulis – the owner of the cafeteria – prepares a vast repertoire of cakes based on traditional recipes every day, so that their customers can feel like at home when they visit his café.

One thing I like a lot about this place is that in winter it is a cozy café where you can enjoy one of the offered tea specialities while eating a cake and in summer you can enjoy the sun sitting outdoor, in the spacious terrace.

Take a look at the website to find out more: Sulis Cafe (if you have a diary allergy or intolerance don´t worry Sulis is well prepared 😉 you can find soy milk here).

Nikan Café

Do you like croissants? What about fresh milled coffee? And pralinés and cakes?

Yes, Nikan Café offers a wide variety of patisserie and bakery, from german cakes to unique french pralinés, all of them accompanied with fresh milled coffee brought from exotic places such as Ecuador, Colombia or Kenya. In fact, if you are a coffee lover I highly recommend you to buy here your next package of coffee.

Does it sound interesting? Check Nikan´s website to learn more: Nikan Café (oat and soy milk are available in this café).

Cafe Hüftgold

This little coffee place has a very comfy atmosphere, making it easy to conduct any kind of conversations for hours on end. Its homemade cakes are pieces of heaven brought to earth. The staff is always nice and coffee and teas are made with love.

This cafeteria is the perfect place to enjoy a unique Kaffee und Kuchen moment in winter and in summer also – they have a spacious terrace decorated with wooden tables.

You can find more information in the website: Cafe Hüftgold  (I´m sure that they have soy milk, and they might also have oat milk).

Espresso Perfetto

Located in  Friedrichstadt, this rosa, cute place serves one of the best coffees in town. In fact, they are also known for offering barista trainings for those interested in learning how to prepare nice coffee.

Among its bakery you can find delicious cakes such as the hazelnut or the apple-almond one. Furthermore, if you enter this cozy coffee place during lunch time, you can always try one of their tasty ciabattas.

Find more information about this place in its website: Espresso Perfetto Düsseldorf.

Cafe Knülle

And last but not least, a small bar/café that I discovered some weeks ago: Cafe Knülle.

Gilbert Knülle opened this establishment in 1988 and since then the charm of this place remains intact. Legendary is not only its breakfast offer – try the delicious croissants – but also its coffee specialities, made with an ancient espresso machine, its varieties of tea and its homemade cakes.

Of course you can always combine a cake with a glass of French or Italian wine, or even with a cold alt beer 😉

Cafe Knülle does not have a website, therefore, if you are curious enough to visit it you can find it in Oberbilker Allee 24. (This place is also ready to serve you a good coffee with soy milk 🙂 ).

A present for vegans…

Carrot Cake

If you are a vegan living or visiting Düsseldorf, this place should be in your bucket list. This lovely, cozy cafeteria is the ideal place to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while eating one of its incredible homemade vegan cakes, such as the chocolate one, the nougat cake or the berry one. Some of them are even gluten-free!

The place is closed on Monday and Tuesday, however, they offer delicious vegan brunches during weekends.

Check the website for more information: Carrot Cake

 

Your turn

What about you? Did you already know these coffee places? Do you have any favourite café in Düsseldorf?

The above mentioned coffee places where chosen based on my personal opinion. Since I love to try new things and to discover new places, I would be really happy if you leave a comment below sharing any other café that you love and you want to recommend us! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

*Please, note that I am not an English native speaker. Therefore, you may find some spelling mistakes in this post. Feel free to let me know it and help me improve my English level.

New brunch places in Düsseldorf

One of the things I love the most about Düsseldorf is the possibility to enjoy a delicious brunch during the weekend. Almost every restaurant or coffeehouse in the city is ready to offer different kind of brunches to their clients.

If you already follow me on Twitter this post won´t be a surprise for you, since you probably already know that I am a brunch lover and that one of my favorite hobbies is to discover different brunch places around the city.

Some time ago I wrote a post talking about some of the nicest places to have brunch in Düsseldorf

Today I want to show you new coffeehouses and restaurants that I have discovered since then (and which I would love to recommend you).

Ready for a culinary visit through Düsseldorf? Let´s go!

Stadtmitte

Rosie´s

If you like international meals, Rosie´s is your place to be!

In the menu you can find a worldwide variety: American brunch, Monaco breakfast, Spanish brunch… All of them are well prepared, with high quality ingredients, and quite fast served.

Food is not the only positive thing about this restaurant. The crew is always really nice and attentive, in fact, if you want to modify your dish (let´s say you are a Nutella lover and you would rather eat more Nutella than strawberry jam) you won´t have any problem. They are quite open to adapt the ingredients for you.

Food alert: They have gluten free bread, different kinds of milk and vegan dishes.

Address:

Adersstraße 21, 40215 Düsseldorf

Alex

Do you want to go for brunch but you are not sure what to eat? Then come to Alex Düsseldorf.

Every Sunday they offer a buffet with a huge variety of food, such as salmon, german style fries, soups, cold meat and different kind of desserts. They also offer nice coffee and fresh orange juice.

Food alert: They have soja milk

Address:

Kasernenstraße 48, 40213 Düsseldorf

Pempelfort

Sulis

A nice, cozy place where to enjoy tasty classic brunch recipes and delicious cakes.

Sulis is a cozy coffeehouse where you can easily feel at home. They even have a special computer friendly area in case people need to use their laptop while enjoying a nice meal.

Hint: Make a reservation if you plan to go on Sunday, it is always crowded.

Address:

Tußmannstraße 5, 40477 Düsseldorf

Carrot Cake

This is the perfect place to enjoy a vegan meal even if you are not vegan.

During the weekends Carrot Cake offers a nice breakfast, which includes fruits, yogurt and jam. Coffees and teas are prepared with love, as well as their amazing, tasty cakes. If I should choose one, I would go for the brownie… But to be honest, it is really hard to decide, all of them are tasty!

I highly recommend this place! Some friends of mine, which are not vegan, and which had a misconception about vegan meals, went to Carrot Cake and they were highly surprised!

Address:

Moltkerstraße 75, 40479 Düsseldorf

Derendorf

Mangold

American Pancakes, Avocado Brunch, Eggs Benedict, Canadian Breakfast… I mean… Here you can find whatever you want to eat! Just imagine something and order it 😉

It can be really crowded during the weekends, so do not hesitate to make a reservation to avoid problems finding a free table.

Food alert: They do not offer alternatives to regular milk but they are really friendly if you have any allergy or intolerance and you need to order some additional ingredients.

Address:

Glockenstraße 20, 40476 Düsseldorf

Kwadrat

Right now, Kwadrat is the place to be if you want to have a cool brunch.

In the menu you can find traditional breakfasts (croissants with nutella and butter), different kind of scramble eggs and some extras such as yogurt, muesli and toasts.

Food alert: Depending on your food allergies or intolerances I wouldn´t recommend you this place since they don´t offer many alternatives

Address:

Blücherstraße 51, 40477 Düsseldorf

Spoerl Fabrik

During the weekend, at brunch time, you can choose between their variety of breakfasts or the lunch menu. They are quite classical in terms of weekend-breakfast, however, the place is really nice both in winter and summer time (they have a huge terrace).

Many people love this place and I wanted to recommend it to you, although I did not have a good experience (here comes a “Food alert”).

Due to my food intolerances I asked for alternatives (gluten free bread and soja milk), which they didn´t have. Usually it is not a problem for me. What I usually do is to order something and to change some ingredients (more fries instead of eggs for example).

In this case, the waitress told me that they couldn´t not adapt the dishes for me and that I had to order what I saw in the menu.

The moral of this story is: If you have food allergies or intolerances…. Maybe this is not a place for you… 😦

Address:

Tußmannstraße 70, 40477 Düsseldorf

#YourSundayBrunch

I hope you like these recommendations and that you have time to try some of these places. In that case, feel free to share your brunch with me via Twitter or IG.

If you feel like recommending any other place to have brunch in Düsseldorf leave a comment below 😉

6 Things to do in summer in Düsseldorf

Good weather has finally come to stay!  (At least it seems so).

Since one week we are enjoying high temperatures as well as a splendid shiny sun that stands up in the sky and which makes all of us feel happier and excited than usual.

As you might know, Düsseldorf is a living city plenty of interesting events and exhibitions, therefore you can imagine how cool can be to enjoy all those events in good weather together with your friends and family.

This year, furthermore, Düsseldorf hosts one of the biggest sporting event of the world and the whole city is ready to celebrate this special occasion.

Before keep talking about this international huge event, I would like to talk you about other annual summer activities and events which usually take place in the lovely city of Düsseldorf.

So, if you are thinking of having a break or if you are already planning your next trip I highly recommend you to keep reading this post and find out all the possibilities that Düsseldorf can offer you in the upcoming months. Are you ready?

2017 Düsseldorf ETU Sprint Triathlon European Championships

Each month of June takes place the awaited T3 Triathlon in Düsseldorf . Around 2000 participants register each year at this important event where professional, and not so professional, athletes swim, run and pedal all around the city.

However, this year not only the annual T3 Triathlon will be taking place in the city, but also the Triathlon European Championships. More than 2000 are called to participate in this international event which will take place at Mediahafen.

When

24th of June: Triathlon European Championships

25th of June: Annual T3 Triathlon Championship

Where

In Düsseldorf, in particular at the Mediahafen, where the start and finish lines are located.

What are you going to find

Different kind of stands, good music, interesting people and tasty food.

More information

http://www.triathlon-duesseldorf2017.de/

Mittelaltermarkt

The same day as the Triathlon, but some kilometers away from Düsseldorf, the annual medieval market will take place. This occasion will allow you to find beautiful craft products and also to learn about the daily life in the Middle Ages.

When

From 24th to 25th of June

Where

Burg Castle, a beautiful monument located in Solingen.

What are you going to find

If you are curious about the Middle Ages lifestyle, here you can discover and learn more about those times and, at the same time, you can buy some craft products and try tasty food.

More information 

http://www.schlossburg.de/termine-news/terminkalender/

 

Düsseldorf is a an amazing city full of activities all year around.

Light festival and picnic at Benrath Schloss

The Schloss Benrath light festival is known to be home to one of the most astonishing classical music concert in Germany.

Each year around 10.000 people meet at the gardens of Benrath Castle to enjoy the music, to taste different groceries and to enjoy its impressive fireworks spectacle.

When

Friday the 30th of June from 18.00h

Where

At Schloss Benrath (click here to discover more information about this beautiful castle)

What are you going to find

If you love classical music this summer concert is a must.

More information

http://schloss-benrath-lichterfest.de/

Kirmes am Rhein

How can I introduce you the Kirmes?

Let´s say the truth. The Kirmes is without a doubt the event of the year par excellence in Düsseldorf.

Yes, among all the events that take place in the city during the 360 days of the year, the Rheinkirmes is the most popular one for the citizens of this german city. I am still not sure about the reason why this festival is so important but every time I talk with my german friends they explain me that the Kirmes is a huge party to celebrate life, friendship and, at the same time, to have fun.

No wonder, many companies organize a “Kirmes Tag” (a day at the Kirmes) for their employees as well as for their clients.

When

From the 14th to the 23th of July

Where

In Oberkassel, the Rhein side in front of the Altstadt

What are you going to find

Hundreds of rides, raffle stands, huge brewery stands and tons of fun.

More information

http://www.rheinkirmes.com/

Full Moon Pic-nic am Rheinstrand

An outdoor picnic in Germany?

Everything is possible in Düsseldorf! In fact, this picnic is one of the most famous outdoor events in the region. You just need a sweater (we are in Germany… 😉 ), some food and be ready to have fun.

When

Friday the 7th of August from 20.00h

Where

Düsseldorf Rheinstrand, nearby the Altstadt

What are you going to find

A nice atmosphere and people from all around the world.

More information

https://www.facebook.com/events/275499582912710/

 

And last, but not least, the event of the year in Düssledorf:

Grand Départ der Tour de France

 

As you probably already know the Gran Départ of the most famous bike race in the world takes place in a different city every year.

If two years ago the neighboring city of Utrech had the honor to hold the first stage of the Tour de France, this year this sporting event will start in the cozy city of Düsseldorf.

When

From 29th of June to 2nd of July

Where

In Düsseldorf (the whole city will be a huge party!)

What are you going to find

I am sure you will enjoy from a huge and international party, in fact, there are a lot of events and small parties already organized for the previous days to the Grand Départ.

More information

https://www.duesseldorf.de/letour

 

 

Art in Düsseldorf: Tomas Saraceno In Orbit

Hey guys! How are you? Long time no see. It is more than one month since I posted something new.

Last month was a busy time for me but I am back and ready to tell you more about our expat adventures here in Düsseldorf.

A couple of weekends ago I had a really special visit. Some old friends came here to celebrate the bachelorette of one of them. I was so excited!! We wanted to prepare a perfect weekend for her and, at the same time, I wanted them to discover this incredible part of Germany.

Therefore I organized a beer taste evening at the Beer Craft Festival in Düsseldorf, a tour around Cologne (the sun shined the whole day :)) and another beer taste afternoon, but this time in Düsseldorf.

However, I was not satisfied enough. I wanted to offer my friends the possibility to enjoy something different, something unique. But what could I do?

Suddenly I realized about something; there is still one thing you can do in Düsseldorf that you can´t do at any other place (and it is not beer related 😉 ).

To carry out my plan I convinced my friends to spend some time in a museum. Although that weather was perfect, I mean, we had more than 20 degrees and a splendid sun shinning above us, they accepted to make some indoor activity.

The exhibition

The museum chosen to experience something unique was the impressive, well known K21 Museum.

One of the main exhibitions of this awesome museum is called In Orbit, an enormous installation suspended at a high of more than 25 meters, created by the argentinian artist Tomás Saraceno.

The physically accessible work is constructed of steel mesh that interlaces three levels. Five air filled spheres are located within the net structure.

Visitors are welcomed to enter the installation, during 10 minutes, and explore it by climbing it from the inside. Those brave enough to venture into this unique piece of art will experience a mix of feelings up there.

If you suffer from vertigo I would sadly not recommend you to enjoy this “floating in the sky” adventure, unless you feel brave enough to walk 25 meters above the floor.

Inside the installation

As previously mentioned, the installation is a construction of steel mesh that interlaces three levels. To access this art work you will be provided with a special suit to prevent personal things falling down to the museum visitors down below. Furthermore, the museum staff will also provide you with a special pair of shoes so that you can walk safety inside the net.

The entrance to the structure is located at the third level in order that the visitor can decide the path he wants to follow during his visit.

Usually I like to start at the third level to come down calmly until the first one. Personally, I think this is the best way to avoid the initial shock of being 25 meters high protected only by some steel cables.

I must admit that, although I have already visited this exhibition more than 3 times, I am still impressed by the height once I reach the first level of the net.

Price, opening hours & more

The museum opening hours are the following:

  • Tuesday to Friday from 10.00 am until 18.00 pm
  • Saturday, Sunday & holiday from 11.00 am until 18.00 pm

The admission price is 12,00€ (9,00€ for children)

Here you can find more information about the museum.

I hope you are brave enough to enjoy this unique experience! 🙂

 

Best places in Germany

Unlike many people think, Germany is not a grey, serious and rainy country but an interesting place to discover something new every day.

After a couple of years living here I have had the opportunity to visit not only the well-known German metropolis such as Berlin or Hamburg, but also small ancient cities and the countryside. If you are willing to come to visit Germany in an unconventional way (by visiting some “non-so-touristic” places) keep reading this post because this week it is starting the “Best Places in Germany” post series. Are you ready to discover this remarkable country?

Best places in Germany (of the week):

Monschau

The first time I heard about Monschau was in December 2014, when I friend of mine advised me to visit its Christmas market. Since I could not do that (it is worthier to visit it during the week, instead of during the weekends) I decided to give this old town a chance during the summer time.

Located nearby the Belgium border, Monschau preserves an ancient style, which provides this small city with a special charm. The city center is divided in two by the Rur river, consequently, the two parts of the city are connected by ancient bridges.

What to visit in Monschau

  • Christmas market

Although I could not visit it (not yet 😉 ) I can imagine the importance and the magnitude of this market, since one of the most visited places in the city of Monschau it is its Christmas store (open all year)

  • Castle Monschau

Most part of the castle is in ruins nowadays. Reused as a hostel after the IWW it is the perfect location to host summer concerts.

  • Market square

The heart of the city. Here the visitor can find restaurants, ancient buildings with flowerbox adornments and remarkable spots to be amazed with the mountains surrounding the city.

Heidelberg

Heidelberg is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany, as well as one of the most important student cities.

Ancient castles, narrow alleys, hilly streets  and beautiful parks and gardens are part of the landscape. Its university is the oldest in Germany and famous for its medical faculty. In Heidelberg, everything is within easy reach either on foot or by bike.

What to visit in Heidelberg

  • Heidelberg Castle

The castle, one of the most important renaissance structures, was started to be constructed in 1210 A.D. and, although, it has been destroyed several times due to different wars it preserves its ancient splendour.

It is worth to visit the main attraction of Heidelberg and it can be seen from each corner of the city.

  • The Altstadt

Down in the Altstadt (the old town) there are plenty of narrow streets and squares full of restaurants, stores and cafes. The main square, Markplatz, is a cute place where to enjoy a good cup of coffee or a Rothhaus Pils, one of the most famous beers of Heidelberg.

  • River Neckar

Having a walk along the River Neckar is always a good idea to avoid the crowds and to re-discover Heidelberg. The view from this side of the river is really cute and, if the weather is good, this area of the city is the best place for a picnic.

  • Alte Brucke

The Alte Brucke (Old Bridge) can be discover after passing through a remarkable medieval gate. The bridge dates from the 18th century and it is the most visited bridge of the city.

Düsseldorf

And last but not least, the beautiful city of Düsseldorf.

The capital of the NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia) Region reflects the development that this area of Germany suffered some years ago.

The old industrial city of Düsseldorf led to a modern, cosmopolitan city, centre of fashion, glamour and international businesses. Known as the german city of fashion, Düsseldorf has the honor to have been ranked as the 6th world´s best city to live in beyond other important cities such as Frankfurt or Berlin.

What to visit in Düsseldorf?

  • Mediahafen

To understand the transformation suffered by this remarkable city it is important to have a walk around its “Mediahafen”. The old port was rebuilt into a modern area full of international business, restaurants and hotels. Frank Gehry, in charge of this transformation, built the most emblematic buildings of this area.

  • Altstadt

The old town is the core of the city. Full of narrow, car-free streets is the best place to discover the ancient Düsseldorf.

  • Königsalle

Ready to have a walk surrounded by the best fashion firms of the world? Just visit the Königsalle.

Special tips:

  1. From the Rheinturm the visitor can enjoy a strinkingly view of the city
  2. Benrath Schloss (the palace of Benrath), located 15 minutes away from the oldtown by subway, has beautiful gardens and tasty home made cakes
  3. Bilk is the best area to enjoy a good meal under the sun
  4. Stadttmite is the place-to-be for sushi and japanese-culture lovers (more than 10.000 Japanese live in Düsseldorf, the largest community in Europe)
  5. An “altbier” tour should be compulsory ;). Do not forget to try the traditional Düsseldorf Beer!

Have you ever been to Germany? Which are your favourite places? Share your thoughts!! 🙂 

Actualités en Allemagne

Stuttgart

Nouvelle année, nouveaux objectifs et… nouvelles règles?

Certaines choses ont changé en Allemagne depuis le 1 Janvier. Si tu habites déjà en Allemagne, ou si tu prévois de déménager cette année, continue à lire ce post pour mieux comprendre l’actualité en Allemagne.

1. Salaire Minimum

Bien que le terme “salaire minimum” ai été défini en 2015 pour la première fois en Allemagne, cette année est la première année que le salaire minimum payé aux salariés a augmenté de 8,50€ par heure auparavant à 8,84€ par heure.

Le salaire minimum est aussi valide pour les “mini jobbers” (À prendre en compte: le salaire reçu pour un “minijob” ne peut pas excéder 450€ par mois)

2. Prix des transports publics

D´habitude, dans un pays, les prix des transports publics augmentent chaque année au début du mois de Janvier. En 2017, les tickets de transport coûteront entre 2 et 2,5% de plus.

3. WIFI dans le trains

Depuis plusieurs années, l’Allemagne avance timidement mais sûrement dans l´intégration du WIFI dans les transports et bâtiments publics.  C’est pourquoi l´installation du WIFI dans les trains à grande vitesse (ICE) est une bonne nouvelle non seulement pour les usagers et aussi pour les touristes.

Même si la première et la deuxième classe dans les trains allemands vont bénéficier de cette nouvelle technologie dés à présent, les passagers de deuxième classe auront de volume limité de données.

4. Facture de l´électricité

Les fournisseurs d´électricité allemands ont commencé l´année en augmentant les prix de presque 3,5% .

Il y a deux raisons pour cette augmentation. La première est la diminution des aides reçus par le gouvernement allemand, car celui-ci subventionne davantage les entreprises produisant des énergies renouvelables. L’Allemagne est en train d´investir massivement dans l’implémentation des énergies renouvelables à travers tout le pays. La deuxième est les coûts élevés de la maintenance des lignes haute tension, qui ont obligé les fournisseurs à augmenter leurs tarifs.

5. Cyclistes

L´année 2017 est arrivée avec des changements pour la conduite des cyclistes. Pourquoi?

Jusqu´à aujourd´hui les cyclistes purent “utiliser” le feu rouge des piétons s´il n’y avait pas de feux rouges pour les cyclistes aux carrefours. À partir de 2017, les cyclistes devront respecter les feux rouges  dédiés aux voitures.

Un autre changement important qui s´est produit, implique les familles. La nouvelle législation permet aux parents d’ accompagner leurs enfants sur les trottoirs, tant que ceux-ci sont âgés  de moins de 9 ans. Etes vous prêts amis piétons? 😉

6. Retraités

Quiconque prendra sa retraite en 2017 devra payer des impôts sur 74% de sa pension retraite. Jusqu´à présent, le revenu imposable était équivalent à 72% de la retraite.

En fin de compte, 36% de la rémunération sera exempte d´impôts en 2017.

7. Assistance program 

Jusqu’à l´année dernière seulement les personnes diminuées physiquement par une maladie étaient considérées comme ayant besoin d´aide. Cependant, à partir de cette année  les personnes  ayant des problèmes mentaux seront aussi couverts par ce programme d’aide.

Ça veut dire, que plus de personnes pourront bénéficier de cette aide aux soins de longue durée.

8. Kindergeld 

Le “Kindergeld” est l´argent que le gouvernement allemand verse aux parents pour les aider dans leurs dépenses  associées à l´entretien des leurs enfants. Le “Kindergeld” est distribué mensuellement aux familles.

Combien d´argent ont reçu les parents allemands en 2016 par enfant?

  • 190€ par  enfant, pour les deux premiers enfants
  • 196€ pour le troisième enfant
  • 221€ pour chaque enfant suivant

À partir du 1er Janvier, l’indemnité reçue par enfant a augmenté de 2€. C’est une augmentation symbolique mais toute aide est bonne quand il s’agit des enfants.

Le “Kindergeld” est payé jusqu’à la majorité de  l´enfant.

9. Grundfreibetrag

Le “Grundfreibetrag”, ou abattement à la base, est une part du salaire non imposable.(un subside minimum pour vivre)

À partir de 2017, la part non imposable augmente à 8.820€ par an pour une personne seule et à 17.640€ par an pour des personnes mariées. Cela signifie que le Trésor Public ne taxe le revenu que si celui est supérieur à cette assiette nouvellement définie.

 

Carnival season

carnival cologne germany

Carnival is one of the most important events in the NRW (North Rhein Westphalia) region. Probably you have already heard about the Cologne Carnival, the fifth season of the year, one of the most celebrated events in Germany. But, why do germans celebrate carnival in such an intense way? Which is the symbolism of this celebration? 

To answer these questions we need to understand that Carnival has been celebrated in cities such as Cologne from time immemorial, in fact, it is difficult to find more information regarding the first time that a Carnival celebration took place.

However, during the french occupation, leaded by Napoleon, these celebrations were suspended.

In 1814, once the french troops left the city of Cologne, its citizens reestablished the carnival tradition as a part of a German revival. In 1823,  the “Festordnenedes Komitee”, the predecessor of todays Festival Committee, was founded to “organize” the street festival, which was getting out of hands.

The same year, on the 10th of February 1823, took place the first “Rosenmontag” of the city of Cologne. Given its Christian roots the date of “Rosenmontag” is determined by the church calendar. It takes usually place the monday before Ash Wednesday.

Traditionally, the fifth season of the year, is declared open the 11th November at 11 minutes past 11 hour. At that time people stop working and the carnival celebration starts.

Does Carnival take place only in Cologne?

As I previously mentioned, carnival celebrations take place in the whole NRW region, due its catholic roots. Some other cities where to enjoy this festivity are Düsseldorf, Bonn, Aachen and Dortmund.

Although all of the above mentioned cities celebrate the same festivity (carnival)  each of them has its own carnival troupes, parades and celebrations.

How can I celebrate Carnival?

If you want to have some insights about carnival celebrations I recommend you to read the following posts:

5 Tips To Celebrate Carnival

Carnival vocabulary you should learn to do not miss anything

Carnival: The fifth season of the year

9 new German laws

Changes in Germany in 2017

New year, new challenges, new intentions and… new rules?*

Some things changed in Germany since January 1st. If you are living in this lovely country maybe you want to keep reading this post to understand what it is new in Germany.

* Post updated the 29th of May due to the new streaming law which entered into force on April 2017

1. Minimum wage

Although the “minimum wage” concept was implemented in Germany  in 2015, this is the first time that the amount paid to workers have increased. From the 8,50€ per hour previously paid, the minimum wage had increased up to 8,84€ per hour.

The minimum wage is also valid for minijobbers (Important: the income received for a minijob cannot exceed the amount of 450€ per month).

2. Public transport prices

Usually, public transport prices increase across the country at the beginning of the year . In 2017 transport tickets will cost on average between 2 and 2,5% more.

3. WIFI on trains

Germany is working slow but sure on integrating WIFI in transports and public buildings. Therefore the implementation of WIFI on high speed trains (ICE) are great news for locals and tourists.

Although both classes (first and second) will benefit from this decision, second class passengers will have a limited data volume.

4. Electricity bills

German electricity providers started the new year raising their prices around a 3,5% due to the increased subsidies for renewable energy (Germany is investing a huge amount of money to implement renewable energies nationwide), as well as due to the high costs of upkeep of power lines.

5. Bike riders

The year 2017 leads to a couple of changes on the behaviour of bike riders. Why?

Until now bikers could “use” the pedestrians´ traffic light when there were no own lights signs for cyclist at traffic light crossroads. From 2017 onwards, cyclists have to observe the light signals for car traffic.

Another important change is related to families. The new legislation allows parents to accompany children on their bikes on the pavement, up to the age of nine. Are you ready pedestrians? 😉

6. Pensioners

Whoever retires in 2017 will have to pay taxes on 74 per cent of his pension. Until now, the taxable revenue was equivalent to the 72 percent of the pension.

In the end, this means that only 26 percent of remuneration will be tax-free in the new year.

7. Assistance program 

While up to now only people with predominantly physical afflictions were considered to be in need of care, the new guidelines will also cover the needy with mental problems.

This also means that more people than before will receive benefits from the long-term care insurance.

8. Kindergeld 

The German government provides money to parents known as Kindergeld, which is paid monthly per child.

How much do parents received in 2016 per child?

  • 190€ per child for the first two children
  • 196€ for the third child
  • 221€ for every subsequent child

From January 1st the amount received per child has increased 2€. The increase is small but when talking about raising a kid every bit is welcomed.

The Kindergeld is paid until the child reaches age 18.

9. Grundfreibetrag

The “Grundfreibetrag” is the basic personal allowance, is a part of the income not subject to tax (a minimum subsistence rate).

From 2017 on the basic fare for single persons climbs to 8.820€ and for married people up to 17.640€. That means that Treasury deducts taxes on income only if it is above this amount.

10. Illegal streaming

 

Since the past month of April german authorities have determined that not only downloading is illegal in this country but also streaming.

The previously known as a “grey area” has turned into a completely prohibited activity, which is driving crazy to many residents in this country.

What can you do now?

If you did not have a Netflix or Amazon Prime account, it is maybe the right time to open one. Choose your favourite platform and start enjoying their series and films, because if you try to watch any serie or film in a free of charge platform you may have to pay a huge fee.

How much is the fine for streaming?

Although the existing information is not clear enough, according to Focus journal, the fine a user will have to pay vary between 5 to 10€ per streaming.

Has this law a retroactive character?

No, it has not.

However, if you were not aware of this new law I would recommend you to stop using streaming pages as soon as possible.