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.

Mini-job in Germany

 

Around 8 million Germans work mini-jobs and, for most of them, they are their only source of income. Although this model – known as “minor employment model” – is heavily criticised, its success from an economic perspective has motivated other European countries to consider it as an option. Mini-jobs are

But, what is a mini-job? What about health insurance? Can a minijobber get fired?

In this post I try to answer all your questions. Let’s go!

What are mini-jobs?

A mini-job is any form of employment with an average monthly payment of no more than €450.

Although mini-jobs are typically related to cleaning jobs, they can also come from agencies, startups, language schools and larger companies looking for part-time help.

Which are the pros?

  • Minijobbers – people who have a mini-job contract – with no alternative source of income pay zero taxes on earnings up to €450
  • The state covers the minijobber’s social and health insurance
  • All minijobbers have the same rights as other employees, meaning that “same rights” apply on holiday and sick pay, as well as on maternity leave
  • Minijobbers can take on another side job

Which are the cons?

  • Minijobbers are usually paid a lower wage than fully employed colleagues
  • To improve emplyoment statistics – you may have heard that the unemployment rate in Germany is around 4% – politicians count minijobbers as regular working people
  • It can be difficult to turn a mini-job into a full-time job.

Who benefits from this kind of job contract?

Both parties.

For minijobbers, a mini-job is always a good opportunity to earn some money – the €450 arrive always to the person’s bank account with tax deducted already –  and get some experience in the German market.

There are my students that work as minijobbers while studying just to get some extra money. At the same time, many expats use this system to try working in a multicultural environment until they feel secure enough to work for a large company.

For employers, a mini-job is a good deal to save some money – they do not have to pay for insurance obligations – and to hire motivated professionals. A good example of this are startups companies. Most of them use this system to hire people until they have enough earnings to pay for higher salaries.

Why are mini-jobs more popular among young people?

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 Regulations in Germany 2019

 

For more expensive train tickets to a new packaging law, many changes have come to Germany since the beginning of the year.

As we enter the New Year many new laws and regulations take effect in our host country. Therefore, whether you already live in Germany or whether you are planning to move to this beautiful, welcoming country, it is good for you to discover what changes have been implemented since the 1st of January 2019.

Ready to discover more? Let´s start then!

Family

  • A new law on Day Care arises – The idea behind this law is to improve the supply of child daycare centers in the whole country by offering longer opening hours, better services such as lunchrooms and a completely free daycare center to low-income families.
  • The monetary help known as  Kindergeld” increases as follows:
    • €204 per month for the first child
    • €210 per month for the second child
    • €235 per month from the third child onwards
  • In case of divorce child support increases as follows:
    • 0-7 years: €354 per month
    • 7-12 years: €406 per month
    • 13-18 years: €467 per month

Housing

  • The tenant’s contribution rate for modernization costs the landlord has incurred will be reduced from 11% to 8%. Good news if you are planning to rent a renewed flat!
  • A cap will be introduced for the amount by which the landlord may raise the rent to €3 per square meter within six years. However, in cases where the Kaltmiete’s price does not exceed €7 per square meter, the cap will be limited to €2 per square meter.

Social Security

  • Diverse gender – A new German law, approved in December 2018, introduces a third gender option on birth certificates, passports, driver’s licenses, and other legal documents. This means that people born with reproductive anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male (also known as intersex) are now recognized by the German government.
  • New Packaging Law – From a customer point of view, this law will allow you to know if you are buying a product with a single-use packaging (Einweg) or if it is reusable (Mehrweg).
  • Fuel labeling – The European Union harmonized the set of fuel label to provide drivers with better information on the fuels. The three new labels will be as follows:
    • Gasoline-type fuels: Marked by an “E” inside a circle
    • Diesel-type fuels: Marked by a “B” inside a square
    • Gaseous-type fuels: Mentioning the specific subtype within a rhombus.

Work

  • Contributions to unemployment insurance, levied as a percent of income, decrease in 0.25 points.
  • The increase in the minimum wage from €8.84 to €9.19 per hours. Good news, don´t you think?.
  • In response to growing concerns over elderly care, a joint effort by Germany’s healthfamily and labor ministers is now in the pipeline. 13,000 positions will be opened this year to attract new applicants interested in working in this sector.
  • From now on, the monthly installment of the “Krankenkasse” (Health Insurance Company) will be equally paid between employees and employers. So far this installment was paid by employees. So this is good news, isn’t it?
  • Reintegration into the labor market of people who have been unemployed for a long time by creating subsidized jobs will be encouraged. The requirements for accessing this aid are as follows:
    • The unemployed person is at least 25 years old.
    • The unemployed person has received unemployment benefit II (also known as “Hartz IV”) for at least six years.
  • The right to go back to work full-time again arises – People who have reduced their working hours for at least one year, within five years, have now the right to go back to work full-time if they want to. This right, however, will only be applicable in companies that have more than 45 employees and as long as the person has a minimum of six months career in the company.
  • To consider a job a midijob the minimum monthly remuneration must not exceed €450 and the maximum monthly payment must not exceed €1,300.
  • Company bicycles and transport vouchers will be tax-free.

Your turn

Have you ever heard about all these new regulations? Do you think that I missed any important information? Is there any other new regulation/law you would like to share with us? In this case do not hesitate to leave a comment below or to contact me via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

 

Always glad to read your comments! 🙂

 

 

*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.

 

Interesting facts about Germany (Part I)

If you follow me on Instagram you have probably heard some stories about #germancoleague.

Since a couple of weeks, I realized that he´s becoming famous and, at the same time, he´s generating mixed feelings among my lovely Instagram family. Don´t get him wrong, he is really nice, the only “problem” with him is that he never got the chance to learn interesting facts about other cultures 😉

So that you don´t have the same problem as my colleague, I prepared a nice and interesting post about Germany, its history, its culture and its language.

Wait! Do not run away! I am not becoming a history teacher! 

This post is a funny way to discover some interesting (and maybe unknown) facts about Germany.

Are you ready now? Keep reading!

History

  • Germany was once a cluster of small kingdoms, duchies and principalities – They were unified as the German Reich in 1871. Later it became the Third Reich and in 1949, after the war, the nation was divided in two parts: the German Democratic Republic (Soviet-supporters) and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). The 3rd of October 1990, East and West were reunited.
  • Berlin was not always the capital of the country – Before Berlin, there were five other German capitals including the cities of Aachen, Regensburg, Frankfurt-am-Main, Nuremberg and Bonn.
  • Germany is home of famous inventions  – The light bulb, the automated calculator, the discovery of insulin, the invention of the clarinet, the automobile engine, the LCD screen and the Walkman, among others.
  • The first printed book was in German
  • Although the population is on decline, Germany still has the largest population in the European Union with around 81 million people. 3 million live in the capital, Berlin, and around 18 million live in the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region (Düsseldorf, Essen, Köln, Dortmund…). It is expected that population drops to 67 million by 2060.
  • If you look at a satellite image at night, you can clearly see the difference between East and West Germany.
  • Mattel produced a Barbie doll of Angela Merkel to celebrate her 50 years old – The Chancellor of Germany (since 2005) was ranked as the powerful person in the world by Forbes magazine in 2012. Will she win the next elections?

Language

  • German is spoken in different countries – It is the official language of the following countries: Germany,  Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.
  • The German alphabet has extra letters –  A part from the common 26 letters of the alphabet, germans have umlauted forms such as ä, ö , ü and the famous “ß”, which do not exist in English.
  • There are two main divisions of the German language – “Hochdeutsch” and  “Plattdeutsch”.
  • When JFK visited Berlin he said “Ich bin ein Berliner”  which can be translated as “I am a jelly donut”.
  • Dialect changes drastically depending on where you are
  • German has hilarious proverbs
    • Das ist nich dein Bier! – “None of your business” –  literally “It is not your beer!”
    • Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei – “Everything has an end, only sausage has two”
    • Ich kriege so eine Krawatte! – “It really annoys me”  – literally “I get such a tie!”

Culture

  • Germans are the third largest beer consumers in the world – After the Czech and the Irish.
  • There are over 300 kinds of bread in Germany – So if you want to try each of them, you will need approximately one year. Are you ready?
  • The Christmas tree tradition came from Germany – Here it is called Tannenbaum and every single german person has one Christmas tree at home, mostly natural not plastic ones.
  • Berlin, the capital of the country, is nine times bigger than Paris and it has more bridges than Venice. Can you believe it?
  • In German schools, once German kids  are in the 4th grade, they are placed into Hauptschule, Realschule or Gymnasium, which pretty much determines if they will go to university or straight to the work force. Is it the same in your country?

 

Your turn!

Did you know any other interesting facts about german culture, history and language? If so, share them with us by leaving a comment below.

Within the next weeks I will come back with more information about german beer, geography and inventions. Read you soon!

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 😉

Christmas in Germany

One more year the season of joy, celebration and forgiveness has arrived to Germany. Since the end of November, most of the streets are decorated with colorful lights as well as with lovely, traditional Christmas markets all around the country. The smell of Glühwein (traditional mulled wine) goes across the cities reminding us that it is time to look back, be grateful and share our time with our loved ones.

Since the beginning of the advent, people in Germany are getting ready to celebrate this period of the year with their families and friends. But, how do Germans celebrate Christmas? Do they have any special tradition? Let’s find it out!

Most relevant days

As well as many other European citizens, including Spaniards, Germans like to celebrate both Heiligenabend (Christmas eve) and Weihnachten (Christmas Day) with their loved ones. In most of the cases, family members get together to decorate the Christmas tree, to cook tasty traditional meals and to attend to midnight mass. Another important German tradition is to place all the Christmas presents under the Christmas tree.

The second day of Christmas, Saint Stephen´s Day, is a public holiday here in Germany. For many people, the 26th of December is a quiet occasion spent with friends or family to recover and to get ready for the winter sales, which start the third day of Christmas. Saint Stephen´s Day is also a good occasion to attend with the family to a special church service on behalf of this saint.

Another important day during Christmas time is New Year´s Eve, known here as Silvester. Unlike in Spain, this is a day to spend with close friends who are mostly invited to enjoy a home-made meal, often in the form of a buffet.

While in Spain we like to spend the last day of the year surrounded by our relatives, here in Germany most of the people prefer to celebrate it by hosting home parties or by attending to any New Year´s Eve Party. Does this mean that we Spaniards do not celebrate the entrance to the new year? Of course we do! However, we still follow the ancient traditions of eating 12 grapes at midnight with our loved ones before attending with our close friends to any new year´s event. A totally different way to celebrate, don´t you think?

Food

In terms of food, Germans know how to celebrate this season sitting around a table full of delicious meals. Depending on the Christmas day they like to eat different kind of products.

A traditional Christmas Eve´s meal consists of carp or salmon accompanied by fried potatoes, sauerkraut, sausage and potato salad.

On Christmas day, Germans do like to start the day enjoying a variety of sweet snacks such as Plätzchen(biscuits covered in sugar), Lebkuchen (gingerbread), Stollen(bread filled with dried fruit and marzipan) and Spekulatius(cookies flavored with cinnamon and other spices). Despite all the edible goodies during the day, they always have some room for a traditional Christmas Dinner. As a main dish, German families usually enjoy a roasted goose, turkey or duck, served with red cabbage and followed by a classic post-goose sweet such a pudding. Could you imagine yourself eating so much on Christmas day? At the beginning I was a bit shocked by this “all day eating” tradition.

In Spain, the 25th of December is the perfect occasion to spend time with the family while enjoying a huge meal consisting of seafood, traditional cold meat such as jamón or chorizo, lamb or hake, fruit andturrón (a confection made of almonds, honey, sugar and egg white and usually shaped into a rectangular tablet). Furthermore, as a country of wine producers, this beverage plays an important role during Christmas celebrations. In Germany, however, people prefer to accompany their meals with Sekt (sparkling wine) or champagne.

To celebrate the last dinner of the year, Germans enjoy preparing authentic homemade traditional recipes such as Sauerkraut, marinated herrings, potato salad, raclette and fondue. Silvester is traditionally full of activities such as playing games like “Bleigießen”, eating Berliner doughnuts, attending to mass, watching the popular English-language sketch “Dinner for one” or drinking Feuerzangenbowle. Midnight is marked by fireworks, toasts with champagne and best wishes and followed by a traditional midnight soup. In contrast to Spain, Silvester is mostly celebrated with friends either attending to public parties or preparing nice homemade meals.

Christmas presents

As in many other countries, Christmas presents in Germany are shared during the night of the 24th of December, so that people can open them either after dinner or the morning after. In many Catholic families they are told that the Christ Child gave the presents, however, in protestant families are told that Father Christmas or Santa Claus brought them.

Although Santa Claus is becoming really popular in Spain, we still like to keep our Christmas traditions. For us, the night of the 5th of January is a magical one, because the Three Wise Men come from a faraway country to make our wishes come true. When the night falls and everybody sleeps, Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar visit every single Spanish dwelling delivering all the desired presents.

Despite the different traditions, both, Germans and Spaniards, we like to organize family gatherings and to spend time with our loved ones, who may are far from us the rest of the year. Ok, it is true that this season is partly about giving and receiving gifts as well as cooking and eating tasty homemade meals. However, the real meaning of Christmas is similar in both cultures. This season is a good opportunity to look back and be grateful for all the things in life that we are fortunate to have.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! See you in 2018!

Downloading in Germany: Legal or illegal?

descargas

When living abroad it is important to be aware of the legality related to the information you obtain through an internet connection. In other words, is it legal to download web content in Germany? Since it seems to be an important topic for you guys, keep reading to discover more about the german legislation and to find the answers to all your questions.

Is downloading legal in Germany?

Let´s start from the very beginning.

German law consider that sharing content protected by copyright is illegal. That means, that you should be careful when using P2P programs such as Emule or Torrent because when we download any content from those online tools we are, at the same time, sharing it with other users, and that is the main problem. We are sharing copyright protected content with other online users.

Furthermore, when using those kind of programs we allow other users to see our IP address.

IP address: Internet suppliers (ISP) are obliged to share information regarding an IP address if the user is sharing content protected by copyright. Why? Because all responsibility will fall on the internet line’s owner. What does it mean? Let me explain it with an example. After a couple of months in Germany, a friend of mine hosted a christmas party at his place. In that party, some guests found out some interesting songs on the internet and they decided to download them. After three months my friend received a letter where we was asked to pay a fine of almost 5.000€ due to the high amount of songs that his friends downloaded at the christmas party. Although my friend did not download any single song, he is the owner of the internet line, therefore, the fine was addressed to him.

What happen if I receive a fine?

I know some people who received the famous letter. I like to say that this letter does not contain a fine in essence, but a blackmail.

I call it blackmail because the letter is sent by law firms, hired by companies owning copyrighted items, to monitor the traffic of platforms such as Torrent and similar entities to find copyrighted items. Basically, the letter is a warning to let you know that this lawyers know what you did and if you do not want to go to court you should pay a fine.

The most active law firm is Waldorf Frommer  (all people I know received the letter from this lawyer´s office).

fullsizerender-3

What should I do after receiving the letter?

The first minutes after receiving the copyright infringement letter can be really confusing; Should I pay the requirement amount? Should we ignore the letter? Should I hire a lawyer?

Well, let me tell you three options that you should take into account when receiving the letter:

  • To Pay: The act of paying the required amount to the lawyer´s firm means to recognized that you downloaded web content illegally. What does it imply? If you recognize your guilt you will automatically be registered on the german police´s records of criminal activity during 30 years. Furthermore, you will pay a high amount of money (people I know were asked to pay between 900€ and 5.000€).

 

  • To Ignore the Letter: To be honest, this is a risky option. Why? Because if after sending you three letters, the lawyer´s firm does not receive an answer from your side, they will take you to court. This 3 letters must be send in a 3 years period. If after the third year you have received non or less than 3 letters, you will be free of charge and you won´t hear anymore from them.

 

  • To Hire a Lawyer: With this option you will spend some many, less than if choosing the first option though. Why? Because your lawyer will find the best agreement for you, so that you will be declared no guilty and you won´t have to pay a high amount of money.

 

Which is the best option?

To be honest I would recommend you to hire a lawyer to whom you will pay around 300€. This amount will be a good investment though, since you will be able to avoid paying a high amount of money and going to court.

Important information: Do not sign any form and/or do not pay any fine without the approbation of a lawyer. Once you do it, you will declare yourself guilty of a crime.

Now it is you turn, have you ever heard about this letter? Have you ever received it? What do you think about this topic?

 

Organic food in Germany

After many years of debate, the European Union reached a couple of weeks ago an agreement on an overhaul of the existing EU rules on organic production and labelling of organic products.

This agreement was taken based on the increasing consumer demand for organic food in the european countries and, at the same time, it sets uniform rules across the EU with the aim of encouraging the development of organic production in the EU, as well as of improving the labelling of organic food.

Is this new agreement important in Germany?

Yes, this agreement is a huge step for the German market since Germany is a key player in the global organic market and has also played a pioneering role in the organic (people call it BIO here) food movement since many years ago.

What is the definition of organic food?

Organic or BIO products are made of ingredients, which were produced without any synthetic inputs and do not have any chemical additives.

Organic products do not contain toxic substances such as parabens, phthalates or lanolin, among others.

How do I know that I am buying organic food?

Easily. In order to regulate organic food standards, the German ministry of agriculture issued, in 2001, a bio label which allows customers to distinguish all the organic products* of the market.

*Organic products: no less than 95% of the product’s ingredients of agricultural origin must come from organic farms.

 

With more than 40% of the European market, Germany is the biggest organic importer in Europe with a turnover of more than €7 billion and more than 3.000 German companies producing around 50.000 products which carry this label. To date, every day an average of 20 new products are submitted for certification.

Where can I find organic food in Germany?

Finding organic food in Germany is really easy, as you can already imagine. Many businesses offer organic products (food, beverages, cosmetics…) due to the importance of the BIO culture in this country.

If you are interested in buying organic food check the following list of organic grocery stores:

#1 Denn´s Biomarkt

#2 Super Biomarkt

#3 Bio Company

#4 Alnatura

#5 TEMMA

#6 Reformhaus

What I really like about these businesses is that they do not only offer organic products but also products for allergy and intolerance sufferers (like me!).

Can I find organic products in regular grocery stores?

Sure! Many companies like Rewe, Kaufhof, Edeka or Lidl offer some organic products (not that many to be honest, if you really like to eat organic food it is much better to buy at a organic places).

Where can I get more information about this topic?

There are several organic associations in Germany such as Demeter, Bioland, Biokreis, Naturland, Biopark and Ecovin where you can find more information about organic products (press on the name to discover more). Some of these organizations operate worldwide and follow stricter rules than EU ones.

Another interesting information point is the International Green Weekwhich takes place each January in Berlin (more information pressing the name) and has attracted thousand of visitors in recent years (around 400.000).

Is there place where I can find organic beauty products?

Sure! Although many people relate the words “organic” and “BIO” to food and beverages only, beauty and skincare organic products are also present in the German market.

Since many years I also buy these kind of products, although I have to admit that since I moved to Germany I have discovered a lot of organic brands.

Therefore, and after trying different products of those brands, I am going to share with you which are my favourite ones (do not hesitate to tell me yours)

  1. Weleda – I love their face care and hand creams.
  2. Dr. Hauschka – I cannot choose just a single product… My favourites are the rose day cream, the soothing cleansing cream and the lavender sandalwood calming bodycream.
  3. Neobio – Trying their shower gels and shampoos should be a must 😉

If you guys decide to try any other skincare product or another organic grocery store please share your thoughts with me in the comments below. I am always trying new things, I cannot avoid it…

I hope you enjoyed this post 🙂 Do not hesitate to leave your comments below 🙂