Second edition

Cologne – The gateway of Europe to the German Christmas market experience

Cologne Christmas markets have became hotspots for tourist from all around the world during the pre-Christmas period and are especially famous for visitors from neighbouring countries. There are several high-speed train connections via Thalys or ICE to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. Furthermore, Cologne airport hosts different low cost airlines for visitors travelling by plane. These connections make it very easy for people to reach Cologne.

Tim Ostrowskitim-ostrowski@web.de 

Cologne, the 4th biggest city in Germany, located in middle of Europe, is well known as a hot spot for Christmas market fans. Every year between 26 November and 23December you will find more than 10 different Christmas markets in the city centre which attract tourists from all over the world.

There is a strong influence of the Roman Catholic Church in Cologne’s history. Since 313 AD, Cologne has been an archbishopric and one of the most important places in Germany for the Roman Catholic community. Today, about 40% of Cologne’s inhabitants are Catholics. The most visible indicator of the importance of the church for Cologne’s history is Cologne Cathedral. More than 20,000 people visit the Cathedral a day, and it is one of the most well known cathedrals in Germany and is the host of the Shrine of the Three Kings. In summer 2005, Cologne hosted World Youth Day with Pope Benedict XVI and received more than 1,000,000 visitors.

The first Christmas markets go back to medieval times. The early Christmas markets were more like winter markets where people could buy all the necessary things for the winter period. This was complemented in the 14th century by salesmen who sold goods for Christmas, especially presents for children. Since the 20th century Christmas markets have become fixed elements in the pre-Christmas tradition in Germany.The Christmas markets in Cologne are the most visited in Germany. The most famous one in Cologne is the Christmas market next to Cologne Cathedral, and this one alone receives more than 5,000,000 visitors within the 5 weeks. It includes more than 160 pavilions which offer goods, hand crafted art, and regional as well as international gastronomic specialities. Nearby, there are several other Christmas markets in the city; the most famous at Alter Markt and Neumarkt. However, there are also smaller Christmas markets which are maybe not as famous but perhaps a bit more gemütlich and less crowded. The “Mediaeval Christmas market” next to the Museum of Chocolate and the one in Stadtgarten are definitely worth visiting and provide visitors with a great atmosphere including bonfires and hot wine punch.

Cologne Christmas markets have became hotspots for tourist from all around the world during the pre-Christmas period and are especially famous for visitors from Great Britain as well as the Benelux countries due to its close location to the Dutch and Belgium border; Cologne is easy to reach by bus for all visitors, especially those from neighbouring countries. In addition, there are several high-speed train connections via Thalys or ICE to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. Furthermore, Cologne airport hosts different low cost airlines for visitors travelling by plane. These connections make it very easy for people to reach Cologne and invite people to visit the Cologne Christmas markets for a traditional pre Christmas weekend.

TimTim Ostrowski, Contributing writer

Tim is from Cologne, Germany and completed his undergraduate degree in political science at the University of Marburg and Science Po Bordeaux before studying MA Euroculture at the University of Göttingen and Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. He is currently completing a research track in Göttingen. His research interests include political processes within the EU, especially EU decision-making procedures. Tim is addicted to table-football and attempts to find a proper football table in every place he lives.

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Categories: Second edition, Your Story

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