Christmas market in Germany begs visitors to stop coming

Thousands of visitors caused chaos as they flocked to the idyllic forest market in Velen near the Dutch border, a village of only 75 people. Some 85 million people visit Germany's Christmas markets every year.

A Christmas market in the German town of Velen has had to implore visitors to stop coming after a heavy influx of tourists descended on the tiny village near the Dutch border.

"As a result of the massive rush of visitors we must cancel this event!" organizers from Velen's small hamlet of Landgut Krumme wrote on Facebook, "the Christmas market in the forest remains a market for visitors from the area!"

The post asked that people from outside the region find another place to get their mulled wine and holiday handicrafts: "Thank you for understanding."

Tourists from all over Germany and neighboring countries, especially Belgium and the Netherlands, flock to the country's December markets to enjoy drinks, treats and the festive atmosphere.

Looking at the pictures both on social media and those promoted by the tourism board of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Velen lies, it is not difficult to see why people would converge on the community's Christmas market.


Very large candle: Schlitz in Hessen

In Advent, a 36-meter-high stone tower in the old town center is wrapped in red cloth and embedded in traditionally decorated half-timbered houses. A six-meter-high flame at its peak shines into the sky. With a total height of 42 meters, it is said to be the world's largest waxless candle.


Under the bridge: the Ravenna Gorge

With its picturesque location in the Ravenna Gorge, this Christmas market in the Black Forest offers a very romantic atmosphere. Surrounded by steep cliffs of the gorge, under the 40-meter-high (131-feet) railway viaduct of the Höllentalbahn, a small village of little wooden huts can be found here on the four weekends before Christmas.


Ship ahoy!

The Engelkemarkt in Emden takes place both on land and on board the ships. The boats in the inland port are festively decorated with lights. On board you'll find everything to warm your heart: mulled wine, pea soup and even a full Christmas menu.


A stone quarry Christmas market

A special ambiance can be found at the Christmas market in Bavaria's Hauzenberg. Held on the former location of a stone quarry, it features handicrafts from the Bavarian forest. Workshops demonstrating different traditional crafts like stone cutting are popular. Its nativity scene, with real animals, is another highlight.


Erotic yuletide with Santa Pauli

Santa Pauli is "Hamburg's hottest Christmas market," claim its organizers. Visitors who head to the notorious Reeperbahn in the red light district of St. Pauli can enjoy there a daily disco and live music, as well as shop for sex toys and watch the "hot angels" in the strippers' tent.


In the middle of a lake

Every half hour, ferries bring visitors to the Fraueninsel market on Bavaria's biggest lake, the Chiemsee. More than 90 stalls sell Bavarian souvenirs, handicrafts from the island's abbey, such as nativity scenes and Christmas decorations, as well as a huge choice of anything knitted, crocheted or carved. An added bonus here is the spectacular Alpine backdrop.


Designer goods in a power station

An advent's calendar can look like this too. Designer pieces in this style can be found at the Holy Shit Shopping, held in a former power station in Berlin Mitte. It offers an alternative to conventional Christmas markets and is a platform for young artists and designers. There are now Holy Shit Shopping events in Hamburg, Stuttgart and Cologne too.


LGBT Pink Christmas market in Munich

The annual Christmas market on the Stephansplatz in Munich's fashionable Glockenbach district is pink and relaxed. Pink Christmas is the name given to the gay and lesbian event, which includes different performances by drag queens. Plus, anyone looking for pink Christmas decorations will find a huge selection here.


In the wine cellar at Traben-Trabach

Underground Christmas magic can be enjoyed at the market in the former wine cellars in the town of Traben-Trabach on the Moselle river. In the atmospherically lit historical wine cellars, visitors can buy regional handicrafts and sample wine, of course. An added bonus is that the vaults always offer pleasant temperatures, even when it's bitterly cold outside.


Enjoy the lobster huts in Helgoland

Anyone visiting Helgoland, Germany's only island not in close vicinity to the mainland, will have the chance to experience the magic of the lobster huts. These sheds used to serve as workshops and storage rooms for the fishermen; now the colorful wooden huts house different stands with delicious treats such as waffles, cake and mulled wine.

Tucked inside an idyllic forest northwest of Dortmund, the market also boasted a "living Nativity" scene and locally-made delicacies.

But this proved too popular for Landgut Krumme, which local newspaper Westdeutsche Allegemeine Zeitung wrote has only 75 inhabitants. On the first weekend of advent, thousands gathered in the hamlet, blocking the small streets for several kilometers in every direction.

According to the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, a daily from Cologne – the site of Germany's most-visited Christmas markets – the number of foreign guests to the markets more than doubled over the past few years, and each year a total of about 85 million visitors make their way to the holiday staple.

The tradition of Christmas markets in Germany-speaking countries dates back to the Middle Ages, with the oldest thought to have started in Vienna in 1298 and the most famous being Nuremberg's "Christkindlmarkt."

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Meet the Germans | 06.12.2017

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