Christmas markets in Northern Germany

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Read this in: German

There are many Christmas markets in Germany and I have experienced one or the other time that relatives and friends from abroad were so enthusiastic that they travel to Germany every year in Advent. Fortunately, I’ve been out of my Göttingen bubble for several years now and become a big, big fan of traveling to various Christmas markets throughout the Republic. Next year I would like to go to the south, maybe catch a snowflake. However, this year it is the north that I would like to introduce to you.

As a child, there was nothing better for me than discovering new Christmas markets and their uniqueness. That’s why I give myself in the visual language of today’s blog post more mysterious to atmospheric. I do not want to spoil people who have never seen these Christmas markets. And Instagram surveys say there are many from the South or even from the North who have not yet come to know the diversity of German Christmas markets. Of course, Christmas markets are also available abroad. But no one comes close to the original.

The Advent season is always a great time for photographers. What tips I can give you for photos in the winter and in the Advent season, I’ll tell you soon in a blog post.

Hannover – a Christmas fairytale?

Most of the people I know do not think much of Hanover, as unfortunately they only connect 2-3 streets to Hannover. And if you reduced Hannover to these few streets, I would absolutely agree with them. Historically, there is not much left of the old Hanover in the area around the station after the Second World War and therefore modern buildings dominate the cityscape around the central station. But the medal is known to have two sides and so the symmetry at night in Advent while looking over the Niki de Sainte Phalle passage to Kröpcke results in a beautiful symmetry and harmony that is second to none.

The secret star among the Christmas markets in Hannover

However, the real star among the Christmas markets is still a bit further away. One should not limit oneself to the stalls at the central station, but venture at least up to the market church. The best I like the wish well forest and the medieval Christmas market in the old town, so there even behind Marktkirche. When I was still living in Hannover, I was lying there every day. The old town is beautiful anyway, as small as it is – but with Christmas market you really have a great atmosphere.

And if there is still snow and you are in Hannover, then there is still a secret from me nearby. Each one of you has certainly heard of the Maschsee, a popular destination or a popular jogging track in the heart of Hannover. I used to live nearby and was there very often and went for a run or run. But in the winter with snow, the Naschpark directly behind the Old Town Hall is just like a winter fairytale, a beautiful palace with a pond that can look very romantic in the snow or with foliage on the trees.

Many of us use Christmas markets to buy handicrafts. My Pro tip to you to find out if it is handmade or rather made in China: 1. Look for adhesive stickers of other stickers 2. Pay attention to the smell 3. Simply involve the seller in a conversation, how the piece is made etc. – so you get a good feel for whether this is handmade or shopped. And: 4. Always turn around the entire market and see if there are not multiple vendors. My mother-in-law used this trick to save 50% on a bracelet.

Christmas market in Bremen

While for me in my childhood and adolescence as a girl from Cuxhaven Hamburg always the shopping city was, which is often paid outside the Advent season, Bremen has always been the city for real Christmas feelings. Why is not that with me in Hamburg? I’ll come to that later. Bremen is simply a compact city. It is not far from the train station to the Sögestraße and halfway there the Christmas market begins. In Bremen you have just a shopping street, at least everything is within walking distance. And so you also create the Christmas market in a short time, then can go shopping or just a little …

At the Schlachte

… to the Christmas magic at the Schlachte. The Christmas market at the Schlachte is for me one of the most beautiful ever, because the shacks and the partly very chatty fish sandwiches with bright plastic hair are already a real original. By fire spit or other entertainers, the bustle is really unique. I think the word “rustic” is best. Although the medieval Christmas market in Hanover has a great atmosphere, but at the in Bremen at the Schlachte he just does not come up.

Christmas market is often a matter of taste – some prefer indoor and buy handmade gifts, others love to stand in the wind and weather at the stalls. There is something for every taste. The only thing missing is the snow, which unfortunately has become a rarity at the time of the Christmas market. The last time Christmas market photos in the snow of mine originated in 2010 or 2011 by me.

The Lambertimarket in Oldenburg

Last week I already lost some words about the Lambertimarkt. In my childhood and youth I was like many North Germans more often on the Lambertimarkt. Probably also because it is difficult to get lost, as in Bremen in Oldenburg. The Lambertimarkt is well arranged, the city center, and yet you have all the shops you need for shopping – in addition to the usual suspects, many small boutiques, often bazaars with handmade things by artists and local creatives and some shops with specialties from the Netherlands ,

Now, as a New Oldenburgian or rather a long time as a commuter, I also see the problems that brings the Oldenburg Christmas market with it. The parking lot location is tricky anyway. In addition, there are still bus-wise people in the city. Therefore, I think it’s quite good that these are usually exposed at the station. From there, even signposts lead day tourists to Lambertimarkt. I remember very vividly a school trip. At that time we also drove to the Lambertimarkt, as my teachers had studied in Oldenburg. However, we were simply let out somewhere at the castle. That paralyzed this piece of road for 10 minutes. Our bus driver was probably not a local expert and had no navigation system at that time.

What is the charm of the Lambertimarkt? He is small, sweet and cute. At the weekend it can get a bit crowded, but the city center in Oldenburg offers many beautiful lanes and alternative possibilities, if it gets too crowded.

Not every Christmas market is a feast for the eyes. For good photo opportunities, you should just look for water or photograph shortly after the rain, so you can capture beautiful reflections. Hamburg is therefore perfect for photography in the dark season with all the alster branches.

Hamburg’s great strength and weakness

When I think of Hamburg more Christmas shopping than at Christmas markets, I must confess. For the greatest weakness and strength of the Hanseatic city on the Elbe is that there is not ONE central Christmas market. This role occupied most likely still the felt very tourist market on the Town Hall Square. But overall, between all the deep urban canyons of the city center, the widespread, small Christmas markets are somewhat submerged in the crowds of shopping enthusiasts. Some Christmas markets even seem like a few stalls, which should provide for the Christmas mood in the outdoor area of a shopping center. So much for the weakness in Hamburg, but of course Hamburg also has its strengths, because there is hardly a better city for photographers.

My childhood often looked like December was incredibly busy. That was not surprising, because I sang and played trumpet in several choirs. Everything from Rolf Zukowski on “Last Christmas” to the Christmas Oratorio. It always took a lot of time, I was every day at a different Christmas party, another Christmas bazaar or at a Christmas market and so we always just bought our gifts just before – of course in Hamburg. Today it is not so much, but back then we were in this department store directly at the main station and for me the toy department with the huge stuffed animals was the paradise. And there was the tradition that I lost my father in the department store Brinkmann. However, he always knew where I was lost: the display cases with the crystal glass animals, which sparkled so beautifully when they were illuminated. And it always went to the one Fotobedarfsladen directly on Mönckebergbrunnen, because my father owns and uses analog cameras today. From and on you could buy there a nice, used lens.

Perfect for photo lovers

Thanks to the Alster you have water and bridges on every corner and many, many possibilities for great photos, whether at night or day. I mean, who of us does not know the iconic photo opportunities in the Speicherstadt or ever looked at photos that made friends or relatives of the Elphiplaza out? The great strength of Hamburg is its diversity. There is not a central Christmas market, no, there is a long list. This gives you the great opportunity to find targeted great photo opportunities and also beautiful boutiques and also to support small, local companies by not only staying true to one Christmas market, but also exploring other Christmas markets. So expensive is a HVV ticket now not synonymous.

Lübeck, the city of marzipan

I believe that there are some North Germans, who would definitely miss the contemplative Lübeck in my list. Lübeck is finally known for its marzipan and is a popular summer and winter destination, as it is also one of these rather clear historical city center. The Christmas market in combination with the breathtakingly beautiful historic old town is of course an eye-catcher and I will probably go in 2 weeks. However, I have to confess: I prefer to drive rarely and whenever possible during the week because it is completely overcrowded at weekends. Feels even more crowded than anywhere else.

The little insider tips

Finally, there are some Christmas markets, which are also very atmospheric, but also mostly not so tourist crowded. For one thing, this would be the Christmas market in the Gifhorn Castle, which takes place only on the first weekend of Advent, but holds a lot of homemade things. I had a little embarrassing moment there, as I had my camera with me, and then someone asked me to take pictures of a ceramic artwork and send it to me by e-mail. Of course, I refused and pointed out that the worthy Kermatik artist certainly has a website or even an online shop and I’m sure I was quite red, because I would never dare to simply photograph stands without a permit.

Also, if Facebook as a social media platform has become rather unpopular in my generation, it is worthwhile to look for events in the area in the Advent season.

My other insider tip is my little Safe Haven of my childhood in Advent: Stade. Just like Lüneburg, the city is only a stone’s throw away from Hamburg, but by no means overcrowded. Stade has a historic old town lined with small Christmas stalls.

Christmas markets on the weekend are always full. So it always depends on personal preferences. Many of my friends deliberately drive to Christmas markets over the weekend because they like the atmosphere when it gets busy and busy. Since I take pictures and would like to talk to dealers for longer, I prefer to go to Christmas markets within the week.

Transportation – the agony of choice

I confess that most of the time I do not like traveling during the Advent season. At weekends, it’s often a choice of lesser evil: Should I get into overcrowded trains or overcrowded parking garages? That’s why I always give the tip to travel by train and to look for a day within the working days if possible to explore Christmas markets in peace. Anyone who then still has to reduce residual vacation, then can treat himself to a relaxing night in the hotel. I have that in the Advent season before. Not in Northern Germany, but in Groningen. Of course, I would then report on it in due course. Because I personally think that there is nothing better in the Advent season, than to take some rest and sleep once a day and order breakfast by room service. It does not have to be the most expensive hotel, a soft bed and a room with a bath is enough.

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