JANUARY 10th IN GERMAN HISTORY

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January 10, 1573

Birth of Simon Marius (1573-1624) in Gunzenhausen, Germany. Marius was the astronomer who named the four largest moons of Jupiter. He was one of the first astronomers to use a telescope, the first to report the spiral nebula in Andromeda and one of the first to note sunspots.

 

January 10, 1785

Death of Heinrich Wilhelm Stiegel in Charming Forge, PA (born near Cologne, Germany). Stiegel immigrated to Philadelphia in 1750. There he built an ironworks and soon expanded to a second ironworks in Lancaster. At the boycott of British imports he expanded his manufacture of window glass and bottles at a company he founded called the American Flint Glassworks. He was highly successful and became known for his mansions, servants and high life style. As economic conditions deteriorated with the approach of the war with England, however, his fortunes declined. By 1774 he was in debtors prison.

January 10, 1797      Annette-Droste-H

Birth of Annette von Droste-Hülshoff (1797-1848) in Hülshoff, Germany. She was one of the leading writers of the 19th century. She is most noted for her poetry, Gedichte (1838) and Das geistliche Jahr (1851). Her novella, Das Judenbuch (1842) is also highly respected.

January 10, 1847

Birth of Jacob Schiff in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Schff immigrated to the United States in 1865 where he would become one of America’s leading railroad bankers. He was the head of the investment bank, Kuhn, Loeb and Company. His financial backing led to Edward Harriman taking control of the Union Pacific Railroad. He later backed Harriman in his struggle with James J. Hill and J. P. Morgan for control of the Northern Pacific Railroad. In his later years he became a philanthropist and was a major donor to Harvard and Cornell universities and to the American Red Cross.

January 10, 1866

aschoff

Birth of Karl Aschoff (1866-1942) in Berlin. Aschoff was a pathologist who had studied at the University of Bonn and taught at the University of Freiburg. He discovered phagocytes (cells which ingest foreign substances) and Aschoff’s bodies (nodules in the heart related to the rheumatic process).

January 10, 1880

Birth of Grock (stage name of Charles Wettach) in Reconvilier, Switzerland. Grock was a circus clown and later a stage comedian of great popularity. His autobiography, Die Memoiren des Königs der Clowns, was published in 1956.

January 10, 1890

Death of Johann Joseph Ignaz von Döllinger in Munich, Germany. Döllinger was a Roman Catholic priest, a professor of canon law and a church historian in Munich. When the First Vatican Council of 1869-1870 defined the infallibility of the pope Döllinger could not accept the doctrine. He joined the Altkatholiken who broke with the Vatican after the council. His writing on the subject of papal infallibility was listed on the Roman Catholic Index of Forbidden Books and he was excommunicated in 1871.

January 10, 1920

The Versailles Treaty takes force.

January 10, 1949

Erich-Dagobert-von-Drygalski

 

Death of Erich Dagobert von Drygalski in Königsberg, Germany (now in Russia). A geographer and glaciologist, Drygalski led an expedition to the Antarctic from 1901-1903 and published the results of the findings in Deutsche Südpolar-Expedition 1901-1903. The 20 volume work appeared between 1905 and 1931. Drygalski was a professor at the University of Munich.

 

 

 

 

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CHRISTMAS DAY IN GERMANY

Christmas Day is a public holiday in Germany on December 25. Many people spend the day with their family. Large meals with traditional foods are served and Christmas decorations are displayed. German Christmas decorations include nutcrackers, Christmas pyramids, and cribs.

christmas-day-germany

What Do People Do?

People generally spend Christmas Day with family members or close friends. Some attend church services and many sing traditional Christmas carols. A large meal is traditionally eaten in the afternoon or early evening. Typical dishes include:

  • Roast goose or duck stuffed with apples, chestnuts, onions or prunes.
  • Red cabbage with onions and apple.
  • Boiled potatoes.
  • Dumplings.

People also eat turkey, beef, venison or wild boar in some parts of Germany.

 

Public Life

Christmas Day is a public holiday in Germany. Post offices, banks, stores and businesses are closed. However, stores in some tourist areas may be open and stores at railway stations, airports and along highways are usually open.

There are some restrictions on selling alcohol, public performances and dancing. Public transport services may run as usual, at a reduced service or no service depending on where one lives or intends to travel.

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Symbols

Traditional Christmas decorations include:

  • Christmas trees.
  • Small candles or electric lights.
  • Wooden nutcrackers.
  • Incense burners in various shapes.
  • Cribs with figures representing Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the shepherds and the three wise men.
  • Gingerbread houses decorated with sweets.
  • Christmas pyramids (three-dimensional scenes that are turned by a fan driven by candle heat).

Schwibbogen (decorative arc-shaped candle holders) are displayed in the Ore Mountains in Saxony. Each candle holder is made of a single piece of wood or metal and holds more candles on top of an arc. The arc is filled with figures to create a scene. Some scenes represent aspects of the Christmas story, while others display local traditions or events.

Sweet snacks are popular at Christmas. Traditional treats include: Plätzchen (flat biscuits covered in sugar frosting); Lebkuchen (gingerbread); Pfeffernüsse (gingerbread covered in sugar frosting and small candies); Stollen (a rich bread filled with dried fruit and a marzipan roll); and Spekulatius (small cookies flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

German Christmas traditions

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Christmas, or Weihnachten, is considered by Germans to be the most important of the major holidays. Although secularized and commercialized compared to Christmas celebrations of yore, the German holiday season is a time for introspection, celebration, and family and friends; it is less consumption-oriented than in the United States. Not only the holiday itself, but also the weeks leading up to the celebration of Christmas involve many traditions and customs of diverse origins.

Advent

The German Christmas season officially begins with the first Sunday of Advent. Stollen, the oldest known German Christmas treat, and Christmas cookies (Plätzchen) are often baked during this time. Gingerbread houses, nativity scenes, hand-carved wooden Nutcracker figures (Nussknacker), Christmas pyramids (Weihnachtspyramiden), and lighted city streets and homes are all signs that Christmas is on its way.

The Advent Wreath – Der Adventskranz

The Advent wreath (Adventskranz) is adorned with four candles, one of which is lit on each of the four Sundays preceding Christmas. The first Advent wreath, which appeared in the mid-19th century, had 4 larger candles and 19 smaller ones. Each day one additional candle was lit to help the children count the days until Christmas. Today only the four larger candles remain. However, the tradition has been exported to many other countries around the world and was adapted to existing customs. The Advent wreath of the Eastern Orthodox Church uses 6 candles to last through its somewhat longer Advent season.

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The Advent wreath has been attributed religious and elemental significance. The tradition of a ring of light existed among the Germanic tribes many centuries before the celebration of Advent. It is believed that fewer candles were lit with each progressive lighting to represent the shortening of the days until the solstice, at which time theJulfest celebrated the return of light. (Incidentally, the English word yule is a cognate with the Germanic Jul).

Advent, Advent …ein Lichtlein brennt
erst eins, dann zwei, dann drei, dann vier
dann steht das Christkind vor der Tür.

 

The Advent Calendar – Der Adventskalender

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The Advent calendar (Adventskalender) is a German invention that was originally designed to involve children in the festivities leading up to Christmas. The calendars are usually made of cardboard and have 24 small windows or flaps, one of which is opened on each day leading up to Christmas. Behind each window is a Christmas scene or motif. Nowadays, calendars may contain chocolate or candy behind each window, and sometimes even small toys. The Advent calendar is a more recent invention of modern capitalism. Originally, families would mark the 24 days of December preceding Christmas with a chalk line on the wall. The first hand-crafted Advent calendars were produced in the mid-19th century; the first printed calendar appeared in Munich in 1903. Eventually the custom was exported all over the world.

Christmas markets – Weihnachtsmärkte

Christmas Fair at night, Nurnberg, Germany

When the Advent season opens, Christmas markets also crop up in nearly every German town, large or small. The town squares, normally dark early in winter months, are lit up and buzzing with activity during this time. Townspeople gather together, listen to brass band music, drink beer or hot mulled wine (Glühwein) or apple cider, and enjoy the hearty traditional fare of the region. Vendors peddle baked goods, including gingerbread hearts, sugar-roasted almonds, crepes, cookies, stollen, cotton candy and other sweets. Christmas tree decorations, seasonal items, and handcrafted articles, such as wooden toys and hand-blown glass ornaments, are also sold.

Christmas markets date back to at least the 14th century and were one of the many markets held throughout the year. It was here that people bought everything they needed for the Christmas celebration: baking moulds, decorations, candles, and toys for the children. In fact, until well into the 20th century, the Weihnachstmärkte were the only place for people to buy such seasonal items.

Markets differ from place to place; each has its own regional imprint. The market at Aachen, for instance, is known for its gingerbread men (Aachner Printen). The regions around the Erzgebirge mountain range are famous for their handmade wooden crafts. Augsburg has a life-sized Advent calendar and opens the holiday season with its famous “Angel Play.” At the Frankfurt Christmas Market, visitors will find Quetschenmännchen (little prune men) and Brenten (almond cookies).

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The most famous Christmas market is the Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt, which is known for its gold foil angels and locally produced gingerbread cakes. At least 375 years old, it is one of the oldest, and with over 200 vendors participating each year, it is also one of the largest Weihnachtsmärkte in Germany.

Santa Claus – Der Weihnachtsmann

Merry Old Santa Claus by Thomas Nast

The figure of Santa Claus, known in Germany as der Weihnachtsmann (literally, “the Christmas man”), is a direct descendant of Saint Nicholas, as can easily be seen from the derivation of the name “Santa Claus”. The English appellation came directly from the Dutch variant “Sinterklaas”. Centuries-old Northern European tradition also knew a similar figure – a bearded old man in a long, brown, hooded fur coat who traveled on a reindeer-drawn sled. Carrying a staff and nuts, respectively symbolizing fertility and non-perishable, substantial nourishment, this figure from Lapland represented preparation for the long winter season ahead. This figure likely in turn descends from the god Thor or another deity from Germanic mythology.

Many of the characteristics attributed to the modern-day Santa Claus are easily recognizable in both the St. Nicholas figure and the personality descended from old Germanic folklore. The Weihnachtsmann, much like Santa Claus, is depicted as a jolly old man with a long white beard in a red fur suit, with a sack of presents and a switch. On Christmas Eve he leaves gifts for the well-behaved children and punishes those who have been bad. He doesn’t arrive through the chimney, but rather slips in and out just long enough to leave the gifts, usually before children can catch a glimpse of him. Depending on the German-speaking region, today it is either the Weihnachtsmann or the Christkind (Christ child) who leaves gifts for the children to open on December 24th in Germany.

Children’s verse: 
Lieber guter Weihnachtsmann,
sieh mich nicht so böse an.
Stecke deine Rute ein,
will auch immer artig sein.

The Christmas tree – Der Tannenbaum

The German Tannenbaum is usually put up and decorated on Christmas Eve, though some families opt to erect their tree during the Advent season. Traditionally, the Germans used the fir tree, but nowadays the spruce is widely used. Decorations may include tinsel, glass balls or straw ornaments and sweets. A star or an angel tops the Tannenbaum, and beneath the tree, a nativity scene might be set up and the presents next to it. Germans also usually continue to use real lit candles instead of electric lights on the tree.

The first known Christmas tree was set up in 1419 in Freiburg by the town bakers, who decorated the tree with fruits, nuts, and baked goods, which the children were allowed to remove and eat on New Year’s Day. The town guilds and associations first brought evergreens inside their guild houses and decorated them with apples and sweets. Candles were eventually added to the decorations. Already since the Middle Ages, ordinary Germans had been bringing yew, juniper, mistletoe, holly, evergreen boughs – any plant that maintained its green color through the lifeless and dreary winter months – into their homes. Even in areas where forests were sparse, the tradition took hold; people in Northern Germany, for instance, used Christmas pyramids (Weihnachtspyramiden) in lieu of Christmas trees. The pyramid form was created using sticks that were then decorated with fir branches. By 1800, the custom of bringing a tree into the home was firmly established in many German-speaking regions and continued to spread throughout Europe, and eventually, around the world. The custom was brought to North America by German-speaking immigrants to Pennsylvania and Ohio in the 18th century.

The Tannenbaum is taken down on New Year’s Day or on January 6th, Three King’s Day, at which time the children can ransack the tree for the sweets and treats that decorated it.

 

Christmas Eve – Heiliger Abend (also Heiligabend)

December 24th begins as a regular workday. But by 2:00 pm, often even earlier, businesses close in preparation for the holiday celebration, a large part of which occurs on Christmas Eve in Germany. The traditional evening meal includes carp and potato salad. Families sing Christmas carols together and may read the story of Christ’s birth aloud. Family members exchange gifts; children are typically the focal point of the gift exchange. The tradition of opening gifts on Heiliger Abend (rather than on December 6th in honor of St. Nicholas) was started by Martin Luther in the 16th century in favor of a celebration that honored Christ rather than a Catholic saint.

On Christmas Eve, German families – whether Protestant or Catholic and even those who are not regular church-goers – often attend mass or a church service. While the mass traditionally takes place at midnight, in recent times the services have moved into the earlier evening hours.

Christmas Day(s) – der erste und zweite Weihnachtstag

Both December 25 and 26 are legal holidays in Germany and are known as the First and Second Christmas Day respectively. What originally started out as a church celebration of Christ’s birth has gradually become a family celebration. Businesses are closed, and time is spent visiting with extended family. Goose is the traditional fare on the First Christmas Day, or perhaps rabbit or a roast. These are accompanied by traditional German fare such as apple and sausage stuffing, red cabbage, and potato dumplings. The second Christmas day is usually a quieter time, a day for peaceful contemplation.

Halloween in Germany

How is Halloween celebrated in Germany? All you need to know about the origin of the tradition, typical costumes and the best Halloween events in Germany.

Halloween pumpkin

“Süß oder saueres!” is what you might hear children trick-or-treating in Germany say when they knock on your door.

Halloween has been celebrated in Germany for just 25 years, and the “trick” aspect of Halloween traditions makes many Germans angry, according toSpiegel Online, as well as the overlap with St. Martin’s Day, a holiday that follows under two weeks after Halloween on November 11.  On St. Martin’s Day children walk around the neighborhood with lanterns, singing songs and reciting poems in exchange for treats.

Though many Germans are unhappy with Halloween’s growing popularity in Germany, retailers rejoice: Costumes go on sale in department stores and Halloween-themed candy shows up on supermarket shelves.  While in America Halloween costumes can depict just about anything – from princesses and dragons to movie characters, doctors, and vampires – in Germany costumes should be scary.  If you want to buy a pre-fab costume that is not horror-themed, check out the costume stores around Fasching (or Karneval, or Fastnacht) in February, Germany’s biggest costumed celebration.

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Origin of Halloween in Germany

Dieter Tschorn, a public relations consultant for the German Toy and Novelty Retailers Association, has named himself the father of German Halloween.  When the German government canceled Fasching celebrations in 1991 due to the Golf War, Tschorn says he introduced Halloween to Germany to make up for lost sales among costumers and other retailers.  “The industry was forced to find a way of making up the losses. Halloween was chosen,” he told Spiegel Online.

Whether Halloween’s growing popularity in Germany is due to Americanization or Tschorn’s marketing work, the number of Halloween-themed parties and events give the impression that it is here to stay.

Halloween parties and pumpkins

If you live in a big city, there may be neighborhoods or apartment buildings that organize informal trick-or-treating. By and large in Germany, Halloween is a holiday celebrated by adults at themed costume parties and clubs.

Early German Halloween Hats

Pumpkin Festivals are also a popular way to celebrate both the arrival of Fall and Halloween with the whole family. Finding carving pumpkins in Germany should be no problem: they are a part of many favorite seasonal meals, and you will find them in supermarkets and at farmers’ markets in abundance.

Halloween events in Germany

The oldest and most revered Halloween event in Germany takes place at Burg Frankenstein near Darmstadt.  Though whether or not the castle was actually the inspiration for Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, it is the perfect location for an appropriately chilling Halloween event.  Visitors are free to wander the ruins, while actors dressed as ghouls, ghosts, and other gruesome ceatures; flickering lights; and an uncanny soundtrack make the castle ruins feel like a truly haunted house.

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There are more notable Halloween events that happen annually in Germany.  The Movie Park Horror Fest has been, as of 2018, going on for 20 years.  Located north of Essen, this event has plenty of zombies, monsters, and mazes.  Finally, the Mayen Market “Festival of Magic” in the Eifel region includes a parade, pumpkin carving, costumes, and beer.  Recently even LEGOLAND began a Halloween event, and costumed children receive free park admission on October 31st.

Halloween and Reformation Day

October 31st is also the date of another German holiday, Reformationstag.  Reformation Day is a celebration of the reformation of the church, particularly for Lutherans, and is a public holiday in the German states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Survey: Majority of Germans want to abolish clock changes

Survey: Majority of Germans want to abolish clock changes

The clocks will go back one hour this weekend. But a new survey has found more than 80 percent of Germans are in favour of abolishing Daylight Saving Time (DST).

According to the survey carried out on behalf of the DAK health insurance company, 80 percent of respondents believe that turning the clocks back and forward is unnecessary and should be shelved.

More than every fourth person reports health problems during the changeover to winter time, the survey found.

This year the clocks are put back one hour during the night from Saturday to Sunday (October 27th to 28th), at 3am to be exact.

Technically daylight saving means an extra hour of light in the evening, while standard time means there is less darkness in the morning. The clocks ‘spring forward’ an hour in March and ‘fall back’ an hour in October, every year.

Some people argue that the time changes help save on energy costs as well as letting people enjoy the light more, but others say they would benefit from time remaining the same all year round.

 

In an online survey conducted by the EU Commission in August, 84 percent of respondents were in favour of abolishing the changing clocks and most people voted for permanent summer time.

As a consequence of the results, the EU Commission has proposed to end the time changes in Europe in 2019, and to leave it up to the member states to decide whether they want to have winter or summer time permanently.

“Many people suffer from the constant change,” said DAK board member Andreas Storm. According to the results of the DAK survey, 79 percent of those affected feel tired or flabby due to the clock changes.

More than half stated that they had problems falling asleep or lying awake in between, while poor concentration and irritability were also reported by respondents.

Every eleventh person even said that they experience a depressive mood.

A total of 3521 people from across Germany took part in the questionnaire conducted by Forsa for DAK from September 27th to October 13th.

Storm added that at the European level, the situation regarding time changes must be clarified before the European elections in May.

History of the clock change

Germany became the first country to implement Daylight Saving Time in 1916 during World War I.

On April 30th, clocks in the German Empire were set forward by one hour to start the world’s first DST period. However, the enthusiasm was short lived. Germany stopped doing it in 1919, and it wasn’t until 1980 that the practice started again.

Now most countries in Europe take part in the clock changes, as well as some around the world.

The time changeover in its current form was reintroduced in Germany in 1980 – with the aim of saving energy. Its success is controversial, with the European Commission reporting that energy savings are minimal.

The Physical Technical Federal Institute (PTB) in Braunschweig, which is responsible for the changeover in Germany, says getting rid of the clock change technically wouldn’t be a problem.

Any decision could be implemented by the PTB without considerable effort, it said after the EU-wide survey results were released earlier this year.

Top 10 Beers to Try in Germany

Germany’s passion for well-made, delicious beer is known the world over. Many German brewers still make beer in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot (Beer Purity Law) of 1516, which states that beer may only be made with water, barley and hops. (The existence of yeast was unknown at the time.)

It wasn’t even until 1993 that brewers were legally allowed to add yeast and malts to beer.

Germans are renowned for their beer for good reason, and any trip to Germany is incomplete without a sampling of these top 10 brews.

1. Weihenstephan Hefe Weissbier

Hefeweizen, a cloudy, Bavarian-style wheat brew, tops the list of beers to try. A light, yeasty sweetness (which some liken to bananas or bubblegum) makes it an extremely refreshing beer to drink before a meal or with a light dinner. As the oldest brewery in the world, Weihenstephan has been producing phenomenal hefeweizens since 1040.

2. Erdinger Kristall

Erdinger is the world’s largest wheat beer brewery, and Kristall is one of its best-loved beers. A crystal-clear version of the traditional Hefeweizen, Kristall is the perfect thirst quencher on hot summer days. Serve it with a lemon wedge and enjoy after a long bike ride.

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3. Spaten Oktoberfest

Traditionally brewed in March and served in Autumn, around the Oktoberfest celebration, Spaten Oktoberfest is a sweet, brown beer with a mildly malty taste and roasted notes. It’s surprisingly crisp for such a sweet beer but has a round, earthy finish. Spaten’s Oktoberfest is only available from August until October or November.

4. Aecht Schlenkeria Rauchbier

This beer is a little harder to find than most, but it’s well worth it if you can snag a bottle. The Schlenkeria brewery, located in the hills of Bamberg, was founded in 1405 and still brews this sweet, malty beer. Its distinctly smoky aroma – reminiscent of leather or even beef jerky – comes from exposing the malt to intense, aromatic beech smoke. You can best enjoy a glass with a hot meal served in the brewery’s beer garden.

5. Paulaner Salvator Doppel Bock

Paulaner is a major player in the German beer world, and their doppel bock is a fine example of this bottom-fermented beer. Darker and richer than a regular bock, doppel bock is full of big flavor, but still clean, with aromas of toasted spice, caramel and burnt sugar. Dark barley malt gives it its characteristically malty taste.

6. Schneider Weisse Aventinus Eisbock

Eisbock is a type of beer made by freezing off a portion of water in the brew and removing it. The resulting beer is super-concentrated, increasing its body, flavor and alcohol content. The Schneider Aventius is heavy and malty with nutty, caramel notes and a hint of ripe plum. It pairs extremely well with buttery cheeses like brie or gouda, as well as chocolate.

7. Augustiner Hell

Despite the name, this isn’t a place bad people go to roast, but an extremely cool beer made by the oldest brewery in Munich. Mild, sparkling, refreshing and dry, this easy-to-drink beer is a go-to for city dwellers, who grab a bottle from the local Späti (late night store) and wander the streets before heading to a party.

8. Gaffel Kölsch

If you’re ever in Cologne, you’ll see patrons at numerous outdoor cafés ordering round after round of Kölsch, a light, refreshing beer brewed only in and around the eponymous city. Less bitter than a pilsner, Kölsch is moderately hoppy and gently fruity. Don’t be surprised at the small 200 ml glasses in which it’s served – that’s the only way you’ll get it.

9. Berliner Kindl Weisse

A classic summer drink in Berlin, Berliner Weisse is a tart, tangy beer which gets its characteristic flavor from deliberately soured grains. It’s traditionally served in a large, boule-like glass and often colored green with a shot of sweet woodruff syrup or red with raspberry.

10. Radeberger Pils

A classic German pils in every way. This palatable beer is clean and refreshing and makes a nice, easy accompaniment to any meal. A predominant hop flavor gives the beer a verdant, herbal finish. Though there’s nothing out of the ordinary about this beer, it’s exactly on the list for this reason – because even the most standard of German beers is made to such high standards.

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Festivals in Germany in October

Oktoberfest from within tent

What’s on in Germany in the month of October? World-famous Oktoberfest continues through the first week, pumpkin boat races, the biggest book fair in Germany, and a festival of lights in Berlin…just to name a few highlights.

This is the end of tourist season so expect transport, attraction, and accommodation prices to go down. The weather remains unpredictable in autumn, so pack that scarf, umbrella, and t-shirt.

Check out our list of the best German festivals, events, and holidays in October.

Oktoberfest Hacker Pschorr beer tent Oktoberfest in Munich is the highlight of Germany’s festival calendar. Every September and October, over 6.4 million visitors from around the world mingle with locals to celebrate Bavarianculture, cuisine, and – of course – beer.

During Oktoberfest, everyone is a bit German. Sing the beloved beer hallsongs, ride the riesenrad (Ferris Wheel) and dance on the tables.

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival

Germany has the largest pumpkin festival in the world. There are 450,000 pumpkins on display, plus chainsaw carving competitions, pumpkin boats races, pumpkins on the menu, and giant pumpkins getting smashed – all with the backdrop of an elegant palace.

 

Stuttgart Spring Festival

The Cannstatter Wasen started as an autumn fair in 1818 and quickly became one of the leading beer festivals in Germany. Celebrate autumn with Swabian food, beer and wine, and bring the family for Oompah bands, parades, roller coasters, and the world’s largest mobile Ferris wheel.

 

Staufenberg Castle in the Black Forest of the Freiburg region

The German Wine Route has many wine festivals throughout the year with Deutsches Weinlesefest (German Wine Harvesting Festival) happening in October. This is the site of Germany’s largest wine festival parade with more than 100,000 visitors. It is also the second largest wine festival in the world, after the nearby Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt.

A wine queen and princess are crowned and visitors drink out of goblets known as dubbeglas, regional 50 cl glasses suited for wines of the Palatinate region.

Brandenburg Gate at sunset

RICOWde / Getty Images

October 3rd is Tag der deutschen Einheit (Day of German Unity) and celebrates the country’s reunification in 1990.

This is a national holiday and almost every German city celebrates October 3rd, but the best open-air festivities are held in a different German city each year. The party in 2018 will be held at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the national symbol of Germany.

 

Berlin festival of lights
 GettyImages / Thomas Kurmeier

During the Festival of Lights, more than 45 of Berlin’s most iconic landmarks and historic buildings are illuminated from 7 p.m. until 1 a.m. every night.

The festival features laser light shows and projections that transform sites like the Berlin TV TowerMuseum Island, the Brandenburg Gate, and many more of the city’s top sites into mystical visions. Special “lightseeing tours” are offered by bus, boat, or bicycle.

 

Frankfurt Book Fair
GettyImages / Hannelore Foerster

Frankfurter Buchmesse is the world’s largest trade fair for books. It is the place to be for book lovers, publishers, translators, and authors.

This year marks its 70th anniversary and they expect 286,000 visitors to peruse over 400,000 books from 100 countries.

During the week, the book fair is only open to accredited trade-visitors, but come on the last weekend of the fair, when everybody can take a peek into the international world of media. Enjoy readings, exhibitions, concerts, and films alongside the presentation of books.

 

Castle Church door in Wittenberg
GettyImages / Matthias Graber

On October 31st, Germans do not traditionally celebrate Halloween, they commemorate the religious holiday of Reformationstag (“Day of Reformation”).

Reformation Day dates back to 1517 when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the Wittenberg Castle Church door. This action brought forth the Protestant Reformation and massive changes in the church and society.

Events on Reformation Day are subdued, but the recent 500-year-anniversary was cause for celebration and most of Germany enjoyed the public holiday.

 

 

 

 

Weed in Germany: The Latest Laws You Need to Know

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With the move towards the legalization of cannabis worldwide, many people are left confused as to what the laws are in different countries concerning weed – especially visitors. Today we will tackle Germany and the latest legal status of weed there. Stay tuned to future blogs for info on other destinations.

According to the most recent World Drug Report, marijuana is consumed, cultivated, and trafficked more than any other drug in the world. Its popularity is certainly undeniable. But, its legal status has been heavily debated for years.

A lot of countries are on the fence about legalizing marijuana for recreational use. But, more research is being produced every year about the medicinal benefits of marijuana. Many people have come around to supporting its legalization for medicinal purposes thanks to this research.

Medical weed laws in Germany

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After much debate, the German parliament passed a law legalizing medical marijuana in January 2017. Don’t try to run off to a pharmacy just yet, though. There are some important details you need to know about that law:

1. Is the law in effect now?

The law legalizing medical marijuana went into effect in March of 2017.

2. What was the law like before?

Germans used to only be allowed to use cannabis for medicinal purposes in rare cases. The bar was set fairly high. And, patients had to go through a rigorous application process before they were legally allowed to use the drug.

Only about 1,000 people received permission to use medical weed in Germany prior to parliament’s ruling. Some people even died while waiting for their request to be processed. And, those who did get approval also had to cover the costs of treatment themselves.

3. Who can use marijuana under the current law?

Now, medical marijuana can be prescribed by a physician for any patient who is deemed “seriously ill.”

The law is not entirely clear on what “seriously ill” means. People can currently receive a medical marijuana prescription for many conditions, including:

Doctors can also write medical cannabis prescriptions if they see a possibility of that prescription having a positive effect on the patient. But, only those whose condition is deemed “severe” by public insurers will receive reimbursements.

It is important to note that not just anyone in Germany can have access to medical marijuana. Germany’s guidelines are must stricter than those in the United States. Doctors in Germany are very dedicated to making sure marijuana is only used for medicinal purposes.

4. Where can you get medical marijuana in Germany?

To get weed in Germany, patients must go through pharmacies to get medical marijuana. There are no dispensaries like there are in the United States. Doctors will also specify which type of cannabis a patient is allowed to use.

Experts have said that most doctors will likely prescribe their patients vaporizersCBD oil, or THC drops instead of smoking and edible options. However, pharmacies are allowed to sell cannabis in dried bud form as well, on top of these other options.

5. Is it available to tourists?

Unless they have a prescription from a German doctor, which is pretty unlikely, weed in Germany is not available to tourists. Doctors are very strict about who can have a medical marijuana prescription.

6. How is medical marijuana produced and regulated?

Germans aren’t yet growing their own weed — at least not legally. But, plans for domestic cultivation are in the works. So are plans for regulating that cultivation.

The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices is responsible for establishing a cannabis agency in Germany. The agency will be in charge of regulating the way medical cannabis is cultivated, manufactured, and sold at pharmacies.

Germany has plans to start producing its own cannabis by 2019. Until then, it is being imported from Canada and the Netherlands. The agency will also soon start accepting bids from companies in the European Union that want to expand into the German market.

The amount of cannabis imported to Germany has increased dramatically over the years.

In 2016, Germany imported 170 kilograms of cannabis. This is nearly double the amount it brought in in 2015 — 93 kilograms. The amount of cannabis that Germany has imported from other countries will surely increase even more in response to the new law.

7. Can medical marijuana users grow their own weed in Germany?

Currently, patients are not allowed to grow their own weed. German officials want to be sure that patients are only using pharmaceutical-grade marijuana. They’ve argued that the same quality cannot be guaranteed when weed is grown at home by amateurs.

8. How much weed are patients allowed to possess?

About 90 percent of patients are covered by public health insurance. These patients can have up to about 140 grams of medical marijuana per month.

As of June 2017, over a thousand patients had registered and were using medical marijuana. It’s anticipated that an additional 5,000 to 10,000 people will join in each year.

9. How does the law affect prices?

In addition to making medical marijuana more accessible, the new law also makes it more affordable. Before the legality of medical weed in Germany was expanded, 28 grams cost around 1700 euros. Now, the price has gone down to about 10 euros per gram.

What about recreational weed?

Current marijuana laws do not allow recreational weed in Germany. But, individuals can technically possess a limited amount without being prosecuted. Right now, that amount is between 3-5 grams in most states and up to 15 grams in Berlin.

Is a law for recreational weed in Germany in the works?

There currently is no federal proposal to fully legalize weed. But, the capital of western state North Rhine-Westphalia is planning a pilot project to sell recreational cannabis to adults.

Some politicians have proposed legalizing weed as a way to bring in additional funds. But, a 2014 poll found that only 30 percent of people supported the full legalization of marijuana. Eighty percent supported it being legalized for medicinal purposes.

What are the arguments against recreational weed?

The general consensus about recreational weed is that there is not yet enough research available on the long-term effects of marijuana to justify legalizing it for recreational use. Politicians want more time to see how people respond to marijuana. They also want to figure out the best ways to regulate it.

Is it legal to buy cannabis seeds in Germany?

It is legal to buy cannabis seeds, with two caveats.

Image result for pictures of medicinal cannabis seeds

First, the seeds must be purchased from a seed bank located in the Netherlands, like Weed Seed Shop. Second, they cannot be purchased for the purpose of cultivation. If a person is caught illicitly cultivating their own cannabis, they can face up to 5 years’ imprisonment or a fine.

Is weed popular in Germany?

Much of the German population does not currently smoke weed regularly. A 2015 study found that 18 percent of men aged 15-24 reported using cannabis, compared to 10 percent of women in the same age group.

At the same time, the 2016 European Drug Report found that nearly a quarter of the German population has tried marijuana at least once.

How does Germany compare to other countries?

As far as other European countries are concerned, Germany sits somewhere in the middle when it comes to its attitude toward cannabis.

Countries like Spain and the Netherlands have incredibly relaxed cannabis laws. They even hold massive events for enthusiasts. At the same time, countries like Latvia are much stricter.

Many countries throughout Europe support decriminalization of marijuana and its legalization for medical use. But they’re less supportive when it comes to recreational use. It’s expected that this will change over time, though, as more and more countries throughout the world start to fully legalize cannabis.

Benefits of medical marijuana

Many doctors in Germany are thrilled that they are now able to prescribe marijuana to their patients legally. These doctors have good reason to be excited, too. Marijuana provides a variety of medicinal benefits.

Some conditions that marijuana has been proven to treat include:

  • Eye pressure from glaucoma
  • Joint pain from arthritis
  • Epileptic seizures
  • Pain from Multiple sclerosis
  • Tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease
  • Inflammation from Crohn’s and other inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Anxiety
  • Pain and nausea from chemotherapy

Better than opioids

Marijuana doesn’t just treat a variety of illnesses. It has also been proven to help with the withdrawal symptoms that opioid addicts are suffering from.

Europe has seen a frightening increase in deaths related to opioid overdoses. In 2015, 15 percent of those deaths were in Germany (a nine percent increase from 2014. The only country with a higher percentage was Britain, with 31 percent.

The legalization of weed in Germany will hopefully decrease the number of overdose-related deaths in the country.

Cannabis can actually be prescribed to treat a number of the same conditions as prescription painkillers. It can also be used to treat opioid addiction. Studies have shown that cannabis helps minimize withdrawal symptoms and reduces cravings.

Why vaping and drops over smoking?

As stated above, doctors in Germany are more likely to have their patients vaporizing marijuana or consume it as an oil, rather than having them smoke it or consume it through edibles. There are a lot of reasons for this distinction.

1. Fewer health risks

Smoking marijuana can be harmful to your lungs — although it’s not as harmful as tobacco. Vaporizing, on the other hand, allows you to get the same effects as smoking would, without exposing you to any actual smoke. A vaporizer only heats the product, it doesn’t actually burn it.

Cannabis oil and CBD oil also have the benefit of not harming your lungs. And the fact that, unlike vaping, it doesn’t even look like smoking is an extra benefit that makes it possible to prescribe to children and the elderly.

Image result for pictures of medicinal cannabis

2. Easier dosing

People who don’t enjoy smoking or vaping often turn to edibles as a way to consume marijuana. While there are benefits that come with using edibles, the correct dosage can be more difficult to figure out.

This can be explained by the fact that marijuana is absorbed much more slowly by the stomach than it is by the lungs. Its effects can be delayed by up to an hour, and absorption tends to be uneven. This is because cannabinoids are metabolized by the liver before they enter the bloodstream.

So, edibles are often inefficient and not the best method for those looking for pain relief or other medicinal benefits.

The lungs absorb cannabinoids in a matter of seconds, which is why vaporizing can lead to almost instant relief for patients. It’s also easier to control dosing through vaporizing, because patients can simply stop inhaling once the desired effect has been achieved.

3. No psychoactive properties

There are two main cannabinoids present in marijuana: THC and CBD.

THC is the primary psychoactive component of marijuana, and it interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain. These receptors exist in the central nervous and immune systems, respectively. They influence things like pleasure, appetite, memory, concentration, and pain sensations.

CBD, on the other hand, does not have psychoactive properties. Instead, it has a calming effect and interacts with receptors like serotonin and adenosine. These receptors regulate the body’s temperature, pain sensations, and inflammation.

Because of the positive effects of CBD, CBD oil is often considered to be a better option for people who struggle with anxiety, or are simply avoiding the psychoactive properties of THC. CBD oil’s anti-inflammatory properties also make it ideal for people with arthritis.

Key takeaways

Marijuana provides a number of medicinal benefits. Now, Germany’s citizens are able to experience those benefits.

The jury’s still out on recreational use for weed in Germany. But, the fact that so many people there can now experience relief from pain and other ailments is something that should be celebrated!

..ooOoo..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

German man calls police because he was being chased by baby squirrel

When a patrol was sent to the scene to investigate, they did not have too much trouble diffusing the situation.

Karl-Friedrich the squirrel was rescued by police in the German city of Karlsruhe

Karl-Friedrich the squirrel was rescued by police in the German city of Karlsruhe ( Karlsruhe Police )

German man resorted to calling a police emergency number because he was being chased by a baby squirrel.

Officers in the city of Karlsruhe were sent to help the man after he became exasperated that he could not shake off the tiny rodent.    

However, when a patrol was sent to the scene to investigate on Thursday morning, they did not have too much trouble diffusing the situation.

Karl-Friedrich was taken in by police, who provided care for him until he was later taken to a rescue centre.

Orphaned baby squirrels can often exhibit strange behaviour, such as a lack of instinctual fear.

police spokesperson said officers were able to catch the infant red squirrel after it fell asleep from exhaustion from the chase.

“The squirrel has fallen asleep because of the horror,” police jokingly wrote in their report of the incident.

Officers appeared to have grown attached to the animal, which they named Karl-Friedrich, adding in their account of events he had become “a new mascot”.

 

Karl-Friedrich was not the only squirrel to hit the headlines in Germany for a run-in with the law in recent weeks.

In July, a man in Bonn called police after he heard noises coming from his basement, fearing there was an intruder inside the home.

However, when officers attended the scene to investigate, they discovered the commotion was being caused by a squirrel, according to Deutsche Welle.

Police later named that animal David Haselnuss, a pun on the actor David Hasselhoff’s name using the German word for hazelnut.

xxXxx

Author :  Tom Barnes @thomas_barnes