Christmas is in the air: Bonn Christmas market has opened

Christmas is in the air : Bonn Christmas market has opened

It’s official: the Bonn Christmas market is open, bringing the magic of the Advent season to the city with wooden stalls, special lighting, and beautiful Christmas decorations. Security is also key since the events that took place in Berlin in 2016.

It's Friday morning. At the Christmas market in the city center of Bonn, people are still busy hammering and drilling. One stand lacks the right bolts to securely fasten shelves. At another booth the door cannot be closed properly, and at the next stand, they are struggling with the power cable, which is too short.

It is hectic. As the district mayor Brigitta Poppe-Reiners officially opens the Bonner Christmas market with the Endenich men’s choir at 5 p.m. at the Sterntor, all the work is done and the Christmas market looks wonderful.

The scent of mulled wine, potato pancakes and roasted almonds has been spreading over Friedens-, Bottler- and Münsterplatz since lunchtime. These are the public squares where most of the nearly 180 stalls are located.

The stands have been open since 11 am. Some merchants have not yet unpacked all their wares, and already customers are waiting. Alexa Oertel and Hedi Bergs from Aachen have been in Bonn with their stand for 20 years now.

They offer fragrant oils and high-quality soaps made from purely natural ingredients. The soaps come partly from France, the funny Cup Cakes from a soap manufacturer in Wuppertal. "We only sell goods from Europe," assures Alexa Oertel. Why aren't they at the Christmas market in their hometown? "We took over the stand from a friend.

We think it's very nice in Bonn," says Hedi Bergs. We spend the night in Kessenich with a good friend. The two women get the living room and guest sofa for the four weeks of the Christmas market, and this has been going on for many years now.

”Going back to Aachen every evening is too exhausting for us," says Alexa Oertel. Instead, they are happy to be able to cycle every morning from Kessenich past the traffic jam to the Christmas market magic in the city. “And sometimes our host even cooks for us in the evening.”

Right next door, Cornelia and Ira Bartell are busy preparing the jewelry display in their stand. The couple lives in Cologne and they are at the Christmas market in Bonn for the first time. "We are very excited to see how it goes," says Cornelia Bartell. Her husband Ira comes from the USA.

"The German Christmas markets are really special", he lauds, "we don’t have them like that in my home country". The sad reality in this country for some years now has been that the Christmas markets -- just like the one in Bonn -- have been heavily safeguarded for protection.

The background is the attack in Berlin in 2016, when a perpetrator crashed with a truck into the market at the Berlin Gedächtnis Church and killed twelve people. Markus Schmitz of the municipal press office reports that massive concrete blocks and, in some cases, large vehicles such as buses have been put in place to prevent access to the public squares in Bonn since then. Police and security services are also on location at focal points on Münsterplatz and Bottlerplatz.

A private security service is on duty at night. In the course of the discussions about more security, it was also considered to install mobile bollards at the entrances to the pedestrian zones. Tests had shown, however, that this would be "very complicated and costly and would also have massive disadvantages for everyday use, especially for fire brigades and rescue services", explains Schmitz.

The thought was that such a measure should only be taken if the police risk assessment would indicate a concrete danger. At the moment, this was not the case and the security measures in place were deemed appropriate. The Christmas market is open through December 23, daily from 11 a.m.. Only on this Sunday will the stands be closed in observance of the day to commemorate the dead. Further information and more photos can be found at www.ga-bonn.de Orig. text: Lisa inhoffen Translation: Carol Kloeppel