Germany 2015: A Year Of Celebrations

with Caroline Booth

Germany has much to celebrate in 2015, and to spread the word the German National Tourist Office hosted n informative luncheon at the Arcadian Loft in downtown Toronto last week. Joining the Tourist Office were representatives from various regional and product partners who had flown in from Germany for the occasion.

The most notable event this year is the 25th anniversary of Germany's reunification, which follows last year's 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The reunification celebration will take place in Frankfurt October 2nd thru 4th, overlapping Germany's National Holiday on October 3rd. Plans for the weekend include formal ceremonies throughout the downtown area as well as entertainment and vendor booths offering local and regional arts and crafts. Each of Germany's 16 Federal States will present special exhibits highlighting various regional festivals, customs, music and historic events. It is expected that close to a million guests will take part in the festivities.

One city of particular significance to the country's reunification is Leipzig, located in the eastern state of Saxony. Little known abroad is that Leipzig is where the Peaceful Revolution began on October 9th, 1989, when 70,000 people marched in protest of the GDR. News of the demonstration spread quickly throughout the whole of Germany and 1 month later saw the fall of the Wall. Each year since then, Leipzig has celebrated October 9th with a Festival of Lights, which will be on a much grander scale this year.

Southwest of Leipzig is Stuttgart. The city came to fame as the birthplace of Mr. Karl Benz and is where his motorcar invention was created. This year the Mercedes Benz museum celebrates 128 years of automotive history. Celebrations in this city include a wine festival in August and the Stuttgart Beer Festival in October. Interesting to note – it's the 2nd largest of its kind - after Munich's Oktoberfest.

In the northwest are the sister cities Bremen & Bremerhaven, once Europe's most important immigration port. At the new Harbour Worlds complex visitors can explore the Climate House Bremerhaven 8° East, the Zoo at the Sea and the German Maritime museum.

In hotel news, 2015 marks the 85th anniversary of the Steigenberger Hotel Group with 73 properties in Germany alone (and headquartered there too) 90 worldwide and 17 more in development. To celebrate they are offering a 15% discount on all reservations made in April for stays through the remainder of the year.

Access to all of these celebrations and attractions is a cinch when arriving via FRA. Hop on a train and be in downtown Frankfurt in 12 minutes, the River Rhine in 40 minutes and the Cologne Cathedral in 50. Talk about speedy!

Those arriving via MUC will find celebrations here too having just recently been recognized as Europe's 1st 5 star airport, and voted 3rd best airport worldwide. It's a very modern facility and offers a stress free environment for travellers. Fancy a nap between flights? Napcabs (sleeping cabins) are available for €15-20. Got time for a beer? Pull up a chair in the beer garden at Airbräu, the world's only airport brewery. Up for some physical fun? Have a go at surfing in the wave pool or squeeze in a workout at the wellness centre. With amenities like these one might be tempted to stay for a while… a very long while. But don't forget – there's a whole country out there ready to be explored, and it's ready to celebrate.

L-R: Brigit Albicker-Rimpel, Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts; Angela Geissler, Munich Airport; Wolfgang Gartner, Tourism Marketing Company Saxony; Nicole-Joy Henzler, Stuttgart-Marketing GmbH; Susan Rientiz, Bremerhaven Tourist Board; Antje Splettstoesser, Marketing & Sales, German National Tourist Office Canada; Carina Schumacher, PR Manager German National Tourist Office Canada; Steffi Gretsceh, Leipzig Tourism; Stefan Kopp, Frankfurt Airport

(will not be published)