What’s a Räuchermann?

“Räuchermann” translates to “smoking manikin” or “incense smoker” and – just like the Schwibbogen – is a famous part of German Christmas decorations. It also has its origins in the Ore Mountains, although its tradition is younger than the one of Schwibbögen: Räuchermänner (plural) – or, in the Ore Mountain dialect, “Raachermannel” – were first mentioned in 1850. The small wooden figurines, which are elaborately designed, crafted and also often painted by hand, are hollow on the inside. A cone of incense (“Räucherkerze”) is lighted and then set into the hollowed out part. From there, the smoke travels through the […]

What’s a „Schwibbogen“?
Discover the history on our excursion!

Every year, during the Advent time, decorative candle-holders appear in people’s windows. The so called “Schwibbogen” (“flying buttress”) is a tradition that has its origin in the Ore Mountains and it wasn’t directly connected to Christmas at first. Initially, the Schwibbögen were made of metal and put onto the windowsill to guide the minders home during the darker seasons. Even today, although the mines are mostly used for touristic purposes now, the Schwibbögen can be seen in almost every window in the Ore Mountain region. The word “Schwibbogen” comes from “Schwebebogen” (“floating arch”) which describes an architectural element that looks […]

Non-working Buß und Bettag, but only in Saxony!

Public holidays in Germany are not determined at a national level. Each of the 16 federal states is in charge of making its own decisions when it comes to allowing workers to stay home. In contrast to all of the other 15 states in Germany, here in Saxony you are officially not going to work on the Wednesday, 22 November, and here is why you don’t have to get up early: The German Buß- und Bettag stands for the day of repentance and prayer and has its origins in the very human nature of searching for divine intervention during times […]

“MOVE IT!”?
Go and watch it!

Once the last summer days have passed and the nights become longer – and the weather not as nice – it’s the perfect time to enjoy good movies. For us, a good movie should be entertaining, but it should also provide something to think about. Do you agree? Great, then we’d like to introduce you to the “MOVE IT! Filmfestival”. The festival The festival’s focus is what makes it so special: Since 2004, the latest national and international documentary and feature films relating to topics of human rights and development are shown. It was founded by Akifra e.V., an organization […]

Reformation Day

31 October: This day is a religious holiday celebrated by Protestants – usually alongside Halloween. It’s a holiday commemorating Martin Luther who – as it is widely believed – nailed 95 theses on the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg on 31 October 1517. With these theses, he demanded the reformation of the church – and laid the ground stone for the Protestant religion. This year is the 500th anniversary Usually, this holiday is not celebrated annually by all German federal states. This year, in celebration of the 500th anniversary, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, […]

Day of German Unity
Tag der Deutschen Einheit

The third of October, which will be a Tuesday this year, is a very emotional day for every German because it brings them back to the years 1989/90 and how Germany was reunited again after 40 years of living in two separate countries. After the second World War, Germany was divided into four military sectors , which were controlled each by the United Kingdom, The Soviet Union, France and the United States. In 1949 the free western sectors united and the Federal Republic of Germany was founded. In the same year the eastern sector was transformed in the German Democratic […]

The SemperOperaball
– the most beautiful night of the year

In the end of January or the beginning of February every year, the Semper Opera turns into the setting of one of the most prestigious and important European ballroom events. To hold a ball in the Dresden opera house has a long tradition. Already from 1925 until 1939, the Semper Opera was host of such glorious events, even though back then, you could also hear Jazz being played – along with the traditional classic music and Waltz. After the war, there had been plans to re-establish the ball, however the huge demolitions and the government made the undertaking impossible. Since […]

What’s a “Herrnhuter Stern”?

If you already had the chance to stroll through Dresden’s well known „Striezelmarkt“, you might have noticed the beautiful stars hanging from Christmas trees or sales stands. With their many points enlightened in the dark, they literally look like a sparkling star in the sky. You may have also noticed – if you visited the Welcome Center recently – that there’s such a star above our entrance now. Those specifically formed artworks have a long tradition in Germany and especially in Saxony, as they have their origin in the Saxon city of Nisky. They were first made in a boy’s […]

„Let’s have coffee“

Even if you’ve just come to Germany, you’ve probably already realized we’re a country that loves coffee. The stereotype says, that all Germans love to drink beer – and while that’s partly true – we love coffee even more. There won’t be a day when you don’t see someone taking a sip from a takeaway cup of coffee in the streets and no lunch break is complete without a coffee afterwards. The tradition of drinking coffee in Germany begins in the 17th century. The first coffee houses opened in Bremen and Hamburg – the big seaports where the coffee arrived. […]

The Grand Garden – Dresden’s green lung

Dresden is a beautiful place to be but in some ways it’s also just like any other city – loud and hectic. To escape all of that, you don’t have to leave the city’s borders: Within walking distance to the city center you can find the Grand Garden with beautiful flowerbeds and picturesque alleyways through extensive meadows and forests. It’s the perfect location to relax – and more than just that. The Grand Garden isn’t just a simple public park. It stands in Dresden’s centuries-old tradition of landscaping and gardening and is one of the most important garden estates in […]