Where to celebrate Gay Pride 2019 in Germany

Emphatic, expressive and euphoric, 2019's Pride will be anything but boring.

Where to celebrate Gay Pride 2019 in Germany
Photo: DPA.

2019 marks 50 years since the Stonewall uprising when homophobic police attacks at Stonewall Inn in Manhattan’s Greenwich triggered riots about persistent discrimination against homosexuals in the US.

The protests, juxtaposed by significant sociocultural and political transformation in the form of the Civil Rights and counter-cultural movements of the 1960s, gathered momentum and cultivated the formation of an international gay rights movement, now known as Gay Pride.

50 years after this milestone, Pride events globally seek to continue the protests as well as celebrations.

Pride celebrations in Germany are commonly referred to as 'Christopher Street Day,' or 'CSD,' in remembrance of the street on which Stonewall Inn stood. For certain German cities, 2019 marks 40 years since their first pride celebrations. On June 30th, 1979 the Gay Freedom Day took place on June 30th 1979 in Berlin and Cologne.

Pride is a jubilant occasion. However, the ever-important struggle and message behind the event should not be forgotten.

Whilst Germany is widely considered gay-friendly and same sex marriage was legalized in 2017, attacks against openly gay individuals in Germany rose by a third in 2018. Moreover, although there have been calls for a ban, gay conversion therapy remains legal in Germany. As such, Pride in Germany will  focus on political protest as well as festivities.

Cologne, June 22nd-July 7th

Revellers celebrate in front of Cologne's famous Cathedral. Photo: DPA.

Cologne frequently hits headlines for its popular Pride parties, with 1.2 million supporters showing up in 2018. This year's CSD motto is '50 Years of Pride- Many, Together, Strong!' and certainly many people will be in Cologne this year to support and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community in the self-titled 'Gay Capital' of Germany.

With a dynamic range of events, from talks on issues such as coming out in the office, conversations with contemporary witnesses from the Stonewall uprising, as well as a number of film screenings and musical performances, Cologne CSD is certain to be as informative as it will be fun.

Cologne’s official opening party is on July 5th, though a two-week programme of events actually started on June 22nd. Be sure to check out the Cologne Pride Parade on Saturday, July 6th and head to one of the city’s many closing parties afterwards.

Munich, July 6th-14th

Though Bavaria is Germany’s most conservative Bundesland (state), the state’s capital offers a well-rounded programme of CSD festivities. Over the course of nine days, the city will put on over 60 events to celebrate and give the spotlight to the LGBTQ+ community.

A demonstration led by the mayor which starts and ends in a street festival in Marienplatz on July 13th will be the highlight of the nine days. In the evening, revellers will see the famous City Hall transformed into an enormous party location.

For this year’s motto, Munich CSD have chosen ’50 years Stonewall- celebrate diversity! Fight for equality!’

Stuttgart, July 12th-28th

Kulturtage’ (culture days) in Stuttgart between July 12th and 28th make up bulk of Pride proceedings with a number of political and social discussions alongside film screenings, themed evenings, cabaret and theatre shows, city tours and religious services.

Stuttgart’s Pride Parade is certain to be a magnificently flamboyant and thought-provoking display considering the competition for best participant. Participants will be judged on their political message, creativity and execution. 

Frankfurt, July 18th-July 21st

Frankfurt CSD offers a colourful programme with an open-air disco and karaoke events, in addition to the ever-important Pride parade. The whole city will be decked in rainbow colours for 2019’s CSD festivities as the city has now implemented a rainbow-decorated tram with the slogan “my body, my identity, my life,” on the side.

Berlin, July 19th-July 27th





Wir widmen den 41.CSD Berlin (27.Juli 2019) den Aktivist*innen der LSBTTIQ*-Geschichte. Audre Lorde, Brenda Howard, Karl-Heinrich Ulrichs, Lili Elbe und Marsha P. Johnson sind die Gesichter des 41. CSD Berlin. Mehr dazu auf unserer neuen Website, Link in Bio. Die fünf ausgewählten Porträts stehen stellvertretend für die unzähligen Aktivist*innen, die mit ihrem Kampf um Selbstbestimmung die Community und das Leben aller Lesben, Schwulen, Bisexuellen, Trans*, Inter* und anderer queerer Menschen (LSBTTIQ*) geprägt haben. Vorstand Berliner CSD e.V.: „Ein halbes Jahrhundert nach den Aufständen im Stonewall Inn würdigen wir diejenigen, die mit ihrem mutigen Widerstand gegen Polizeigewalt damals die Stonewall-Krawalle ausgelöst und die Entwicklung einer weltweiten LSBTTIQ*-Emanzipationsbewegung angestoßen haben. Mit unserer Kampagne wollen wir den Fokus aber zeitlich erweitern, denn es sind die vielen leisen und lauten, die bekannten wie die weniger bekannten Aktivist*innen, die den andauernden Kampf um Gleichberechtigung der LSBTTIQ*-Community geprägt haben. Ohne sie gäbe es sogar die bis heute errungenen Meilensteine wahrscheinlich noch gar nicht, sei es nun die Ehe für Alle oder das Dritte Geschlecht.“ . Idee und Umsetzung der Motto-Kampagne sowie der Relaunch der CSD Berlin Website erfolgte in Zusammenarbeit mit . . . #audrelorde #marshapjohnson #lilielbe #karlheinrichulrichs #brendahoward #csdberlin2019 #csdberlin #berlinpride

A post shared by CSD Berlin PRIDE ( on May 13, 2019 at 1:36am PDT

Berlin has long been the beating heart of Germany’s gay scene and the capital’s Pride celebrations certainly reflect this with CSD day attendance numbers hitting 500,000 per year. Concentrating in Berlin’s main gay area of Schöneberg, a number of parties and activities will take place around Nollendorfplatz between July 19th and 21st.

Celebrations culminate on July 27th with a parade starting at 12 pm from Kurfürstendamm/Joachimshaler Straße and ending at the Brandenburg Gate. Berlin's CSD parade is an unmissable event. Rather than floats, trucks and lorries lead the parade with anything from political parties to boozy parties on board. Even after the parade has ended, artists and bands performing at the main stage by the Brandenburg Gate will continue the party into the night.

This year’s Berlin CSD commemorates five key figures in LGBTQ+ history to remind of the past and future struggle for LGBTQ+ communities. With the defiant motto ‘every riot starts with your voice,’ Berlin pride will certainly be a loud event.

Hamburg, July 27th- August 4th





Da ist sie: die Kampagne zu unserem CSD-Motto „Grundsätzlich gleich – für eine bessere Verfassung“! Wir fordern damit, das Diskriminierungsverbot im Grundgesetz um die Merkmale sexuelle Orientierung und geschlechtliche Identität zu ergänzen. Denn sie fehlen bis heute in Artikel 3, Absatz 3. Doch die Welt ist nicht ausschließlich hetero oder cis – und alle Menschen werden gleich an Rechten geboren, unabhängig davon, welchem Geschlecht sie sich zugehörig fühlen und welche sexuelle Orientierung sie haben. Alle Menschen sind gleich – und trotzdem individuell: Dass soll die gezeigte Brustwarze symbolisieren. Sie steht nicht nur für menschliches Leben, sondern auch für Erotik und Sexualität – Themen, die immer noch mit vielen Tabus behaftet sind und auch beim CSD eine große Rolle spielen. Denn Sexualität ist eben auch politisch. Wenn alle Menschen gleich sind, muss auch das Grundgesetz alle Menschen in gleicher Weise vor Diskriminierung schützen. Dafür gehen wir am 3. August in Hamburg auf die Straße. #hamburgpride #csdhamburg #grundgesetz #artikel3 #lgbtiq #nippel

A post shared by Hamburg Pride e.V. (@hamburg_pride) on May 11, 2019 at 10:32am PDT


The Hamburg pride website emphazises that its pride programme is ‘as diverse as the LGBTQ+ community itself.’

This year, event organizers have chosen to highlight the need to continue to fight for the expansion of rights for the LGBTQ+ community in Germany, with Hamburg's CSD motto being ‘fundamentally the same – for a better constitution (Grundsätzlich gleich – für eine bessere Verfassung)”. This slogan alludes to the continued lack of fundamental rights for the LGBTQ+ community within Article 3 of the German constitution.

Whilst Article 3 explicitly protects against other forms of discrimination, such as racism, sexism and disablism, there is no legal protection against discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals.

Events in Hamburg kick off on July 27th, with the main demonstration and street festival taking place in early August. If you head to Hamburg for pride this year, don’t forget to check out Hamburg’s relatively new Pride House, which is open year-round, where many events will take place.

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How Cologne is preparing for the start of Carnival on Friday

Dressing up, singing, and drinking: On Friday, countless Jecken (revelers) in Cologne will once again celebrate the start of the Carnival session.

How Cologne is preparing for the start of Carnival on Friday

Dubbed Germany’s “fifth season” by locals, the event starts every year on November 11th at 11:11 am, and typically stretches into February or March, when colourful parades spill into the streets.

Carnival stronghold Cologne in particular is preparing for the onslaught of tens of thousands of people who will flock to its Altstadt (old town), and especially to the student quarter, starting early Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: 10 unmissable events in Germany this November

“Far too many people want to celebrate in far too small a space,” city director Andrea Blome told DPA. “We can’t stop anyone from coming to Cologne now.” 

More security this year

In the popular Kwartier Latäng student quarter, there have been regular bouts of drinking by young partygoers in the past, who crowded into a confined space, leaving litter everywhere and publicly peeing on the corners of buildings. 

Google Maps shows the location of the so-called Kwartier Latäng part of Cologne.

But with a new security plan, the city and police hope to keep the situation under control.

Several checkpoints and road closures have been set up to secure the safety of the revelers and relieve the burden on worried residents, according to Blome. Visitors will only be able to enter the closed-off area around Zülpicher Straße via a single access point. 

On Friday, Cologne is also set to send a total of 150 employees from the Ordnungsamt (public order office) onto the streets, who will be supported by 520 private security guards. 

A glass ban will again apply in the celebration zones, and several hundred toilets will be set up at the hotspots, “which nevertheless will probably not be used by all visitors,” Blome predicted.

READ ALSO: 10 words you need to know at Cologne’s Carnival

Up to 1,100 police officers are expected to be on duty on the day – about 200 fewer than last year, said head of operations Rüdiger Fink. But he expected to keep the situation “under control with a new security plan.”

What to expect

On Cologne’s Heumarkt, there will be a stage program all day with bands such as the Bläck Fööss, the Paveiern and Brings. 

Google Maps shows Cologne’s Heumarkt along the Rhine River.

According to the Willi Ostermann Society, about 10,000 tickets were sold in advance for the event, which will be aired by German WDR for several hours.

Meanwhile, in Düsseldorf, the day will start at 11:11 a.m. with the “Hoppeditz Awakening” in front of City Hall. 

According to a spokesman, the police will be adequately prepared for the start of the season, with a particular focus on the Altstadt, where there will certainly be celebrations.

“But 11.11. is a very different event here in Düsseldorf than in Cologne,” he said, referring to a more orderly start and fewer guests.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about celebrating Carnival in Germany