IN PICTURES: Germany embraces cold snap amid warnings over icy waterways

People across Germany have been making the most of the winter weather - but emergency services have warned against walking on frozen waterways. Now the big thaw is set to come.

IN PICTURES: Germany embraces cold snap amid warnings over icy waterways
Ice skaters are on the ice on Lake Schliersee in Bavaria on Sunday. Photo: DPA

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At the weekend lots of people got out in the blazing sunshine and bitterly cold temperatures.

In lots of areas, rivers, canals  and ponds were completely frozen over. Families, skaters and dog walkers took to the waterways – however, police have warned against people doing this as the ice can crack and cause people to fall through.

In Berlin police said the strong sun combined with water currents can cause solid ice to become brittle and unstable.

Several people collapsed through the ice at the city's Schlachtensee on Saturday, according to the fire and rescue service. They were not injured.

There were also several accidents on the river Rhine in Düsseldorf, with rescue services having to be called out.

Temperatures are set to increase above freezing on Monday and Tuesday in Germany so authorities are continuing to warn people not to walk on waterways in case they crack.

This selection of tweets, and pictures by DPA photographers across Germany, gives a snapshot of how the country looks in extreme cold winter weather.

READ ALSO: Snow and bitterly cold temperatures hit Germany

Skaters hold hands while on the Landwehrkanal in Berlin on Sunday. People also walked on the frozen river Spree in the capital. Police regularly told people to get off the ice, particularly in some parts where it was not very strong.

Numerous people on frozen water in front of Moritzburg Castle in Saxony.

A police tells a couple to get off the ice at the Alsterpark in Hamburg.

Bracing the cold snowy weather in Dresden.

Several people on frozen water at Benrath Castle in Düsseldorf.

Adults and kids out and about on Steinhude lake in the Lower Saxony sunshine.

Police used a helicopter to tell people to get off the ice at Müggelsee in Berlin as this tweet shows.

An ice hockey game in front of the Monument to the Battle of the Nations in Leipzig.

Families out and about on the frozen Rhine river in Düsseldorf.

Little Elise wearing a bear hat while sledging at the Deister hill in Lower Saxony.

A police offer skating while checking the surfaces at Steinhude lake in Lower Saxony.

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Inside Germany: Becoming German, European election vote and the Scottish ‘Mannschaft’

From what we can expect from voters at the European elections to what citizenship means to foreign residents and the Scottish take on the German word 'Mannschaft', here are a few things we're talking about this week.

Inside Germany: Becoming German, European election vote and the Scottish 'Mannschaft'

Inside Germany is our weekly look at some of the news, talking points and gossip in Germany that you might not have heard about. It’s published each Saturday and members can receive it directly to their inbox by going to their newsletter preferences or adding their email to the sign-up box in this article.

What can we expect as Germany goes to the polls for Europe?

On Sunday, EU citizens living in Germany will cast their vote to elect a new European parliament. 

A lot has changed since the last elections were held back in 2019 – the UK has since left the EU (meaning no Brits in Europe can vote unless they have an EU citizenship), we’ve experienced a worldwide pandemic and war has broken out in Europe. 

The big story of 2019 from Germany was the Green surge. 

Although the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) received the largest share of votes (28.7 percent), the Greens won more than 20 percent of the vote in Germany, increasing by about 10 percent from 2014.

Support for the conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) dropped considerably. 

So what can we expect from voters in Germany this time? 

According to recent polls, the conservatives are likely to secure a victory on the German side of things. The CDU and CSU will scoop up around 30 percent of the vote, according to surveys.

poster urging people to vote

A giant poster announcing the upcoming European elections, on the facade of the European Parliament building in Strasbourg, eastern France. Photo: FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s centre-left SPD, on the other hand, is only polling between 14 and 16 percent. 

The poll figures for the Greens have fluctuated. The INSA institute reported in April that the Greens could receive 11.5 percent of the vote. But recent polls show the party receiving between 13 and 15 percent – a significant drop from 2019. 

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) has also lost support. While pollsters INSA predicted the party would take 22 percent of the vote back in February, recent polls put them on 14 to 17 percent.

Meanwhile, the Free Democrats (FDP), currently in government with the SPD and Greens, have been hovering between just three and five percent in polls since the beginning of the year.

Aside from these well-known parties, there are also a number of smaller ones.

If you’re eligible to vote, who will you be choosing? Good luck at the ballot box and make sure to check The Local’s coverage as the results come in. 


Germany in Focus podcast

After devastating floods in Germany that have claimed lives and cause huge destruction, we talk about how communities are coping and the areas most at risk of flooding on this week’s podcast. We also get into predictions for the European parliamentary elections and answer a reader question on how much you need to earn to qualify for German citizenship, 

With the UEFA Euro 2024 tournament coming up on June 14th, we share some interesting facts about the stadiums involved and talk about the importance of football culture in Germany with guest Kit Holden. 

What does German citizenship mean to foreign residents in Germany?

With the new citizenship law coming into force later this month, we asked The Local readers to share their feelings about citizenship and the process in a questionnaire. More than 100 people filled out our survey in just a few days and were delighted to hear about the different experiences. 

In the first of our articles, we looked at what securing a German passport means to residents. 

Of 121 readers who took our survey, 81 percent intend to apply for citizenship, while 12 percent are still unsure. 

About six percent said they will not apply, and a few respondents had already naturalised. 

A German citizenship certificate and passport.

A German citizenship certificate and passport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fernando Gutierrez-Juarez

For many people, a huge benefit of citizenship is about gaining freedom of movement. 

“Free movement with the world’s strongest passport is the main goal here,” Khandakar Rahman from Bangladesh, told us. 

Others mentioned that they would feel more integrated – and have course receive full rights to voting. 

Kristian from Norway said the would “finally be an EU citizen, to be able to vote, and also to actually be German”.

READ MORE: What would German citizenship mean to foreign residents?

The Scottish ‘Mannschaft’ set to take on Germany 

As Germany is about to take on Scotland in the opener for UEFA Euro 2024, ad executives for the Scottish soft drink Irn Bru have outdone themselves. 

They’ve launched an advert playing around with the nickname for Germany’s national football – ‘Die Mannschaft’ 

READ MORE: German word of the day – Mannschaft 

I was keen to know what Germans felt about this advert featuring a guy in a kilt talking about how Scotland’s ‘Mannschaft’ may even reach the semis. 

While many Germans thought it was funny, a few pointed out that the advert technically doesn’t use the word correctly. 

One thing for sure is that the Scottish love it.