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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Living in Germany: Housing market winners and losers, Fichtelberg and Kartoffelpuffer

In our weekly roundup, we look at who's doing well in the German housing market, taking quiet hours to the next level and Germany's love of potatoes.

Living in Germany: Housing market winners and losers, Fichtelberg and Kartoffelpuffer

Germany’s housing market has winners and losers  

Anyone who’s tried to find a new home to rent in the country’s crowded housing market – especially the larger cities like Berlin, Munich and Hamburg – knows how soul-destroying the process is. And this week the German government admitted that it would miss its target of building 400,000 new homes annually – by a large margin. Building more homes – with a focus on affordable housing – was a key pledge by the coalition of Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) when they took office.

This, they said, would address the housing shortages people are having to contend with. These problems often affect foreigners coming to live in Germany because they are new tenants to the market and unable to get their hands on much lower-cost older contracts (unless they are lucky). 

But as The Local’s columnist Brian Melican pointed out, there are some groups who are not having a tough time right now, especially compared to other European housing markets. “The most fortunate group are existing owner-occupiers,” Melican says.

“Although property prices had become over-inflated of late and are now falling, this will not lead to a collapse in the housing market and homes being repossessed.” Buy-to-let landlords are also doing well, while the outlook isn’t bad for existing tenants either, Brian argues. The question is: when will the German government and states come up with any practical solutions to improve people’s chances of finding a reasonably priced flat?  

Tweet of the week

Germans are known for being fairly strict when it comes to obeying Ruhezeit (the commonly agreed upon quiet hours in apartment buildings). But asking every floor in a Berlin highrise to be quiet for an afternoon video call is taking things to a new level. We only have respect! 

Where is this?

Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Hendrik Schmidt

Visitors to the Fichtelberg in Oberwiesenthal, Saxony, were treated to blue skies and sunshine on Thursday due to a weather inversion. Here, guests on the 1215-metre high Fichtelberg look over the clouds in the valley to the Keilberg on the Czech side. Since Wednesday the lifts in Saxony’s largest alpine skiing area have been in operation again and are keeping the slopes busy.

Did you know?

Germany’s love affair with potatoes is well documented. Potatoes are said to have first arrived in Germany in 1630 from Peru, but it was not until Friedrich the Great’s (King of Prussia 1740-1742) reign that they became popular. Friedrich the Great believed so deeply in both the economic and nutritious value of potatoes that he even passed the so-called Kartoffelbefehl (potato decree) in 1756 to attempt to educate the rural population as to the benefits of the potato.  

Of course, there’s the classic German favourite Kartoffelsalat, but let’s today focus on another dish with the humble potato – Reibekuchen, also sometimes known as Reibeplätzchen, Kartoffelpuffer or Kartoffelpfannkuchen. These are delicious fried potato pancakes made from grated potato, onion, eggs and flour. They are particularly popular in the winter time (especially at Christmas markets) and can be served either sweet or savoury. So you can eat them with apple sauce, quark or another dip of your choice. Mahlzeit!