Germany’s Oktoberfest to return in 2022 after pandemic pause

Germany's iconic Oktoberfest beer festival will once again take place in Munich in 2022 after being cancelled two years running due to the coronavirus pandemic, the city's mayor said Friday.

Revellers clink glasses for a scaled-back Oktoberfest celebration in Munich in October 2021.
Revellers enjoy a scaled-back Oktoberfest celebration in Munich in October 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Felix Hörhager

The Oktoberfest would be held “without conditions or restrictions”, Munich mayor Dieter Reiter told a press conference.

The world-renowned knees-up drew around six million visitors annually before the pandemic. It was cancelled in 2020 for the first time since World War II after the outbreak of coronavirus.

The festival, usually held between September and October, was cancelled again in 2021 as Germany battled consecutive deadly waves of the virus.

Since then, pandemic “conditions have changed”, Reiter said, noting that the healthcare system was no longer under significant stress from Covid.

READ ALSO: Munich’s Oktoberfest cancelled again over Covid

“I hope the situation does not get worse in the autumn and that the festival will not have to be called off at the last minute,” Reiter said.

Bavaria state premier Markus Söder said in a tweet that the return of Oktoberfest, also known as Wiesn, was “a good signal, especially in difficult times”.

He went on to say that Munich’s Oktoberfest stood for “joie de vivre and cosmopolitanism like no other folk festival”.

“It is Bavaria’s international flagship,” he added.

Most Covid curbs have been lifted in Germany, including the requirement to wear masks in shops and schools, while plans to introduce a vaccine mandate were dropped.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has cast a shadow over similar springtime festivities in Bavaria, where the subject has been hotly debated.

Cancelling the Oktoberfest as a result of the war “could not be justified”, Reiter said, while sharing his sympathies with Ukraine and Munich’s twin city Kyiv.

“Nobody can tell what the situation will be in autumn” with the war, the mayor said.

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Eight amazing German museums to explore this spring

With thousands of years of history in Germany to explore, you’re never going to run out of museums to scratch the itch to learn about and fully experience the world of the past.

Eight amazing German museums to explore this spring

Here are eight of our favourite museums across Germany’s 16 states for you to discover for yourself. 

Arche Nebra

Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt

One day, around 1600 BCE, local Bronze Age peoples buried one of their most precious objects – the Nebra Sky Disk, a copper, gold, and bronze disk that acted as a calendar to help them plant crops. This was a matter of life and death at the time. 

Over three thousand years later, in 1999, it was uncovered by black market treasure hunters, becoming Germany’s most significant archaeological find. 

While the Sky Disk itself is kept in the (really very good)  State Museum of Pre- and Early History in nearby Halle, the site of the discovery is marked by the Arche Nebra, a museum explaining prehistoric astronomy and the cultural practices of the people who made it. 

Kids will love the planetarium, explaining how the disk was used. 

Atomkeller Museum

Halgerloch, Baden-Württemberg

From the distant to the very recent past – in this case, the Nazi atomic weapons programme. Even as defeat loomed, Nazi scientists such as Werner Heisenberg were trying to develop a nuclear bomb. 

While this mainly took place in Berlin, an old beer cellar under the town of Halgerloch, south of Stuttgart, was commandeered as the site of a prototype fission reactor. 

A squad of American soldiers captured and dismantled the reactor as the war ended. Still, the site was later turned into a museum documenting German efforts to create a working reactor – one that they could use to develop a bomb.

It’s important to note that you don’t need to be a physicist to understand what they were trying to do here, as the explanatory materials describe the scientist’s efforts in a manner that is easy to understand. 

German National Museum

Nuremberg, Bavaria

Remember that scene at the end of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, where an unnamed government official wheels the Ark of the Covenant into an anonymous government warehouse? This could possibly be the German equivalent – albeit far better presented. 

The German National Museum was created in 1852 as a repository for the cultural history of the German nation – even before the country’s founding. In the intervening 170 years, it’s grown to swallow an entire city block of Nuremberg, covering 60,000 years of history and hundreds of thousands of objects. 

If it relates to the history of Germany since prehistoric times, you’re likely to find it here.

Highlights include several original paintings and etchings by Albrecht Dürer, the mysterious Bronze Age ‘Gold Hats’, one of Europe’s most significant collections of costuming and musical instruments, and a vast display of weapons, armour and firearms. 

European Hansemuseum

Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein

In the late Middle Ages, the political and economic centre of the world was focused on the North Sea and the Baltic German coasts. 

This was the domain of the Hanseatic League, one of the most powerful trading alliances in human history. Centuries before the Dutch and British East India Companies, they made in-roads to far-flung corners.

The European Hansemuseum in the former Hanseatic city of Lübeck tells the story of the league’s rise and eventual fall, its day-to-day operations, and its enduring legacy.

This museum is fascinating for adults and kids. It uses original artefacts and high-tech interactive elements to tell tales of maritime adventure. Younger visitors will also be enchanted by the museum’s augmented reality phone app that asks them to help solve mysteries. 

Fugger & Welser Adventure Museum

Augsburg, Germany

The Hanseatic League was not the only economic power in the late Middle Ages. The Fugger and Welser families of Augsburg may have been the richest in the world until the 20th century.

From humble beginnings, both families grew to become incredibly powerful moneylenders, funding many of the wars of the 16th century and the conquest of the New World.

The Fugger & Welser Adventure Museum not only explains the rise of both patrician families but also the practices that led to their inconceivable wealth—including, sadly, the start of the Transatlantic slave trade. 

The museum also documents the short-lived Welser colony in Venezuela, which, if it had survived, could have resulted in a very different world history.

This museum has many high tech displays, making it a very exciting experience for moguls of any age.

Teutoburg Forest Museum

Kalkriese, Lower Saxony

Every German child learns this story at some point: One day at the end of summer 9 AD, three legions of the Roman army marched into the Teutoburg forest… and never came out. 

Soldiers sent after the vanished legions discovered that they had been slaughtered to a man.

Arminius, a German who had been raised as a Roman commander, had betrayed the three legions to local Germanic tribes, who ambushed them while marching through the forest. 

Today, the probable site of the battle – we can’t entirely be sure – is marked by a museum called the Varusschlacht Museum (Literally ‘Varus Battle Museum’, named after the loyal Roman commander). 

The highlights here are the finds – made all the more eerie by the knowledge that they were looted and discarded from the legionaries in the hours following the ambush. 

German Romanticism Museum

Frankfurt, Hesse

The Romantic era of art, music and literature is one of Germany’s greatest cultural gifts to the world, encompassing the work of poets such as Goethe and Schiller, composers like Beethoven and artists in the vein of Caspar David Friedrich.

Established in 2021 next to the house where Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born, the German Romanticism Museum is the world’s largest collection of objects related to the Romantic movement. 

In addition to artefacts from some of the greatest names in German romanticism, in 2024, you’ll find a major exhibition exploring Goethe’s controversial 1774 novel, ‘The Sorrows of Young Werther’, and another on the forest as depicted as dark and dramatic in the art of the period. 

Gutenberg Castle

Haßmersheim, Baden-Württemberg

Sometimes being a smaller castle is a good thing. The relatively small size and location of Guttenburg Castle, above the River Neckar near Heilbronn, protected it from war and damage over eight hundred years – it’s now the best preserved Staufer-era castle in the country.

While the castle is still occupied by the Barons of Gemmingen-Guttenberg, the castle now also contains a museum, that uses the remarkably well-preserved castle interiors to explore centuries of its history – and the individuals that passed through it.

After you’ve explored the museum—and the current exhibition that uses Lego to document life in the Middle Ages —it’s also possible to eat at the castle’s tavern and stay overnight!