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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7 unmissable events taking place across Germany in April

Spring is in the air and April is packed with events to celebrate the end of winter in Germany. Here are some of our top picks.

7 unmissable events taking place across Germany in April

1. March 31st – April 23rd: Dippemess, Frankfurt am Main

Frankfurt’s largest and oldest folk festival takes place twice a year in the festival square on Ratsweg. This year’s spring edition of the festival kicks off on the last day of March. 

The Dippemess is a tradition which dates back to the 14th century, when the “Maamess”, as it was called back then, was a medieval market for household goods. Potters from the surrounding regions would come to sell their ceramic bowls and containers – known as “Dippe” – which gave the event its name.

Over the years, the ceramic sellers were joined by a wider variety of stalls and popular amusements and, in the 1960s, the Dippemess eventually moved from the city centre to the fairground on Ratsweg.

Today, visitors to the Dippemess can expect a mix of modern amusements – such as fairground rides and sweet stands – and traditional offerings, such as stalls selling Apfelwein (apple wine) and typical sausage delicacies. 

2. April 2nd – 10th: Festival Days at the State Opera, Berlin

The Berlin State Opera’s annual classical music festival is one of Germany’s cultural highlights in April. It’s been running since 1996 and offers a varied programme of musical theatre and concerts with international stars at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden and the Philharmonie Berlin.

Former conductor of the Berlin State Opera and founder of Berlin’s Festival Days at the State Opera, Daniel Barenboim, at a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York. Photo: picture alliance / Benjamin Petit/dpa | Benjamin Petit

This year’s festival will be dedicated to the 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner and the programme features some of his most famous operas – including ‘The Valkyrie’ and ‘The Rhinegold’.

3. April 8th – 23rd: Nuremberg Folk Festival

Bavaria’s second-largest folk festival kicks off over the Easter Weekend and runs for two weeks. On Easter Saturday, Sunday and Monday, a troupe of easter bunnies will deliver sweets to children to celebrate the holiday. 

As well as the rides and confectionary stands which will be up for the duration of the festival, there will also be plenty of fun events, such as a Spanish-themed evening to celebrate Nuremberg’s twin city Cordoba in Spain and a light show on ‘Magic Friday’. 

4. April 18th – 23rd: International Women’s Film Festival Dortmund+Cologne, Dortmund 

The International Women’s Film Festival Dortmund+Cologne is Germany’s largest forum for women in the film industry and presents outstanding films by women spanning all genres and styles.

For almost 40 years the festival has been promoting the influence of women in all fields of the cinema industry, mainly as directors, but also as cinematographers, producers, scriptwriters, composers, songwriters and actors.

The Spring edition of the festival will be taking place in Dortmund and the programme has a special focus on films for children and young people.

5. April 21st – May 7th: Spring Festival, Munich

The spring festival, sometimes called ‘little Oktoberfest’, could not be more jam-packed with events and activities.

Over 100 stalls, 2 beer tents with daily live music, an all-weather beer garden, a beer carousel from Hofbräu and the Hacker-Weissbieralm await visitors on the Theresienweise in April 2023.

Visitors to the spring festival walk over the Theresienwiese in Munich, 2022. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Matthias Balk

Some of the events put on by external organisers – such as the flea market of the BRK or the classic car meeting of the ACM – are particularly worth a visit.

6. April 22nd to May 14th: Spring Festival, Stuttgart

Europe’s largest spring festival is always worth a visit, especially for families.

What began over 200 years ago as an agricultural festival with horse races and prize-winning livestock is now a huge event which attracts around 1.2 million guests each year over 3.5 kilometres along the Neckar river.

Balloons fly about in front of the Ferris wheel during the 82nd Stuttgart Spring Festival at the Cannstatter Wasen. in 2022. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Schmidt

There’s fun on offer for the whole family, with a wide variety of gastronomic delights, fast-paced rides and nostalgic stalls. In the middle of it all and not to be missed is the Königsalm – a traditional wooden alpine hut made of centuries-old wood – where visitors can dine on local specialities and try fruit brandies.

7. April 28th – 30th: Gallery Weekend, Berlin

Describing itself as one of “the leading events for contemporary art in Germany”, Berlin’s Gallery Weekend features open exhibitions from young and established artists in 55 galleries across the city.

Highlights include a joint exhibition by Anna Boghiguian and Alice Creischer at KOW Gallery and David Claerbout’s exhibition ‘Hemispheres’ at the Esther Schipper Gallery.

A full list of participating galleries can be found here.