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OKTOBERFEST

IN PICTURES: First weekend of Munich’s Oktoberfest sees around 700,000 visitors

Around 700,000 people braved the wet and cold weather to attend the first weekend of the Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich, according to estimates by festival management.

People celebrating at Oktoberfest
Visitors hold up their glasses as they celebrate Oktoberfest in Munich. The UK's Foreign Office has recently issued a travel advisory over German beer. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

That is significantly less than the around one million visitors seen in 2019, the last time the festival took place as the 2020 and 2021 editions were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

“We want the weather gods to remember what decent Wies’n [Oktoberfest] weather looks like,” festival head and CSU politician Clemens Baumgärtner said, German news agency DPA reported.

Man and woman in lederhosen at Oktoberfest

A man and a woman in traditional Lederhosen and Dirndl dresses arrive for the opening of the Oktoberfest beer festival at the Theresienwiese in Munich on September 17, 2022.  (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

The festival opened on Saturday and the first guests were already queuing outside the entrances before sunrise to secure their spot at the front of a beer tent when the site was opened. The first tents closed their doors around noon.

Oktoberfest costume parade

Participants of the traditional costume parade of the Oktoberfest beer festival arrive on September 18, 2022.  (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

But the Schottenhamel tent (the oldest at the Oktoberfest) spokesperson, Christian Schottenhamel, said the numbers of people visiting the tents this year were similar to that seen in 2019, DPA said.

Oktoberfest costume parade

Participants dressed as fools perform during the festival’s traditional costume parade on September 18, 2022. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

He reported that the atmosphere was euphoric, with people just happy to be celebrating Oktoberfest again.

Oktoberfest beer tent visitors

The first visitors arrive and reserve places in a beer tent during the opening of the festival on September 17, 2022. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

The festival has attracted a mixed audience so far, including families with children and visitors from abroad, such as from the United States and France.

But the spokesperson for the smaller tents, Otto Lindinger, said the audience was getting younger, noting strong demand for meat-free dishes, although the Oktoberfest chicken was said to still be a hit.

Visitors celebrate at Oktoberfest

Visitors jostle for a Maß in a beer tent at the Oktoberfest on September 17, 2022. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

Over on the south side of the festival area, head of the museum tent Yvonne Heckl described the atmosphere in the traditional ‘Oide Wies’n’, or old Oktoberfest, area as “chilled and calm”.

The festival lasts until October 3rd, as German Unity Day falls on the Monday after the last Oktoberfest Sunday.

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READER QUESTIONS

How much should tourists really tip in Germany?

Some suggest that tourists from the US have pushed their tipping culture on metropolitan cities in Germany. Others say foreign nationals in Germany don’t tip enough. Here's what you need to know.

How much should tourists really tip in Germany?

As a visitor in Germany, or a newcomer to the country, knowing a couple key things helps to ensure a smooth transaction.

Initiating the payment process

The first is knowing how to ask for the bill: Wir möchten zahlen bitte (We’d like to pay please), is a tested and true simple option.

Then you just have to be able to navigate a couple likely follow-up questions: Mit karte oder bar? (With card or cash?) And, Zusammen oder getrennt? (All together or separate?)

In casual establishments, oftentimes when you wish to pay by card, the server will ask you to follow them to the cash register to complete the transaction.

Since paying at the register is not uncommon, it’s also common enough to simply get up and walk to the register when you’re ready to pay – especially if you’re short on time.

How to tip like a German

The second thing that’s good to know is how to tip in Germany.

American tourists, coming from the land of mandatory tip-culture, are prone to falling into one of two classic errors. The first is reflexively tipping 20 percent or more, even at places where tips tend to be much more modest. The second would be to think “Nobody tips in Europe,” much to the dismay of every server they come across in Germany.

The general consensus is that tipping is good practice in Germany, especially at any establishment where you are being waited on.

So not necessarily at a Döner kebab shop or an imbiss (snack shop) where you are picking your food up at a counter and very often taking it to go. But certainly at any restaurant where someone takes your order and brings food or drinks to you.

The Local previously inquired about customary tip rates in Germany with an etiquette expert, and also with a sociologist who conducted research on tipping culture – both of whom confirmed that Germans tend to think a five to 10 percent tip is standard.

Of course bigger tips for excellent service are also encouraged, but there are few cases where Germans would consider tipping 20 percent. 

For smaller transactions, like for a couple drinks at a cafe or a bar, a ‘keep the change’ tip is also normal in Germany.

If you were paying for a couple beers that came to €8.90, for example, you might hand the bartender a €10 bill and say “Stimmt so” to indicate that the change is a tip.

Especially compared to the US, it’s true that the expectation to tip is expressed less in Germany. But many Germans do make tipping a common practice. So making a habit to tip modestly when dining out in the country will help you blend in better with the locals.

READ ALSO: Eight unwritten rules that explain how Germany works

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