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Berlin: A Visit to Pre-Christmas Market No. 1 at Potsdamer Platz

Real Christmas markets in Berlin open on November 21st. At this stage, the big Christian holiday still is 6 weeks away, which is why the Christmas market at Potsdamer Platz is not really a Christmas market, but more of a pre-Christmas market known as ‘Winter World’.

Berlin, November 11th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — At Potsdamer Platz, a Christmas mood has not really come up. It is very warm considering we are approaching mid-November. What do we need hot wine punch for at 12 degrees Centigrade (53.6 degrees Fahrenheit)? The ‘Winterwelt’ basically is a pre-Christmas market that is disguised as a Christmas market, for people who want to get used to Christmas markets before they open.

More Beautiful

In nine days from now, the ‘Winter World’ will become a full-blown Christmas market, but it will still look the way it does now, except it is supposed to grow. More stalls will be set up between the big intersection and Marlene Dietrich square. This is the day when most Christmas markets will pop up in Berlin, including some that are far more beautiful than this one.

Roasted almonds and nuts and millions of sweet treats are available here. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

At the pre-Christmas market at Potsdamer Platz, they offer many of the ingredients that are needed at Christmas markets, and some that are not. At the ‘Salzburger Stübl’, they have all the ‘Glühwein’ anyone could want. Getting tipsy or even drunk is easy at those bar tables outdoors. On their opposite side, sausages of different kinds are available, including Bratwurst and Frankfurters. The latter can be purchased as hotdogs or the German way, separately, on a cardboard tray.

Chocolate Apples

At the next stall, they have pretzels, cheese pretzels and all kinds of French fries soaked in more oil than Saudi Arabia sells in a year. Another stall located at the entrance to this little pre-Christmas market offers wine punch as well, but also strong alcoholic drinks such as egg punch and fruit schnaps. For kids, the giant slide is probably the most interesting thing here, but adults use it as well. Here, people race downhill on pig pillows before they crash into the fence if they are fast enough.

This giant slide attracts both kids and adults. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

In addition, there are five stalls in which people sell cheap items nobody wants, including little signs, ugly low-quality toy animals, little bags and more useless stuff. Next to those, a kind lady at yet another stall sells those little cookie hearts with love messages that are available at all Christmas markets, along with roasted almonds, candied apples, chocolate apples and all the stuff our dentists ever warned us about.

Changing Rules

At one of the nicest stalls, Anna offers nice-looking Christmas lamps in the form of colorful stars that make good presents too. She remembered last year’s Christmas mess. “First, those Christmas markets opened normally, and then they were fenced in.” Indeed. These were the times when the Corona regulations changed every five minutes. At first, people in Berlin could just enter those Christmas markets as long as they wore masks. A day later, they had to show Corona vaccination certificates.

The Christmas market that is not a Christmas market can be found at Potsdamer Platz. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

In 2020, things were far worse. Right here, at Potsdamer Platz square, stall owners had just set up their little shops, wine punch and sausage booths when they were told they had to pack up and get the hell out of there because of the pandemic. Back then, Christmas was basically cancelled. This year, things look better. Soon, far more beautiful Christmas markets in Berlin will open. Guess who will visit and write about them.

Related feature:

‘Winter Magic’: Berlin’s Least Christmassy Christmas Market

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