Tag der Deutschen Einheit: the Day of German Solidarity
The day on which the Reunification Treaty, signed on 31st August in 1990, came into force legally. The day, on which the Warsaw Pact-aligned German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, joined the NATO-aligned Federal Republic of Germany or West Germany, demonstrating one of the short-term impacts of the end of the Cold War. The day for which the population of the divided German nation had been waiting since 1950. The 3rd of October, 1990- the day of German unity has been celebrated ever since.
German Unity Day each year is hosted on 3rd October by the state which is to preside over the German Bundesrat (the Federal Council) in that year. Since the Bundesrat’s presidency rotates among the minister-presidents of the federal states, all the 16 states of Germany get an opportunity to host this festival one by one. This day was celebrated for the first time in Berlin in 1990, and its first anniversary was observed in Hamburg in 1991. In 2016, the historic city of Dresden, the capital of the Free State of Saxony, is to be your host on this day. Gather at the Dresden City Hall and on the Town Hall Square (Altmarkt) to enjoy!
The average temperature in Germany during this time varies from 6 degrees Celsius to 13 degrees Celsius. In Dresden, the October mornings usually measure 9 degrees Celsius on the thermometer, while the afternoons are relatively mild with around 13 degrees Celsius on an average.
`Following the Second World War, both Germany and Berlin were each divided into four zones dominated by four powers- the United States, Britain, France and the former Soviet Union. The three Western zones of Germany were integrated into a single economic unit in 1948 and, as a result, flourished, whereas the Russian zones of Berlin and Germany were steeped in poverty. When a new currency was introduced in West Berlin and West Germany by the western powers, the Russians, embarrassed by the marked contrasts between the prosperity of the western zones and the poverty of their zones, mounted the Berlin Blockade from June 1948 by closing all surface routes to West Berlin. Tons of supplies were airlifted to the city by the western powers, and the blockade was finally lifted in May 1949. After the setup of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) led by the US, the Western powers set up the German Federal Republic or West Germany in August 1949, to which the Russians responded by setting up their zone in October 1949 as the German Democratic Republic (GDR) or East Germany. To stop East Berlin refugees from escaping to West Berlin, the Berlin Wall was built in September 1961, and thus, Germany’s division was to continue until the disintegration of the former Soviet Union in 1989, following which, the two parts of Germany reunited on 3rd October 1990.
The only national holiday in Germany, Tag der Deutschen Einheit is celebrated annually with its motto of ‘building bridges’ between states, communities, and nationalities. The citizens’ festival, called Bürgerfest, is a success in the host city each year, with festivities around the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, and also in other state capitals. The Munich Oktoberfest beer festival, which continues through the first weekend of October, is another highlight of this day.
In 2016, the Day of German Unity is scheduled to be held from 1st to 3rd October in Dresden, with the motto ‘celebrating together.’ You can enjoy the Bürgerfest from 11:00 am till 8:00 pm on all the three days. On the 1st day, the official opening of this festival will be announced at 2:00 pm by Stanislaw Tillich, the Minister-President of Saxony, and at 8:00 pm there will be a concert on the Theaterplatz (Theater Square). The next day, you can witness the whole of Germany sitting at a coffee table at 3:30 pm as a symbol of togetherness! A multimedia presentation at 9:00 pm on the banks of the Elbe River is sure to boost your mood. The final day of the festival is to start at 10:00 am with a general service at the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), followed by a SemperOper ceremony from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm. At 6:00 pm, an evening banquet is to take place at the Theater Square with the theme ‘Thank Saxony’.
The festival will be presenting musical and artistic performances, along with presentations of the Dresden State Operetta (Staatsoperette Dresden) and the Dresden Philharmonic (Dresdner Philharmonie). Radio PSR (Private Saxon Broadcasting) will be entertaining you throughout this jamboree!
Since the Tag der Deutschen Einheit is to be observed in Dresden in 2016, you can visit the city by either Intercity trains (IC) or Eurocity trains (EC) of the German Railways (Deutsche Bahn) and get off at either the Dresden main railway station (Hauptbahnhof) or the Station Dresden Neustadt. You can also land at the Dresden-Klotzsche Airport, which is 9 kilometers north of the city of Dresden. Transport service is likely to be disrupted in sites of large celebrations, so you can take in the festive air as you walk around in Dresden. However, a special tram will be carrying you to the festival grounds in Dresden through the wonderful settings of the Theaterplatz, the Altmarkt (Old Market) Square and the Wilsdruffer Straβe.
However unbelievable it might sound, you get to visit Germany during the Tag der Deutschen Einheit, Germany’s one and only public holiday! As you wander around taking part in the festivities, you can almost sense this bond of unity and harmony, which keeps Germany together, come alive! A fireworks display during the Bürgerfest is exciting. Also, you get the chance to attend the world’s biggest beer festival (Volksfest) – the Oktoberfest in Munich! With its beer tents, enjoyable rides and Bavarian delicacies, this festival is a delightful one. People from all over the world visit this festival.
The chief attractions on the Day of German Unity 2016 are to be as follows:-
- The Dresden Fortress– On 2nd and 3rd October, you can venture into the vaults beneath Brühl’s Terrace with the commanders of the fortress (Festung Kommandanten). The price of a special ticket starts from 3 euros per person.
- Schlösserland Sachsen– Saxony’s castles, palaces and gardens, including the Zwinger Palace, the Königstein Fortress, and the Dresden Castle, have surprises in store for lovers of magic like you!
- Dresden Transport Museum– In a special exhibition, several car hoods designed by more than 30 artists from Germany and the neighboring countries will be presented. Admission to the museum will be free on 3rd
- The Citizens’ Country Mile– In this street festival, stretched along Wilsdruffer Straβe and Schiessgasse with the Frauenkirche and Altstadt in the background, all the 16 states of Germany present highlights from their respective regions.
- For children, the state of Baden-Württemberg presents Pustefix bubbles and a Tipp-Kick football game, along with dishes of ravioli and Black Forest cake for everybody.
- Inside Berlin’s tent, you can watch a dance performance and taste spicy Berlin Currywurst sausages.
- Mondelez International’s Milka chocolate and Bremer Ratskeller wine delight you all the more as you sway to the music of the Bremen Town Musicians!
- Picture yourself at Hamburg in the city stand’s photo gallery!
- At the stand of Hesse, you get to know all about the city.
- The state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) provides useful information about the history of German unity and presents cartoons from East and West Germany. Children and the youth can build a rocket air car at this state’s programme!
- After some Störtebeker beer, answer a few questions in the flora and fauna quiz at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern stand!
- North Rhine-Westphalia gives information on a variety of subjects, such as politics, music, tourism, and so on. You can have Bochumer currywurst, and sit at the Bergischen coffee panel (Bergische Kaffeetatel).
- At the stand of Rheinland-Pfalz, you can watch videos of the city’s landscape and have Bitburger beer while wandering musicians entertain you.
- Saarland dishes can be tasted with a French touch. You can also participate in a trivia game!
- Interesting discussions and lectures are offered to you by the state of Saxony.
- Watch 3D videos of historic towns at the Saxony-Anhalt stand. Feel Wittenberg, Eisleben and other places associated with Martin Luther and the Reformation come to life! You can also taste Halberstadt sausages and Freyburg’s Little Red Riding Hood wine (Rotkäppchen).
- For expert information on marine sciences, visit the stand of Schleswig-Holstein. Fish sandwiches and Craft beer from Kiel can be savored.
- You can have Thuringian dumplings with jazz music at the stand of Thuringia.
- The states of Bavaria and Brandenburg will also be presenting activities to get excited for!
- Blue Light Mile– In here, information will be provided to you on how police officers and the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (Technisches Hilfswerk) do their duties in a responsible manner.
- Sports– For sports enthusiasts, an open-air gym is going to be organized. Furthermore, you will get to meet leading athletes!
What Else is Around?
- Light and laser show on the bank of the River Elbe on 2nd October
- Fun and games in the children’s area
- Dance performance by the Saxonz
So go ahead and visit this amazing place with your family and friends. With lots to explore and roam around, this tourist hotspot would keep you enthralled at all times. A highly recommended place, you won’t regret visiting it!