Discover Germany, Issue 32, November 2015

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Christmas time in Oldenburg From relaxed shopping sprees to culinary delights With its still mostly owner-managed shops, Oldenburg attracts Christmas shoppers seeking personal gift advice. When stopping by at the Christmas market, one can warm themselves with a cup of the popular burnt punch. Next to traditions like speaking Low German and eating kale, Christmas in Oldenburg has a great deal to offer. TEXT: INA FRANK | PHOTOS: TORSTEN KRÜGER/ OLDENBURG TOURISMUS UND MARKETING GMBH

Oldenburg, a city of 160,000 inhabitants, is located between the rivers Weser and Ems. In terms of shopping, a huge, connected pedestrian zone fulfils every customer's wish. Delicacies made out of the kale the city is famous for, as well as honey, beer from the local brewery or other regional products are particularly popular as gifts. During Christmas time, the shopping street is especially worth visiting, as every retailer decorates their shop in their own way. For four weeks in November and December, Oldenburg will again enchant inhabitants and visitors alike with its Christmas market, the Lamberti-Markt, which started off as a Christmas tree sale in 1972. 125 market stalls, designed as little huts and individually variegated by the showmen, gather around

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the town hall and the Schlossplatz. Thanks to its location in the historical centre, people usually combine a visit to the market with their Christmas shopping. The Lamberti-Markt conveys a unique ambience. “At more than 70 per cent of the market stalls, the products are made on-site,”says Bettina Koch, from Oldenburg Tourismus und Marketing GmbH.There is a precise selection of who gets a market stand because the Lamberti-Markt's showmen craft character should be preserved. A special emphasis is placed on traditions. For instance, there are lectures in Low German for children. The entertaining programme appeals to young and old alike and one can find a great deal to discover: a big Advent calendar created in the castle's win-

dows, music performances, such as a trombone band playing on the town hall's balcony, and a crib. On 5 December, kids can make their own gingerbread to take home and shops will be open until midnight. Furthermore, the city's sustainable climate concept is applied to the Christmas market. “This year, the market is completely powered by green electricity,”Koch reports. Thus, if you like stress-free Christmas shopping and enjoying titbits from the Christmas market, set out for Oldenburg.