Munich Christmas market set to close after pint demand soars

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Mueller barons played harp at the Christmas market at ChristChurch Cathedral

A Christmas market in Munich will be scrapped amid soaring demand for pints during the festival.

The popularity of the popular Christmas market at ChristChurch Cathedral has been curbed.

Pints will no longer be served from December 18 because “it’s simply too expensive” to pay for police, security and extra staff to patrol the spot.

The Allianz Arena, football stadium, will instead host free music events during the first week of the Winter Festival.

“After this year, the Christmas market at ChristChurch Cathedral will close,” said trade minister Brigitte Zypries.

“While the new trade agreement with the EU may be open to new customs offices, they don’t usually work in the dead of winter and do not allow us to offer a wide range of festive events.”

On weekends, the Cathedral draws more than 200,000 people, who use it as a first stop to scope out the surrounding area during the Christmas season.

“Christmas in Munich lasts year-round,” Ms Zypries added.

The Cathedral’s chief executive, Siegfried Jager, has denied that attendance at the cathedral has dropped because of the pints.

He told the BBC’s Focus Germany programme: “The true trend is that we’ve had the same number of people in the past four years, and that no more than 2.5% of them want a beer.

“And what you have here is a reasonable amount of customers who want a beer at Christmas. On the contrary, it’s a park, it’s a zoo, it’s a cultural event.”

Christmas market beer requirements

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Pints of beer are served at the Christmas market at ChristChurch Cathedral

Germany has 63 Christmas markets according to the the organization responsible, which is Baden-Wuerttemberg Christmas Tourism.

The largest is the Marienkirche in Reutlingen which, though smaller, attracts roughly 80,000 visitors in a season.

It is given the nickname “Grey Christmas” because it traditionally sells very little beer during the 10 to 15 days of Advent leading up to Christmas Day.

The EU has a range of rules for Christmas beer, such as the amount of alcohol in it and how far it can be moved on a tray.

The cost of serving beer and wine at Munich’s market have risen during recent years.

In 2014 the cost of a pint of Christmas beer was between 8 and 8.5 euros (£7.4-8.2).

Now that cost has doubled to 13 euros (£11.5).

Despite growing local business interest, foreign visitors take over the market in the evenings.

In 2014, 1.5 million of the 2.8 million visitors were from other EU member states.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Housed in an imperial basilica, the cathedral was built in the 16th century

The counterpoint to Germany’s traditional festive season is the spread of grander events across Germany in November and December, many of which are attended by the royal families of the country.

Other big events in the winter include the German social festival Lederhosen, which dates back to the late 1970s.

However, Munich officials are not suggesting that the historic city should abandon its traditional Christmas traditions.

Munich’s Bavarian capital might be in mourning following the serious knife attack on a discotheque popular with young people in April last year, which killed 14 and injured around 150.

However, Munich’s Hansel and Gretel Museum reopened on Friday, eight months after being temporarily closed for bomb-proofing work.

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