Why holidays don’t happen at the same time in Germany

By Oula Mahfouz
“We don’t get a chance to see each other except during the Christmas holidays.” That’s what my sister said to me after she had planned to visit me and get the rest of her things here. She moved near Hamburg with her children last August. Her children finished the school year here and after moving there they had to start the next school year right away without having any holidays. When they then had autumn holidays, my children had to go to school here. The only chance we have is the Christmas holidays, when trains and motorways are overcrowded. Then I asked myself: why are there these different holiday periods in one country?
Germany has sixteen federal states and each has its own holiday periods. As for the summer holidays, they vary in time between the federal states in the period from June to September, each lasting about six weeks. The summer holidays are set on an alternating basis between the federal states. The aim is to avoid traffic chaos at the beginning and end of the holidays and to reduce congestion in tourist areas, hotels, railway stations and airports. There are also economic reasons: The tourism industry wants to extend the summer holiday period as much as possible and thus achieve greater occupancy of accommodation. The sixteen federal states are divided into five groups. All the Länder in the group have summer holidays at the same time. They are often geographically close to each other, such as Lower Saxony and Bremen, and are closely linked economically.
The federal states take it in turns to set the summer holiday period, so that they all have summer holidays sometimes earlier and sometimes later. But two federal states do not participate in this arrangement: Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. The summer holidays there start later each year than in the rest of Germany, usually at the end of July or beginning of August. Schools there traditionally have long Whitsun holidays of two weeks. The rule dates back to 1964, when many children in the agricultural states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg had to help with the harvest in late summer and could not go to school.
However, not everyone in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg is happy with the late summer holidays, for example Scandinavia fans who want to celebrate Midsummer in Sweden in June. However, this is not possible due to the late holidays. In addition, the exemption for Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg is often viewed critically in the rest of the republic. Some are annoyed that families from the south sometimes go on holiday in the low season and can benefit from cheaper prices.
Now we are very much looking forward to the Christmas holidays. That will be the time when we can meet up with the family again.
More information: https://www.galileo.tv/life/was-deine-oma-generation-mit-dem-sommerferien-streit-zu-tun-hat/



Urlaub in den Sommerferien. Foto: tünews INTERNATIONAL / Oula Mahfouz.






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