Cloudy weather equals a cloudy mood? Not so in NRW! Let us give you a few ideas, some advice, and great stories to counter the winter blues and show you where you can find true moments of happiness in the fog, snow, and cold, or in perfect relaxation from home. Look forward to the cold season once again this year!
Stories from Aachen
Get into a Christmas spirit with Marcel Schmitz
Get into a Christmas spirit with the story of Marcel Schmitz. The original “Oecher Jong”’s two great passions are ice cream and mulled wine. In winter, Marcel can be found at the Aachen Christmas market, where his “Oecher Glühwein-Treff” spreads the fragrance of his wonderful wine. Learn more about the traditional trendsetter here.
A goose safari on the Lower Rhine
Discover the wild NRW first-hand
Anyone watching is sure to experience a unique nature spectacle at the Lower Rhine every year as about 180,000 wild geese touch down between Duisburg and the Dutch border in the cold season, populating the meadows and bodies of water in droves. The chatter of the greater white-fronted geese that make their winter quarter in the comparatively moderate Lower Rhine region is audible from afar.
Winter hiking through fog and snow
Snowy landscapes ensure a special atmosphere
Winter hikes let you experience the landscape in a very special atmosphere, as it almost seems that Mother Nature herself wants to add to the contemplative mood in the Christmas season. It is mostly quiet, and hikers often find themselves alone on their paths, the only sounds the cracking of bare trees in gusts of wind and the snow crunching underfoot.
Some regions offer special winter hiking trails. Hikers can then choose whether they prefer freshly cleared routes or rather deep snow. Guided tours are available as well, including some evening tours by torchlight to the hidden Wiehl valley villages in the Bergisches Land, and others that cross the winter landscape in the company of alpacas or huskies.
A speck of light on dark winter days
Like an oversized red candle, the “Das Geleucht” installation on the summit of the Rheinpreußen slagheap in Moers adds a speck of colour to the dark. Together with the slagheap underneath, this accessible industrial heritage sculpture stands about 120 metres tall, affording an around-the-clock pano-ramic view across the landscape all the way to Duisburg, Bottrop, and Kamp-Lintfort, as well as of the Rhine river and the steelworks still in operation; www.visit-nrw.com/up-and-down-in-theruhr-area. The work was created by Otto Piene. It is reminiscent of the miner’s lamp, an essential tool in mining.
A thousand lights in Essen
Until 2 January, visitors can experience a sparkling time on a stroll through Essen’s city centre, as light installations in various locations conjure up a Christmas atmosphere to bring some moments of true happiness in the dark season. The Essener Lichtwochen have been one of the city's finest traditions since 1950.
A different kind of Christmas
Digital Christmas Market, Essen
The digital Christmas market in Essen has opened and is inviting its guests on a virtual shopping tour with handicrafts, delicious Christmas treats, and original gift ideas offered by the vendors online. A video review and photos from past years add an extra helping of atmosphere to bring back fond memories and anticipation for next year.
Light or dark, with almonds, honey, or spices – a great variety of the tasty gingerbread treats, eaten year-round in Aachen and enjoyed around the world during Advent, is available for your enjoyment. All of them are delicious. Only those produced in Aachen and some of the neighbouring villages since 1820 are considered original Aachen Printen.
The original Printe, by the way, rather looked like Dutch almond biscuits, until Napoleon’s continental blockade, leading to a shortage of cane sugar and American wildflower honey, forced the Printen bakers to improvise with new ingredients and gave birth to the cut Printe we know today.