Sunset in the Sauerland region, © Paul Masukowitz

Mo­ments of hap­pi­ness in winter

Ideas, ad­vice & stor­ies for the winter sea­son in NRW

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!

Marcel Schmitz mit Glühwein auf dem Aachener Weihnachtsmarkt, © Tourismus NRW e.V.

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.

Blässgänse am Niederrhein, © Sebastian Hennigs

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.


Fog in the winter Weierbach valley in Siegen-Wittgenstein, © Johannes Höhn

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.


Halde Rheinpreussen near Moers, © Johannes Höhn

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 star at the Christmas market in Essen, © EMG / Ralph Lueger

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.

Die Aachener Printen sind eine weltbekannte Lebkuchenspezialität, © aachen tourist service e.v.

The Ori­gin­al

Aachen­er Prin­ten

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.

Unique & Spe­cial Stor­ies

Ex­cep­tion­al People from NRW

Marcel Schmitz at his ice cream parlor, the Oecher Eis-Treff in Aachener, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW

Mar­cel Schmitz - an ori­gin­al "Oech­er"

Seitenprofil der Türmerin mit Blick auf den St. Paulus Dom Münster, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.

300 steps to hap­pi­ness: Ger­manys only tower­keep­er

Dr. Jörg Albrecht - Gründungsdirektor und künstlerischer Leiter des „Center for Literature“, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.

Jörg Al­brecht - City, Land, Castle

Nina Braun - die einzige Frau, die in NRW als Rangerin arbeitet., © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.

Nina Braun - in an­oth­er World

Olivier Kruschinski auf Ernst Kuzorras Stammplatz im Vereinsheim, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.

Olivi­er Krusch­in­ski - in Schalke, for Schalke

Timo - ne echt kölsche Köbes, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.

Timo - a real Köbes in a cult pub

Marion Strehlow arbeitet an ihrem Nähtisch, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.

Mari­on Strehlow - at home at the atelier

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