A trip to Germany’s Christmas markets is a fantastically festive treat for your students. But it will also normally be pretty short. So, if for no other reason than saving your group a long schlep across the continent, Aachen is the perfect choice for a school trip to the Christmas markets.
But there are plenty of other reasons to choose Aachen. For one thing, this beautiful city has been at the heart of European history for more than 13 centuries! Originally rising to fame as a spa city favoured both by the Roman military and, later, European royalty, Aachen became the capital of Charlemagne’s Empire and is where the first Holy Roman Emperor was laid to rest.
More than 40 German kings and queens were crowned in the cathedral Charlemagne had built, which was also Germany’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. And the crypt which lies underneath the cathedral is home to more ecclesiastical treasures than anywhere else outside Europe.
And then there is, of course, the Christmas market, which takes place in the most atmospheric part of the city – right in front of the medieval cathedral and town hall.
A visit to any of Germany’s Christmas markets is a fantastic way to teach students about the history of Christmas as a festival. Many of our Christmas traditions in the UK were actually brought over by Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1840.
You’ll be able to experience that traditionally German idea of gemütlichkeit and you’ll be able to buy the famous handcrafted decorations and toys that are ubiquitous at German Christmas markets. But whatever you do, you must not miss out on the opportunity to taste the famous Aachener Printen – a type of gingerbread that is only baked in and around Aachen!