Many people come to Germany to experience the more traditional aspects of Christmas and you can certainly do that at many of the country’s wonderful Christmas markets – especially in Berlin. If you prefer a more contemporary and local Christmas experience, there’s a whole other kind of market that is also getting into the Christmas spirit.
In the Kreuzberg district of Berlin, the historic ‘Market Hall 9’ is hosting a number of extremely Christmassy events this month, in the atmospheric surrounds of its original building. Constructed in 1891, this historic space was originally a covered market hall (one of 14 in the city – this was number 9) that managed to avoid destruction during WWII, as well as a potential tenancy from a very unwanted commercial supermarket chain more recently. Locals took action and in 2011 the property was taken over by some passionate Berlin entrepreneurs who have converted it into a wonderful contemporary food venue, with ethics and quality in mind as well as the needs of the consumer.
Throughout the year, Markthalle Neun has regular market days (Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat) as well as a variety of seasonal and festive events such as the now famous Street Food Thursdays and the Sunday Breakfast Markets. The markets ethos puts the focus on the grower and the consumer and visitors get the chance to taste some of Berlin’s freshest and best produce, in one convenient and elegant place.
This Christmas, Markthalle Neun has a number of special events, running every Friday and Saturday through Advent. The Merry Markthalle kicks off at midday today and will offer a range of gift options, mulled wines and of course delicious food until 8pm tonight. It will open again tomorrow from 10am – 6pm with more of the same. It’s a great place to not only get into the Christmas spirit, but also to buy some unique gifts, from small local producers, representative of Berlin’s multicultural community. You can buy hot fresh food to eat on the spot, or gourmet packaged items for hampers or secret Santa gifts.
Advent is celebrated throughout the market’s December calender with a ceremonial window in the middle of the hall being opened daily, with surprises from traders behind each one. The Merry Breakfast Market will also be held this month to celebrate the third Sunday of Advent, opening at midday this Sunday 17th December and running all day until 8pm, for those who like their breakfast late. Local choirs will perform on Friday between 3pm and 8pm and Saturday between midday and 4pm as you stroll amongst the stalls, inhaling delicious smells of warm wine and gingerbread and any gifts you buy can also be wrapped on site at the special DIY wrapping station.
Children are not forgotten at the market hall with a Christmas baking activity to get involved in, on Friday from 3pm till 6pm and Saturday from midday until 4pm. They can feel the dough between their fingers, then cut, bake and decorate their own unique Christmas treats for the family or Santa – if they don’t eat the first!
The Merry Markthalle will also be held next weekend on Friday the 22nd from midday till 8pm and Saturday 23rd from 10am till 6pm. Markthalle Neun is at Eisenbahnstrasse 42/43 in Kreuzberg. From the hotel you can take a train – the U1 from Kurfürstendamm station to Görlitzer Bahnhoff. So if you like your Christmas home grown, local and fresh from the farm, get down to Markthalle Neun this December for a modern Berlin style foodie Christmas. Frohe Weihnachten!