Valkenburg Kerstmarkt
Discover holiday shopping inside caves at the Kerstmarkt in Valkenburg, Netherlands.

USAG SCHINNEN, Netherlands - The Holiday Season is here and brings all of us assigned to and living in Europe an opportunity to discover age-old European traditions and to share the experience by sending your photos to paousagshi@eur.army.mil.

Pictures submitted will be reviewed and posted on an Army.mil slide show and be accessible here.

Christmas Markets are especially a tradition in Germany -- and centuries old. The market was originally established to give people a chance to stock for the cold winter months.

Later, the festive element was added and the Christmas Market as you can experience today was born. The market in Augsburg was mentioned first in 1498, Dresden in 1434 and Frankfurt am Main confirmed their market on the record in the year 1393!

Now-a-days, every city, town or village in Germany has at least one Christmas Market (called Christkindlmarkt, Weihnachtsmarkt or Nikolausmarkt). Some have even four or five. Most of them start around Nov. 27 with some starting as soon as the weekend of Nov. 20-21. They usually close around Dec. 23. On Nov. 22 (German Religious Fest Day), many of them will be closed or open only for a few hours.

In Belgium and the Netherlands you will find that the Christmas Markets (called here Kerstmarkt or Village de Noel) will not start until after the fest of Sinterklaas (Dec. 5-6).

The leisure section of the Tri-Border Reporter newspaper for December is, of course, filled with Christmas Markets and fairs, but because there are so many, guides have been prepared by the USAG Schinnen Public Affairs Office for Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands and can be found by exploring the "Related Links" box on this page.

The USAG Schinnen Public Affairs Office wishes everyone happy and safe holiday season!

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16