In the last week of November, I traveled to Tønder in Denmark with the FH semester ticket to get into the Christmas spirit a bit. Despite the heavy rain I was able to discover some great things. ✨

Quick facts about Tønder

Tønder is a small town on the German-Danish border, about 45 kilometres from Flensburg. Around 7,505 inhabitants live here (as of 01.01.2022). It is known for the “Tønder Festival”, one of the largest folk and roots music festivals in Europe. In addition, many foreign marriages take place here, as this involves far fewer formalities than in Germany. Tønder is also known for its lace-making and textile industry. This can still be seen today in the architecture. As the town is very small, it is easy to explore on foot. Here is possible route you could take.

How to get there?

It’s great that the trip to Tønder is included in the FH Kiel semester ticket for free. Just take the RE74 to Husum, change to the RE6 to Niebüll, then hop on the negRB66 to Toender st (3.5h).

(Photo: Gina Kretzmer)

Christmas market 🎄

Just like Kiel, Tønder also has its own Christmas market. But this has only been the case for 30 years. In 1992 a man named Erik Tygesen drove to the well-known Lubeck christmas market to gather inspiration about German christmas markets in general because they themselves never did those in Denmark. He used this inspiration to plan a Christmas market in Tønder. In the heart of the city, there is now the annual “Julebyen Tønder”, which is open every day until 23/12/22, including all the shops in the surrounding alleys. There is a mulled wine stall, a sausage stall, a hot dog stall and many small stalls. 

At the Christmas markets in Denmark there is a selection that is very similar to that in Germany. However, there is one typical drink at Danish Christmas markets that is not known here. This is Gløgg, a kind of mulled wine made from red wine and aquavit with spices, almonds and sultanas. Equally popular is the traditional Danish pastry “æbleskiver”, dipped in jam and icing sugar. If you want to know how they are made, check out this Recipe 🍳

(Photo: Gina Kretzmer)

Opening hours

City shops

Mo-Fr: 10am-5:30pm

Sat: 10am-4pm

Sun: 11am-4pm

Christmas huts

Mo-Fr: 11am-5pm

Sat: 10am-5pm

Sun: 11am-5pm

Important note: Because of the energy crisis light will not be turned on 24/7. Instead they shine 4 hours daily from 2PM to 8 PM.

Christmas related attractions 🎅🏻

Besides the Christmas stalls, the market has even more to offer. Every weekend, the Christmas train travels through the town, with the pedestrian zone decorated throughout the Christmas season. Another attraction is the flying Father Christmas, who lands four days a week on the roof ridge at the market square, surrounded by a cloud of snow. A photo of Father Christmas and the complete Christmas programme can be found here.

Flying Father Christmas

Thu & Fr: 4pm

Sat: 2pm & 4pm

Sun: 2pm & 4pm

Christmas Train

Sat: 10:30am

Sun: 11am

And finally, located right next to the Christmas market you can find a large yellow-painted building called „Det Gamle Apotek“. It was erected in 1668 and functioned as a pharmacy until 1989. Since 1991, the building has been used as a shop for arts and crafts, decorative items and a permanent Christmas exhibition in the basement. At Christmas time there is a post office here with a special Christmas postmark. In January, it is closed between weeks 2 and 6.

You can catch a glimpse of the pharmacy in this video 🎁:

Tønder really has its own charme.

Which christmas market is your favourite and why? Tell us in the comments!