The Munich Christmas tree on Marienplatz

Christbaum in München auf dem Marienplatz, Foto:

This year's Christmas tree comes from the district of Weiler-Simmerberg

Munich has a Christmas tree once again. During the early morning hours, the professionals of the Munich Fire Service erected the landmark of the Munich Christmas Market on Marienplatz.

At 10am it was officially presented in perfect weather conditions. This year the tree comes from the district of Weiler-Simmerberg-Ellhofen in the Allgäu. Munich residents will be able to see it fully illuminated for the first time at the opening of the Christmas Market on Nov 25th.

Sun shined upon the thick branches when this year’s Munich Christmas tree was presented for the first time on Nov 9th, 2016. Impressions of the silver fir tree and words of praise from mayor Josef Schmid in the video.

Photos of the of the 2016 Christmas tree presentation

The Allgäu “Honouring of the Christmas Tree” - the presentation

Bürgermeister Josef Schmid und Karl-Heinz Rudolph aus Weiler-Simmerberg bei der Christbaumvorstellung, Foto: Michael Nagy/Presseamt München
Mayor Josef Schmid and Karl-Heinz Rudolph from Weiler-Simmerberg present the Christmas tree.

“The tree is as beautiful as my beard” joked mayor Josef Schmid, who was standing on Marienplatz, fresh and recuperated from a spa holiday in the Allgäu, to present the tree, wearing a thick bushy 12-day beard. He enjoys the view of the “beautiful, fully grown, wonderful tree” from his office. With comments like this he performed the Allgäu custom of “Honouring the Christmas Tree”, summoned by 1st mayor Karl-Heinz Rudolph from Weiler-Simmerberg. According to him, the tree is a “real Allgäu tree” and also a climate friendly fir tree. The two satisfied mayors then toasted the new Christmas tree with a glass of schnaps. The tree will be officially handed over to the residents of Munich at 5pm on November 25th, during the opening ceremony of the Christmas Market. On January 8th, 2017 the tree will be dismantled by the professionals of the Munich Fire Service.

8 exciting facts about the 2016 Christmas tree

Christbaumvorstellung 2016 am Marienplatz, Foto: Liebich

When the tree is erected, what happens next?

Mayor Josef Schmid, director of the Department for Employment and Economics and Karl-Heinz Rudolph, first mayor of the borough of Weiler-Simmerberg, presented the new Christmas tree on November 9th. Employees of the construction department are gradually bringing the little lamps that will illuminate the tree from November 25th. The tree will then serve as a hallmark of the Munich Christmas Market until December 24th.

A guest from western Allgäu - where exactly does the tree come from?

This year the tree comes from the borough of Weiler-Simmerberg-Ellhofen (Lindau district). It’s the first time that the Munich Christmas tree has come from the Allgäu. This market town with around 6,500 residents in the western Allgäu region has been on the waiting list to supply the state capital a tree for 14 years. The tourist region of western Allgäu will present itself in the courtyard of the Munich town hall, the Prunkhof, during the Christmas Market, advertise trips along the Allgäu Cheese Route (Allgäuer Käsestraße) and sell mulled wine. The district of Weiler im Allgäu lies at the centre of the idyllic Tal der Rothach valley amongst meadows and forests. On the “Sulzberger Rücken” hills bordering the valley to the south, the villages of Simmerberg and Ellhofen offer a breath-taking view of the Allgäu, Vorarlberg and Swiss mountains.

Die Münchner Berufsfeuerwehr stellt den Christbaum 2016 auf., Foto: Berufsfeuerwehr München
The professionals of the Munich Fire Service put up the Christmas tree in the early hours of the morning.

How does the tree get from western Allgäu to the front of the Munich town hall? And how heavy is it?

On November 7th the fir tree weighing 5.3 tons and located on the edge of Weiler-Simmerberg was felled with the help of a mobile crane. Two tree climbers then worked for several days to tie up the silver fir and make it ready to be transported. On November 8th a heavy goods transporter started on its 180 km journey to Munich where it was erected by the professionals from the Munich Fire Service from 7am onwards on November 9th.

An impressive size, but how high is it? - take a guess in our competition!

Not only children’s eyes are shining in front of the large magnificent tree! The exact height is still a secret. Until December 9th Christmas Market visitors can guess the length of the tree in a competition. There are great prizes for the winners including a five-day spa stay in Weiler-Simmerberg.

How many lights create the sea of lights on the tree?

A sea of lights made of 3,000 small lights will make the Christmas tree gleam in the centre of Marienplatz – on 25.11. for the first time. Particularly during the darkness of evening, the sight of the sparkling tree gives an atmospheric ambience to Christmas. The installation of the small lights requires special logistics. Members of the street-lighting section of the construction department are responsible for this.

How many years does the tree have under its belt, and what is its personal story?

The new Munich Christmas tree is already over 70 years old. It is a silver fir, a pine tree that gets its name from the light grey bark. This native tree variety can attain an age of 500 to 600 years. The tree needed to be felled for safety reasons because it was located very close to a residential building. The tree was donated to Munich by a lady of 96, in memory of her deceased husband who had planted the fir tree.

Das Christbaumfällen der Gemeinde Weiler-Simmerberg, Foto: Tourist-Information Weiler-Simmerberg-Ellhofen
There it is - a commission selected the 2016 tree.

Spoilt for choice - how does a tree make it to Marienplatz?

Every tree looks different and not all of them have what it takes to become the hallmark of the Munich Christmas Market. The Christmas tree donation for the Marienplatz has existed since 1977. For this year’s selection, a Christmas tree commission of three people from Munich walked through the forests of the Allgäu looking closely at three suggestions in particular. Municipal maintenance workers from Weiler had also already taken a look at the magnificent specimen. There are special criteria for the Christmas tree: closed all the way around and as straight as possible - after all, it represents the community of donors and is the flagship of the Christmas Market. It’s a special honour for the alpine communities to donate the Christmas tree in front of the town hall on Marienplatz in the state capital, Munich. In 2015 the Munich Christmas tree came from Ruhpolding; the previous year from Kochel am See. The applicants have been decided until the year 2034. And we can let you into the following secret: In 2017, it will be the turn of Burghausen.

Der Christbaum auf dem Marienplatz 2016, Foto: Spichal
The tree still has a long career in front of it.

What happens to the tree after it has been used for the Christmas Market? 

Between November 25th and December 24th, the tree forms the glistening centrepiece of the Christmas Market. But it will shine there until January 6th, 2017. Two days later, on January 8th, the professionals of the Munich Fire Service will dismantle it. Its career is not finished by a long way. The tree is to be used as a maypole and interested parties are invited to contact the Munich Directorate directly via the telephone number 089/233-925-65.


Video of the Christmas tree presentation Nov 9th, 2016

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