Special attractions

It is not just the Heinzelmännchen who turn the Winter Fairytale of “Heinzels Wintermärchen” into a fairytale Christmas experience.

Artisans demonstrating their skills

One of the special attractions at the Winter Fairytale of “Heinzels Wintermärchen” are the many craftsmen and craftswomen from the whole of Europe who present their skills live. The sounds of banging and hammering can therefore be heard all over the Christmas market as the many craftspeople proudly show off their abilities and make much of what they sell directly at their stand. From the wood sculptor working with a saw to create huge sculptures from solid timber, to the blacksmith forming horseshoes over an open fire and the confectioner making sweets and lollipops from hot sugar – there are always lots of things to discover at the artisans’ workshops.

Live Christmas music

Every evening, visitors to the Christmas Market can enjoy the sounds of festive music in keeping with the Advent season and awakening joyful anticipation of Christmastime itself. Between 7.00 and 9.00 p.m. every evening (except Saturdays), the Christmas Market Orchestra appears on the small stage in front of the illuminated Jan-von-Werth Fountain. In changing combinations, up to eight wind instrumentalists play traditional Christmas music every day. On Heumarkt, our hornblowers play Christmas carols from the upper floor of the “Stapelhaus”, bringing a seasonal atmosphere to the whole square.

Rustic nativity scene

In Antiques Alley, which links Alter Markt and Heumarkt - two of the Old Town’s main squares - stands the most imposing nativity scene in the whole of Cologne: a huge creation with man-sized figures carved from the trunks of Swiss pine trees. The figures are the work of Paul Gartner, a carver of religious figures from South Tyrol, who has succeeded in giving the imposing figures an expressive, individual character. The figures weigh up to 250 kg and in some cases are over two metres tall. The nativity scene is one of the favourite stopping on the outstanding Cologne Nativity Scene Walking Tour.

Link to film

Heinzel stamps

The Winter Fairytale of “Heinzels Wintermärchen” has its very own postage stamp. Each year, the Heinzel stamps have a different motif and are perfect for giving Christmas post that something special. The stamps are sold over the counter of our Christmas Post Office in Toys Alley and have gradually become genuine collector’s items. The proceeds from the sale of the stamps always goes to a good cause.

Rustic taverns

One of the especially attractive feature of the market are the rustic taverns. Each of them has its own individual architecture. From the traditional 19th century hunting lodge to the Scandinavian wooden church, the lovingly decorated historic barn from Germany’s Allgäu mountain region or a two-storey warehouse – visitors to the Christmas market have plenty to see and marvel at.

Gilbert, the Market Gendarme

French gendarmes are well known to the Heinzelmännchen from days of yore, so one man must never be missing from Cologne’s Old Town during the Christmas season: Gilbert, our French market gendarme. In his original Napoleon-era uniform, he does his daily rounds at the Christmas market, deploying his typical French charm to preserve security and order. He ensures that everyone behaves themselves, reminds the visitors to keep a close look-out for their bags and pockets, and is able to talk to the people in almost every language.