{Germany} Advent at Domäne Dahlem

December 3, 2015

Kids in Museums, Germany

Last weekend, we thought we’d do something we have been meaning to do for the past few years but never gotten round to because transport was always too complicated – visit the Advent Market at the Domäne Dahlem, a working farm and museum in one of Berlin’s suburbs. Now that we’ve moved house, we discovered it was just a direct train ride away!


First we walked around the stalls, which were much as you would expect from any Christmas market, but, unlike the ones at the markets in town, with a much more local feel – from the lovingly hand painted signs, to the local wares being sold, some of them hand crafted in studios at the Domäne Dahlem itself. And touches such as this larger than life scarecrow in between the Christmas stalls, remind you that Domäne Dahlem is also a working farm. Since it was rather a cold day, we loaded up with a bag of freshly roasted chestnuts, which came with some patter from ‘Maroni Toni’ and some impromptu chestnut juggling.






In the middle of the market, there was some slightly crazed fire display going on. We weren’t quite sure of the relevance to the museum or to Christmas, but it kept the children entertained.


Being a working farm, there were of course animals on site: we spotted pigs, horses, chicken, ducks and at least one turkey. It was rather a miserable day actually weather wise – we’d checked the weather report for central Berlin but not for Dahlem, which seemed to be having more rain than the end of town we stay in – so most of the animals were hiding away indoors rather than their outdoor pens. The grounds are vast, and on a nice day you can for a lovely long walk. Or on a wet day too if you come wearing appropriate footwear. Which we didn’t…



You could also go for a tractor ride around the farm grounds, but since that wasn’t so practical with the pram, we skipped it. But we did let #MuseumBoy persuade us to let him ride a pony. He doesn’t look particularly happy in the photos, but when I asked him he said “I loved it!! That’s just my normal face.” Is there a pre-schooler equivalent to ‘resting bitch face’? Anyway, he really enjoyed himself.




There were a couple of fairground stalls and a carousel, so of course #MuseumBoy had to have a couple of rides on that (while #MuseumBaby looked on with envy – next year, little one!) All the kids were high five-ing the adults as they went past.


Despite the beautiful signage outside the fish stall, it was practically empty, whilst there was a LONG queue at the sausage and steak stall. For the vegetarians, there was also a potato fritter stall and a stall with vegan food, as well stalls selling candy, toffee apples and other sweet things. And of course mulled wine. Cheers!



A small brass band kept the crowds entertained with live Christmas music – our jazz hands #MuseumBaby especially enjoyed this – and when we finally decided to check out the museum exhibitions before heading home, we discovered that indoors they had a Christmas bauble painting activity for the kids. #MuseumBoy let out his inner artists, with help from daddy, though we obviously hadn’t thought the whole thing through properly. Even after the recommended minimum half hour drying time, it was just beyond dripping wet. So I spent the train ride home holding a painted glass bauble above my head…lol…


It may not have all the sparkle of some of the larger Christmas markets in central Berlin, but for anyone looking for a less commercialised experience, the market at Domäne Dahlem offers just that. Many of the things such as the rides or food and drink are also a little cheaper than in town (though there is a small charge for adults to get in to the market, but with that you are supporting the farm and museum). And if you manage to catch it on a slightly less wet day than we had – or just remember to wrap up warm and bring your wellies – you can combine your visit with a lovely long winter walk round the grounds. After all, the mulled wine is not far away at the end of it :)

The Advent market at Domäne Dahlem takes place on all four Advent weekends, on both the Saturdays and Sundays. The entrance is directly opposite the U-Bahn station ‘Dahlem Dorf’, so while it may be a little off the beaten track, it’s fairly easy to get to on public transport. You can also check out the Domäne Dahlem website for further details.

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