German Unity Day around the world in 2024

  How long until German Unity Day?
German Unity Day
  Dates of German Unity Day around the world
2025 GermanyOct 3
Germany Fri, Oct 3National Holiday
2024 GermanyOct 3
Germany Thu, Oct 3National Holiday
2023 GermanyOct 3
Germany Tue, Oct 3National Holiday
2022 GermanyOct 3
Germany Mon, Oct 3National Holiday
2021 GermanyOct 3
Germany Sun, Oct 3National Holiday

This is Germany's National Day. It marks the reunification of Germany that took place on 3 October 1990

When is German Unity Day?

The Day of Unity is a public holiday in Germany that is always celebrated on  October 3rd. If October 3rd falls on a weekend, it will not be moved to a weekday.

This is Germany's National Day and marks the reunification of Germany that took place on this day in 1990.

History of German Unity Day

Since 1990, the 'Tag der Deutschen Einheit' has been a national holiday in Germany. It is the only official national holiday. All other holidays are managed at a federal level.

On November 9th 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, paving the way towards the reunification of Germany which had been split at the end of the second world war. 

The reunification of Germany took place on October 3rd 1990 when the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) was incorporated into the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG).

Following the GDR's first free elections on March 18th 1990, negotiations between the GDR and FRG culminated in a Unification Treaty.

Further negotiations between the GDR and FRG and the four occupying powers produced the so-called "Two Plus Four Treaty" granting full sovereignty to a unified German state, whose two halves had previously been bound by a number of limitations as a result of its post-WWII-status as an occupied nation. The treaty was signed on September 20th 1990.

Originally November 9th was proposed to be the national German Unity Day reflecting the huge step taken toward Germany’s unification on that day.

However, the unification treaty declared October 3rd as the official national holiday, ending the division between east and west of Germany.

Since then, the German Unification Day has been celebrated in the capital of whichever federal state has got the chair in the Federal Assembly (there are 16 federal states in Germany) each year.

German Unification Day wasn't added as an additional holiday. In the west, it replaced the original Day of German Unity, which was observed on the anniversary of a protest on June 17th 1953 in East Germany.

In East Germany, the national holiday was October 7th, the Day of the Republic (Tag der Republik), which commemorated the foundation of the GDR in 1949.

How is German Unity Day Celebrated?

The Day of German Unity is celebrated each year with a ceremonial act and a citizens’ festival (Bürgerfest). The celebrations are hosted by a major city, usually the state capital, in the German state presiding over the Bundesrat in the respective year (a sequence determined by the Königstein Agreement). The celebrations in the host city always include a festival and fireworks show.

In recent years, the main celebrations have been hosted in Potsdam, Kiel, Berlin, Mainz, Dresden, and Frankfurt. Fittingly, the first-ever Unity Day host city was the previously divided capital of Berlin. 

After Bonn in 2011, Frankfurt was the second non-state capital to host the celebrations in 2015; however, both cities are significant in German political history (Bonn as the former capital of West Germany and Frankfurt as the place of the Frankfurt Parliament of 1848–49).

In addition, various celebrations are held in the federal capital Berlin, mainly based in areas with strong political and historical significance, such as the Platz der Republik, Straße des 17. Juni and the Brandenburg Gate. The capital’s celebrations include a festival featuring actors, comedians, musicians and poetry performers, food and drink stands, and sweet stalls. State capitals and also other cities often have additional festivities.

While these celebrations are an important part of Unity Day, many Germans often choose to spend the day relaxing with family and friends, as part of a more low-key public holiday.

Most people in Germany do not display German flags or attend military parades for Unity Day, rather opting to partake in festivities at home. This includes watching TV, which often broadcasts documentaries about German history, watching politicians make Unity Day speeches, and enjoying lunch or dinner with family. 

Many people also see the day as an opportunity to get outside and enjoy the autumn before the arrival of colder winter weather. Families picnic together in beauty spots and national parks, 

Glücklich Tag der Deutschen Einheit!

Celebrate German Day of Unity with your Philips Hue lights!

Did you know?

Three facts about German Unity Day

In return for Moscow accepting German reunification, West German Chancellor Kohl is said to have agreed to pay the costs of withdrawing Soviet troops and resettling them at home. He is also alleged to have promised up to $50 billion to "help stabilise Soviet finances".

One of the stipulations of the Unification Treaty was that Berlin would regain its status as the capital of Germany. In June 1991, government departments began the 375 mile move from the previous Federal capital, Bonn, to Berlin. The process was complete by 1999, although around 8,000 of the 18,000 federal bureaucrats still work in the old West German capital.

While the Berlin wall was up, about 5,000 people escaped into West Germany, sneaking through checkpoints, walking through an underground tunnel and even landing in a hot air balloon.

More facts about German Unity Day

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