Summertime is Vacation time. Schools are out and theaters close. Germans, who take their vacations very seriously, take a substantial portion of their six weeks annual vacation during this time so things slow down considerably. Like so many aspects of German life there’s an official system and once you know how to find the information it’s not too hard to figure out.
Full time (Fest) German workers get 6 weeks paid vacation each year, and most theaters close during the summer vacation when school is out. So the whole country doesn’t leave all at once, the dates are different for various Bundesländer (States). Ferien can begin as early as the third week in June, which goes through the first week in August, and as late as the end of July, which goes into the second week in September. Two southern Bundesläner, Bayern and Baden-Württenburg always take summer vacation from the end of July to early September. Other than that the dates rotate each year, so for instance this year Berlin’s Sommer Ferien goes from June 24 to August 6, next year it starts July 7, and goes until August 19.
If your theater has a summer festival and wants you to work you are entitled to your vacation at another time of year, and can split it up. There are often summer festivals and it can be a good way to combine extra work with a pleasant venue with your family. Pretty sweet, really.
You can find all vacations dates, past and future, at www.schulferien.org . This year things look like this:
Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
21 June-31 July
Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg
24 June – 4, 6, or 7 August (usually it’s about how they count the weekend).
Nordrhein-Westfalen (the most populous Bundesland)
5 July – 17 August
Hessen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saareland
19 July – 27 August
Bremen, Niedersachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt
22 July – 1 September
26 July – 3 or 4 August
29 July – 11 September
30 July -13 Sept