Via Deutsche Welle

Ellen H. from Canada is our winner! She was completely surprised that she was drawn from a total of 5,690 entries, and she’s looking forward to her trip to Germany with DW at the beginning of December and says: 

“It would be wonderful to experience (its rich culture and) to see for ourselves its majestic cathedral (in Cologne). Being able to visit one (Christmas market) in the beautiful historic town of Rothenburg, drinking Glühwein (mulled wine), eating Lebkuchen (gingerbread), enjoying local products and soaking in the culture, would definitely be a highlight for us.”

The 37-year-old Canadian wants to take her husband with her on her trip to Germany.

Germany, Christmas market in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria (picture-alliance/Helga Lade Fotoagentur/K. Baier)

Holidays are coming as Rothenburg ob der Tauber lights up the Christmas decorations

Like Ellen, people from all over the world took part in DW’s trilingual online prize draw, in which the Germany trip to the Christmas markets in Cologne and Rothenburg ob der Tauber was to be won. Most entries (66 percent) came from Central and South America, especially from Colombia, Argentina and Mexico.

Users did not always find it easy to choose their favorite German state. One thing was clear: Every German state has its own beauty. Participants were able to find out about the sights in our state special— with articles, pictures, videos, quizzes and tips on the highlights, state by state.

Ranking 2019 — a defending champion and a clear rising star

In our online prize draw, some users named several federal states as their favorite destinations in Germany. The following ranking is based on all German, English and Spanish entries:

1st place: Bavaria

2nd place: North Rhine-Westphalia

3rd place: Berlin

In 2018 we had already asked our users about their favorite federal state; in 2019 almost five times as many people took part in the competition! Bavaria not only defended its 2018 first place, but even extended its lead: With a total of 2,832 entries, every second vote was awarded to this federal state! The mountain world with the Alps and traditions such as the Oktoberfest were often cited as reasons for traveling there. In addition, the modern state capital Munich is very popular.

Germany, Cologne, Start of Carnival, woman dressed in costume (picture-alliance/dpa/O. Berg)

Cheerful not just during carnival: The people of Cologne are very cosmopolitan

North Rhine-Westphalia was the unexpected rising star in 2019 — offering popular attractions such as the cathedrals in Cologne and Aachen, modern architecture in Düsseldorf and the suspension railway in Wuppertal. But the best ambassadors of this federal state are obviously its people: The cosmopolitan people of Cologne, the down-to-earth workers in the Ruhr area and the Westphalians with their dry sense of humor were mentioned. In 2018, the most populous German federal state was only ranked sixth but this year with 1,944 entries, it finished second. And thus Berlin was relegated to third place: The German capital received 1,121 entries.

Baden-Württemberg (2018: 3rd place) is no longer in the top 3 — it was also the favorite state of our prize draw winner Ellen. She finds it inspiring that she is traveling to Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia on the DW trip: 

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“Getting to travel to Germany again to (interact with locals and) discover new areas of this great country is always at the top of my travel wish-list.”

Check-in team with presenter Nicole Frölich (DW)

Check-in team with presenter Nicole Frölich

And in Rothenburg ob der Tauber there will be an additional special surprise: Ellen and her husband will meet the Check-in team and take part in the filming of the TV travel program.

Ellen is already well prepared for her journey: She has been learning German for years with DW’s German courses. And: 

“The German community in our city in Canada organizes a Christmas market every year, which has given us a small taste of the German Christmas markets’ traditions.”