München (Munich), the capital of Bavaria and home town of King Ludwig II, comes alive with traditional, contemporary and international events in April. In addition to the iconic attractions like the the Marienplatz, Viktualien Markt and BMW Weld, there is the annual folk festival in Mariahilfplatz, world-class ballet performances, exciting exhibitions and theatre shows and festival to welcome spring to the city. Here are the best of München in April to keep you entertained. For more information, visit the official website for the City of München.
Taschen – A Story of European Culture, from the 16th to 21st Century: Apr 12 – Aug 25
Bag aficionados need to make their way to München (Munich) this April as the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum (Bavarian National Museum) prepares to present a special exhibition of some 300 bags from the 16th to 21 Century. This accessory is definitely taking centre stage with the wide range of early purses, game bags, purses, handmade bags, luggage and modern ladies handbags. Some of the most valuable historic pieces on display were previously owned by the Wittelsbach dynasty, such as Elector Maximilian I's famous game bag and King Ludwig I's velvet purse worked with silver embroidery. Classics include the famous Kelly Bag from Hermès and the 2.55 designed by Coco Chanel. There are also unusual and high quality works by artists from Paris and New York.
With an exhibition like this, all eyes will be drawn to the myriad forms and materials of one of the most important and indispensable female wardrobe items today. For more information, visit the Museum website.
The Frühlingsfest (Spring Festival) sometimes called the Kleine Wiesn (Little Oktoberfest) or the Kleine Schwester des Oktoberfestes (Oktoberfest's Little Sister) fills the month of April with beer tents, live music and fairground rides to keep residents and visitors in Munich entertained. This scaled down version of Oktoberfest at Theresienwiese (same location as Oktoberfest) heralds the end of the Strong Beer Season and the festival kicks off with a big parade and Böllerschützen, where aging artillery enthusiasts shoot mini hand-cannons into the air. The City Councillor leads the opening ceremony and tap the first keg of fresh springtime beer inside the Hippodrom-Festzelt at 4pm to get the beer flowing.
Visitors can down München's favourite Augustiner beer from traditional wooden kegs in a big beer tent called the Festhalle Bayernland with Oktoberfest favourites like Schweinshaxe (Roasted Pork Knuckles). There are also rides designed for kids and one of München's greatest flea-markets with over 1,000 stands peddling everything and anything. For more information, check out the festival website.
The Ballettfestwoche (Ballet Festival Week) is the result of annual efforts by the Bayerisches Nationaltheater (Bavarian State Ballet) to raise the profile of the ensemble. The 2013 edition will open with the world premier of an original full-length ballet entitled "Helden/Heroes" by Australian choreographer Terence Kohler who was "choreographer in residence" at the Bayerisches Nationaltheater during the entire 2010/2011 season.
Other highlights include the famous Mikhailovsky Ballet St. Petersburg which will present Nacho Duato's "Sleeping Beauty", where he has assembled a group of acclaimed soloists. Another is the popular Terpsichore Gala series. The Terpsichore Gala XI will feature guest principals of the highest caliber from around the world like Frederick Ashton, William Forsythe and Pierre Lacotte. For more information, check out the Festival website.
Radikal jung also known as The Festival of Young Directors is an annual forum, stage and showcase of up-and-coming young theatre directors held annually in the Volkstheater since 2005. A panel of judges selects plays by young directors working in the German-language theatre. These rising young talents are invited to each direct a stage play where they can interact with seasoned theatre professionals and the public. A winner is voted by the audience at the end of the festival week and gets a 2,500 euros prize. The 2012 audience prize winner was Bastian Kraft for his production of Felix Krull.The audience can also enjoy Q&As with the theatre directors and members of the jury. For more information, check out the Festival website.
The Maidult Fair (May fair) is a traditional annual market whose origin stems from stands erected around the church in the Mariahilfplatz by traders who came from the surrounding areas to sell scarves, furs, leather goods and gold and silver jewellery in 1796. Today, this fair has developed into a pleasant and popular folk festival which continues to offer arts and crafts created by talented artisans who have inherited centuries-old traditional skills.
Some 300 merchants and showmen offer tableware, second-hand goods, pottery and pots, nostalgic attractions like the Ferris wheel with the well-known concert organ, the steam-carousel, or the "Puppet of the Au". For children, the Maidult Fair held at the end of April is all about 9 days of fairground rides and games. There's also the Biergarten where visitors can enjoy a Bavarian Brotzeit and a beer. For more information, visit the Fair website.