Michael Fraas was raised in Nuremberg and has happy childhood memories of the Christmas market there. He worked at the government’s ministry for economics and technology but came back to head his hometown’s economic department in 2011. Part of his brief is to keep that special sense of Christmas alive in Bavaria’s second-biggest city, where its world famous market attracts 2 million visitors each year. He told Handelsblatt about how Nuremberg’s market keeps early nights and cuts down the alcohol to keeps a Christmas feeling alive.
Handelsblatt: Mr. Fraas, the Christmas market attracts tourists from all of Europe. What’s so special about Nuremberg’s Christmas market?
Michael Fraas: We are a truly traditional Christmas market – without it being tacky, we don’t have pink stands or wildly blinking Christmas trees. We place great value on the feeling of Christmas, and that’s what our marketing is all about.
How do you create that Christmas mood?
A careful mix of handcrafts, gift items, food and other offerings. Our Christmas market isn’t a drinking and eating extravaganza, we only have a limited number of those stands. We’re aiming for a special combination and we haven’t forgotten what our brand is about. There’s no head banger music, either, that just makes people drink more.