Christmas market opens in Birmingham

The Frankfurt Christmas Market has opened in Birmingham.

The lights on the tree in Victoria Square were switched on on Thursday evening, whilst the Bratwürst cooked and the gluhwein flowed.

It is the 22nd time the market has visited the city and each year it attracts thousands of people from across the Midlands and further afield.

It's the most visited authentic German market outside of Germany or Austria and it pays the council for the space in the city during November and December.

"We know times are very hard for people and we know businesses have had a really tough time as well over Covid and now with bills going up", says Bridget Jones from Birmingham City Council.

"So I know it's a really tough time for people this Christmas but if you are going out and spending I urge you spend on local businesses, spend in Birmingham and come and have a great time while you do it."

Brexit and the cost of living crisis appear to have had an impact on the market, as there are fewer stalls than in previous years.

Stallholders say that's because Brexit means not as many traders could get permission to come and work on the markets.

Kurt Stroscher, from Frankfurt City Council said: "The necessities are much more expensive than before. Apartments, all of the stallholders need to live here for a few weeks in Birmingham and the products are a little bit more expensive than in the past."

However, organisers are optimistic and say they hope to see similar numbers to those who visited last year - and if they do that will be around three hundred million people.

West Midlands Police says there will be a larger police presence in the city over the next couple of weeks as more people visit the city for the festivities.

"We have not only police officers present but the market security staff and the local BID officers", said Superintendent Sallie Churchill from West Midlands Police.

Officers are also calling on the public to report any crime or suspicious behaviour.

The markets stay in the city until December 23rd.