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Summer holidays: because Bavaria is always the last and wants to stay

When it comes to the summer holidays, Bayern wants to stay last. And Prime Minister Markus Söder does not talk about it. Do you find a compromise with other federal states in the Conference of Ministers of Education (KMK)? Absolutely not.

"The Bavarian Abitur remains Bavarian, among other things, just as the holidays remain," Söder said at the weekend. Apart from that, after the excitement of leaving Bavaria from the Education Council, before it started, something initially went wrong. With a little delay the outrage flared up now.

"This blow will fail," he said Wednesday from Hamburg. The fact that Bavaria, like Baden-Württemberg, has claimed a special position for decades during the summer holidays, has long since ceased to adapt to other federal states. Hamburg, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia had just begun to reorganize the complex holiday calendar.

The background: German schools do not all greet each other at the same time of the break as in many other countries, but with a delay. Which federal state does summer vacation, the KMK decides in coordination with state governments. Planning takes place several years in advance, according to certain rules and a rotation system:

  • The 16 federal states are divided into five groups. They are often geographically close to each other and, between others, economically connected.
  • All the countries of a group have summer holidays simultaneously, for about six weeks.
  • For example, in a year, Country Group II will be the first to start the summer holidays, with another starting next year.
  • Only Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are no exception. The date of the last summer vacation is reserved for them. Traditionally, long holidays always start at the end of July / beginning of August.

According to this Regularium, the dates of the holidays are still fixed until the year 2024. However, from October, the federal states are negotiating in the period between 2025 and 2030. Hamburg and others are making a strong case, not to lengthen the days off so much over time. In general, summer holidays should not start before July 1st. Different country dates should be shorter and annual shifts should be as small as possible.

The benefits of late vacation

The fact that Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg always claim their last holidays and therefore go away causes discontent in the rest of the republic. Some find it, for example, unfair that southern families partly benefit from low season prices when they travel but not yourself. This applies to the longest Pentecost holidays, as well as for the August and September holidays.

Those who start their summer holidays in June often complain that the period between Christmas and summer holidays is relatively short. At school, the dates for class work, which can be stressful for students and teachers. A disadvantage that Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg do not have.

The two federal states want to keep their bonus and discuss, among other things, with their traditionally longer Pentecost holidays. Summer holidays should not connect directly – and then start later. North Rhine-Westphalia wants to challenge this point for the South – and also to be the last time.

For the first time in decades, in 2018 it was a long Pentecost holiday in NRW, to the delight of many parents, teachers and students. The school minister Yvonne Gebauer (FDP) would like to make a standard rule from this – and therefore he insisted even in the summer, there must be "new regulations".

Negotiate various interests

There are two main reasons why summer holidays in Germany start at a different pace:

  • You want to avoid crowded trains and highways. Associations such as the General German Automobile Club (ADAC) warn of even worse traffic jams in the summer months, when several families travel at the same time. The vacant start of the holiday should equalize the problem.
    With Söders' refusal of a new holiday regulation, the Hamburg school senator Ties Rabe (SPD) in the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" therefore pleased: "Now every country like Bayern organizes summer holidays alone. Enjoy yourself on the long Bavarian highways" .
  • It also concerns economic interests. The tourism industry wants to extend the "holiday corridor" in the summer as much as possible, because it is better for the holiday business. Travel industry lobbyists contract with the KMK sometimes for single days.
    The new push for holiday rules therefore invites the strong countries of tourism such as Schleswig-Holstein: "A too narrow tourist corridor throughout Germany could have a negative impact on tourism, which is so important for our country, if the season would be significantly shorter, "a Ministry of Education spokesman in Kiel said in October.

For the KMK, however, according to its own statements, the "organizational and pedagogical criteria" are decisive in holiday planning, for example: school years should have the same duration, as well as semesters, as regards, between other, certificates. It should also give a significant rhythm of lessons and rest / break. On the basis of the summer holidays, the federal states can therefore plan their "small holidays", for example at Easter or Christmas.