Munich: protest against events on the Mariahilfplatz – Munich

Between the barricaded stalls of the Auer Dult, dozens of people are standing in a long queue in front of the Mariahilfkirche that evening – it’s neither Easter nor Christmas today. Rather, the district committee Au-Haidhausen (BA) invited to a residents’ meeting in the church, the first in the city since the beginning of the pandemic. Her topic is the Mariahilfplatz, i.e. the extensive area around the church, and the question of how much hustle and bustle there should be in the future. A number of people in the Au are of the opinion that the Mariahilfplatz could do with even more events, for example in the form of cultural events and Christmas markets. Others, on the other hand, strictly reject this and consider the three Dulten per year and the two market days per week to be sufficient or already too much hustle and bustle.

That second group clearly represents the majority of the 350 people in the church that evening – which is only partially surprising, since the immediate neighborhood was invited to the event, i.e. 8000 households from the Untere Au. You will experience the unsightly side effects of such events on Mariahilfplatz again from Saturday with the start of the Maidult. “Overcrowded trams and buses, hours of searching for a parking space, garbage nuisance and noise late into the night,” a local resident later said.

However, before the citizens have the floor, the BA chairman Jörg Spengler (Greens) reviews the recent debate about the use of the Mariahilfplatz. It was triggered by an application for a multi-week winter festival on Mariahilfplatz, which was approved by a majority in the 2020 district committee – with the votes of the Greens and with protests from the CSU and SPD. With this decision, the BA gave up its previous position, according to which no commercial events should take place on the area apart from the Dulten and weekly markets. Although the winter festival ultimately fell victim to the pandemic, the discussion about the use of Mariahilfplatz was opened.

The municipal Department for Labor and Economic Affairs (RAW) is responsible for the 2.5-hectare area. However, it was “good manners”, said his boss Clemens Baumgärtner (CSU), “to discuss one or the other event in consultation with the BA”. In the case of the Bayernmarkt, however, this has not happened recently. Here, the department gave the organizer permission, without consulting local politicians, to move to Mariahilfplatz from August 20th to September 4th, since Orleansplatz, the traditional location, is currently being renovated. “This is a traditional event,” emphasized Baumgärtner. “If we hadn’t allowed them on Mariahilfplatz, there would have been a great risk that Bayernmarkt would die altogether.”

The BA now wants to draw up a catalog of criteria

However, this argument failed to convince many of those present. It was a “mess”, a resident complained that the town hall had given the approval for the Bavarian market in front of the residents’ meeting and “over our heads”. A motion that the event should not take place on Mariahilfplatz found a large majority among those entitled to vote. About two-thirds of them also spoke out against commercial events between the Dults on the site.

In addition, a majority also voted specifically against a winter festival and against the fairy tale bazaar of the Wannda association on Mariahilfplatz this year. Not only the threat of noise and garbage pollution for the neighborhood were cited as arguments. Several residents also emphasized that the Mariahilfplatz is already being used intensively as a recreation and play area and that it should therefore not be blocked with additional events.

The resolutions of the residents’ assembly are of course not binding for the BA; Rather, according to Jörg Spengler, they should flow into the decision-making process as a “mood picture”. In its May meeting, the committee wants to take on the topic and subsequently draw up a catalog of criteria for events on Mariahilfplatz. According to the BA’s plan, this should then apply from the second half of the year.

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