It’s been more than a century since the Germans left but the Chinese metropolis of Qingdao still cultivates its Germanic roots, especially during an “Oktoberfest” which takes place every year … in July-August.
This beer festival is presented as the largest in Asia. It welcomed more than 6 million visitors last year in the space of a month.
In a setting of prefabricated Bavarian-style cottages, the waiters accumulate in their hands the one-liter mugs with overflowing foam, in a rather family rush and good-natured at nightfall.
“It’s very lively, we are together and the atmosphere is very good,” says Guan Xin, a young woman from the region, busy emptying her tankard with a friend.
Unlike the Oktoberfest in Munich, one would search in vain in Qingdao grilled sausages – the proposed food is resolutely of local style – as well as fanfares of Bavarian music.
The seaside resort of Qingdao is no other than the cradle of Tsingtao (ancient transcription of the name of the city), one of the most popular beers in China and the most exported in the world.
The German Empire remained barely 16 years in Qingdao, between 1898 and 1914, when Japan seized the city at the beginning of the First World War. His return to Tokyo under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles was at the origin of student demonstrations in Beijing in 1919, remaining as the first popular protest movement in the history of China.
Despite this heavy colonial past, the city cultivates its German heritage, including a beautiful set of seaside villas in the district of Badaguan.
The Qingdao Beer Festival has matured over the years into Asia’s largest annual beer festival (Asian Oktoberfest) with more than 200 beer brands from all over the world having successfully participated.