Entenrennen: Germany's Annual Rubber Duck Race

Make the most of Germany's annual rubber duck race with these tips from Lonely Planet.

An old town and Neckar River in Tübingen Photo © Getty Images/no_limit_pictures


Alleenbrücke, Tübingen, Germany


Early October.


It’s not exactly Running of the Bulls. Indeed, the ducks involved in this bridge-to-bridge race aren’t even alive: they’re the yellow, rubber species whose usual habitat is the bathtub. Nonetheless, Tübingen’s annual contest is spectacular, if inexplicable. In a random, Germanic version of the ‘Poohsticks’ game enjoyed by Piglet et al in Winnie-the-Pooh, a truck dumps some 7000 duckies into the Neckar River from Alleenbrücke.

The sunflower-colored shower is accompanied by cheers from crowds lining the river banks. Many of the spectators are clutching a ticket with a number corresponding to one of the speeding water demons. The first synthetic contender past the finishing line at Neckarbrücke wins its patron a €1000 holiday voucher, with plenty of other prizes for runners-up.

Although the dazzling idea of the duck race is thought to come from Canada, it’s big business in Germany, where there are corporate duck-racing specialists. The season begins in March, with more than 150 competitions taking place in towns such as Erfurt, Bielefeld and Göttingen, as well as smaller villages.

Level of Participation

4 – try your luck in the bobbing derby.


Get there before the race starts to buy a ticket.

Other Local Attractions

Come down from the duck-related adrenaline with a stroll around late-medieval Tübingen. A hilltop fortress, cobbled alleys and half-timbered houses are the background for a lively University scene.

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