When you hear about possible terrorist attacks in Europe, Germany is usually among the countries mentioned as a target. This certainly isn't a reason to avoid traveling there, but here are a few simple tips to help you avoid getting caught up in a risky situation, or just make security checks quick and painless.
An obvious thing to do when planning a trip to Germany is to keep up to date with the news, and travel warnings.
The German government does a pretty good job of keeping people informed about possible threats. This was evident in November 2010, when the government admitted for the first time there was a 'concrete' threat of an attack. Of course it helps if you speak and read German, otherwise keep checking with international news websites, and check here for alerts specific to travelers.
It's a fact that the leaders of the 9/11 attacks on the United States in 2001 were students based in Germany.
Investigators are also currently monitoring the movements of German extremists who have received training at terrorist camps in the ISIS controlled regions, making the possibility of an attack real.
In July 2006, home-made bombs were found on trains heading out of Cologne. There was also the Sauerland terrorist cell which was busted in September 2007, just as the radical Islamists were planning a series of car bombings in Germany.
In August 2010, an important meeting place for extremists, the Taiba mosque in Hamburg was shut down. Many of the men who attended the terror camps frequently visited the mosque, sparking a police investigation. September 11 suicide pilot Mohammed Atta also used to frequent the mosque, which investigators say has been supporting terrorism for years.
2016 saw Germany subjected to two terror related incidents; a shooting rampage in a Munich shopping center killing nine people and injuring a dozen and the Berlin Christmas Market attack, where a truck ploughed into marketgoers killing 12 people and injuring more than 50 others. As a result, security has increased across the country in response.
November 2010 was also a scary time for the country. Bomb scares and evacuations led to an increase in police presence and closures of major buildings.
Police with sniffer dogs patrol all major transport hubs across the country. It's compulsory to carry ID at all times, but this usually doesn't become an issue unless you're involved in some kind of incident. But when a country's on high terrorist alert and you get a random check without your passport on you, things could get awkward.
The Reichstag in general is very tight with security - many tourists wait up to two hours in queues, and undergo extensive airport security style checks. So if this is on your list of must sees, consider booking a tour in advance, or do something many people in Berlin don't do - wake up early and get there first.
Most major tourist attractions like Berlin's Television Tower will do a security and bag check, and museums will make you check large bags and coats into a cloak room. So if you want to avoid waiting in more queues on your day out, pack light. And when it comes to photography, authorities have no problem with you getting snap happy at historic sites.
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