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Safety at the Oktoberfest

by Mark Zanzig
View across Oktoberfest
Petra Zanzig


Since summer 2015, Europe has changed quite a bit, and there's no doubt that many readers are concerned about their safety. In your emails, you specifically ask whether it is safe to go to the Fest, and which precautions the police takes to ensure the safety of Oktoberfest. I cannot predict the future, but I think you will be safe at the Oktoberfest.

Here's why.

  • For a very long time, Bavaria has been known for taking security very serious, and the police is more present and more strict than in other German states.
  • In the years following 9/11, the police has geared up to protect the visitors of the Fest through various means, so they have practiced for more than a decade now.
  • For the first time ever, the city of Munich reserved the right to restrict access to the Oktoberfest in 2016 should the Theresienwiese be overcrowded.
  • The Theresienwiese can only be accessed through nine access points where security checks will be performed (see pages 50 and 51 for details). To make security checks as easy as possible, please do not bring any medium sized or large bags or backbacks to the Fest! This concept worked well, and I expect it to be applied in 2017 again.
  • The police is visibly present. In addition, plainclothes/undercover cops will monitor the Fest.
  • They will do regular checks for explosives in the tents (using dogs) at night and also throughout the day.
  • They have implemented massive roadblocks that prevent unauthorized cars or trucks from entering the Fest.
  • Inside and outside the tents are private security companies ensuring that trouble-makers will be removed quickly (and believe me, they are not too gentle with these folks).
  • They do passport checks around the main central station and in the city.
Despite all these security measures, you should still use all the standard precautions when traveling, e.g. not taking valuables, expensive cameras, or bringing a lot of cash to the Fest. Also, please do avoid conflicts between drunk people as it's easy to get caught in-between.

In summary, I completely trust the state of Bavaria to take the right measures to keep this Bavarian icon safe, and if you use human sense, you will experience a friendly and exciting Fest in Munich.

Read all the other tips in our Oktoberfest FAQ to make your stay a positive once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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