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The 63rd Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival is taking place this November. This exciting festival, which gives newcomers the opportunity to show their work to large audiences, differs from other events in that it mainly screens films by young first- and second-time directors.

And while you're there, the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region is well worth a visit. As well as the cities of Mannheim and Heidelberg, there are walking and cycling routes through the wonderful landscape, including the Hessische Bergstrasse winegrowing area.

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Plaza Culinaria, the culinary expo and marketplace, takes place in Freiburg from 7 to 9 November 2014. As well as the many stalls offering tastings, you can visit the chef's studio and learn tricks of the trade from Michelin-starred chefs, who'll be demonstrating their skills to a live audience.

And Freiburg has far more to offer than food and drink. The town that enjoys more sunshine than any other in Germany boasts great shopping and is a paradise for families, with the Europa-Park theme park not too far away.

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You have until 30 December 2014 to take in the wide range of art on show at the Appearance of Beauty exhibition in the Gasometer Oberhausen gallery. The exhibition brings together in one place significant artworks from the world's major museums. Over 150 reproductions and photographs take the visitor on a journey through different cultures and historical periods in search of the ideal of beauty. The Oberhausen Gasometer, Europe's highest exhibition space, also houses a light installation entitled 320° Licht.

But Oberhausen is not just about great museums. Excellent shopping and fantastic musicals are also on offer.

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One of the most popular pastimes worldwide is shopping. Germany has everything shoppers could want, from small boutiques selling individual designs to large outlet centres. And that's before we even get on to the major shopping areas, with their main thoroughfares and warrens of side streets. Across the country you can buy not just typical German products but jewellery and clothing by international designers. And after the rigours of a shopping trip, it's not hard to find a café or restaurant where you can relax, recharge your batteries and get a taste of German gemütlichkeit. So come and discover the shopper's paradise that is Germany and find that dream purchase you've always wanted.

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This year the prestigious aircraft manufacturer Dornier celebrates its centenary. The company's long history is brought to life at the Dornier Museum in Friedrichshafen. In recognition of this milestone anniversary, the museum is set to gain a new attraction: the Seemoos shed, in which Claude Dornier developed his first aeroplanes, is being rebuilt on the museum's grounds.

Germany has plenty more to offer fans of technology. Speyer Technology Museum, for instance, is home to one of the world's biggest exhibitions on manned space flight, and in Rostock the Shipbuilding and Maritime Museum in the IGA Park offers fascinating insights into watercraft.

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For several weeks starting 31 October 2014, Osnabrück will be filled with the sound of laughter when the city's comedy festival takes place for the 25th time. The extensive and diverse programme of events features old favourites from Germany's comedy circuit as well as lesser-known comics.

Osnabrück will have you smiling before you even take your seat for a comedy show. The city, which is one of the Historic Highlights of Germany, is where the Peace of Westphalia was signed. It has everything you could wish for: besides the many historical sites, there are lots of places to go shopping and eat out.

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There are around 15,000 stately homes and castles in Germany. The most famous and most popular of all is Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Bavaria, which secured first place in the Top 100 most popular tourist sights in Germany according to a survey by international visitors. Equally impressive are architectural masterpieces such as Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam – one of the most magnificent residences of the Hohenzollern dynasty – and Moyland Castle, a medieval fortress which also incorporates a museum. Albrechtsburg Castle in Meissen has a particularly fascinating history, as does Hambach Castle, which towers above the Palatinate countryside. The latter is a symbol of democracy and a place of great significance to Germany to this day.

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From 2 to 9 November 2014 the islands and coastal areas of Lower Saxony will be hosting the third Thalasso Health Week. Lower Saxony's North Sea coast is Europe's first certified thalassotherapy region. Learn all about thalassotherapy at the festival's many events and unwind with treatments at selected spa resorts.

The North Sea island of Norderney is particularly famed for its wellness facilities, especially thalassotherapy. After all, the original Norderney mud is sourced here. Situated out in the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea, the island makes the perfect destination for a relaxing getaway.

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Romance will be taking centre stage on the Flower Island of Mainau on 1 and 2 November 2014 as the island on Lake Constance – an idyllic location for getting married – hosts the Hochzeitsmesse wedding fair. Exhibitors will be presenting all the latest wedding trends, and it is a great opportunity for visitors to admire the many special places on the island, such as the harbour, the palace and the palace church.

Mainau Island, which is transformed into a sea of flowers in spring and summer, is also well worth visiting in autumn when the landscape is bathed in tranquil red and yellow hues. But don't just take our word for it – come and see for yourself!

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Janina Huhn has been crowned the new German Wine Queen! She fended off some tough competition in the contest that took place in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse on 26 September 2014. This annual event is organised by the German Wine Institute with the newly appointed Wine Queen responsible for representing German wine around the world for the next year. The contest is between the 13 wine queens from all Germany's wine regions.

Janina Huhn comes from the Palatinate, Germany's second biggest wine region. It's a landscape that is easily explored on the German Wine Route by bike, on foot or even by car – perfect for sampling German wines in the places where they're made. You'll be amazed by the quality!

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