01 December 2023
Post originally written in: Deutsch Information An automatic machine translation. Super fast and almost perfect.

Anyone strolling through the Innsbrucker Altstadt the Christmas market, which stretches around the magnificent Christmas tree in front of the Golden Roof through Herzog-Friedrich-Straße into Seilergasse, has always been like this.

Christmas market

But the Christkindlmarkt is actually celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. ( Fiona Park has written her own blog post about the history of Christmas markets). In addition to Kiachln, punch and mulled wine, the numerous stalls offer other delicacies and selected gifts.

The traditional Innsbruck company Walde has been represented at the Christmas market since the first edition in December 1973. It is known for its soaps and cosmetic products, its candles and the gingerbread that is always available during Advent. Apart from the gingerbread, the Walde company still produces everything itself - in the factory in Dörrstraße. Some of the gingerbread is baked by a confectioner in Hall: following an old tradition, she prepares the dough for these delicacies in the summer. "Candle production used to include the gingerbread factory because both worked with the basic product honey and beeswax," explains Peter Walde, who is the eighth generation to run the company. A reminiscence of earlier times, so to speak.

Walde soaps and candles

The history of the Walde soap factory in Innsbruck actually goes back to the 18th century. in 1777, Peter Walde began producing soaps and tallow candles for street lighting at Innstraße 25. A few years later, he bought the building at Innstraße 23. Passed down from generation to generation, the company experienced ups and downs.

in1972, Helmut Walde, father of the current company boss, took over the candle factory in Kaiserjägerstraße and the candle store in Pfarrgasse from Paula Reisch, an aunt on Helmut Walde's mother's side. in 2005, both production facilities moved to a new building in Dörrstraße. The store in Innstraße was extended and tastefully adapted, while the store in Pfarrgasse still bears the name "Tiroler Wachszieher und Lebzelter". ( Werner Kräutler has compiled further details on the company's history in a blog post ).

Produced in Innsbruck

Walde's stand at the Christmas market is just as inviting as the stores. Fine scented oils, handmade soaps, liquid soaps, cold-stirred soaps - particularly fine versions of the „Tiroler Reine“- candles and traditional gingerbread. The in-house cosmetics line "Traubenkern" is very popular. Everything is high quality, produced in Tyrol and simply something special. Selected products from other manufacturers are also available: kitchen towels, soap dishes, scented lamps. "Today, of course, the range is more extensive than in the 1970s," says Peter Walde. A lot has changed in other ways too. In the early days, there were no lockable stalls. "They had to be stocked and cleared away every day. And there was no heating for a long time," recalls Peter Walde. The decorations all around were modest.

Large selection

The stalls at the Christmas market have long been heated and have electric light and electricity. This makes work much easier. In addition to the employees from the stores, students look after the stalls. They are trained by Lisa Walde, Peter Walde's daughter, and her team. One of them is Julia Plewka, who is among the stand supervisors for the first time this year. She is studying political science in Innsbruck and not only finds the employees very likeable, but also the company itself. "If I have any questions, there's always someone on hand and I think the products are great anyway. Most of them are organic and many have no unnecessary packaging or are refillable," enthuses the student. Her favorite product is the salt soap. Advising visitors is so much fun.

A matter of honor

Being at the Christmas market has been a matter of honor for the Walde family for 50 years. "As a traditional company, we are committed to our regular customers, but also to our locations in the old town," says Peter Walde. His wife has been looking after the stores in the city center for many years. And the next generation has long been working in the business. Daughter Lisa has been organizing the Christmas market for several years and can be found in the store in Innstraße, while son Lukas supports Peter Walde in the production facility in Dörrstraße.

And on December 23 after 9 p.m., one thing is on the agenda every year: dismantling the Walde stall in Herzog-Friedrich-Straße. The Christmas market in the old town then comes to an end.

Christkindlmarkt Altstadt
until December 23, 2023
Daily from 11:00-21:00 (trade 20:00)
Information on all Christmas markets in Innsbruck can be found here.

Walde soap store
Innstraße 23
6020 Innsbruck
Tel. +43 512 285810
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9.00-18.00, Sat 9.00-13.00
Walde candle store
Pfarrgasse 5
6020 Innsbruck
Tel. +43 512 580075

Photos: © Susanne Gurschler

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