The Top 3 European Military Tattoos

Posted by admin | Posted in Scotland | Posted on 15-06-2011

A tattoo in this context does not refer to the artwork on a sailor or biker’s arm; however you are likely to find sailors from navy bands at a military tattoo (a military drum performance or army display). The origin of the military tattoo is thought to have come from the 80 year war that the Netherlands fought against their Spanish occupiers for their independence in the 16th and 17th centuries. In order for the officers to get their soldiers to call it a night and leave the taverns to return to their barracks, drummers were sent out into the streets with a commander who would tell the tavern keepers to, “Doe den tap toe!” (Close the tap on the beer-barrel). Over time, this was shortened and adopted to the word “tattoo” in English-speaking countries such as Scotland.

Basel Military Tattoo, Switzerland

The Basel military Tattoo is presented to literally thousands of people over the course of two weeks in July, when the weather is warm and the sun sets later in the evening. Performers from all over the world are invited to entertain crowds with the historic barracks of Basel behind them. Highlights include the fantastic drill team from Norway. In 2010, pipe-bands from as far away as the Cape Town Highlander Regiment from South Africa were offered the chance to perform at this incredible tattoo.

Due to its popularity, tickets for this particular tattoo are often sold out very quickly and range in price from € 43.00 to € 114.00. July is a spectacular time to visit Switzerland, due to its fine weather and the lure of a swim in the Rhine. The tattoo is an added bonus and is a great spectacle.

Berlin Military Tattoo, Germany

The German word for tattoo is “zapfenstreich”, and 2011 is to be the inaugural year of the Berlin Tattoo. Tickets ranging from € 29.00 to € 74.00 went on sale in April, and were quickly snapped up. The tattoo, which is set to take place in Berlin’s O2 Arena in November, is to be different from the usual tattoo format in the sense that it will be an indoors venue. Some of the best military bands from around the world will delight audiences with magical performances over a period of three days.

Although Germany will be a bit colder in November than Basel in July, the Berlin Tattoo should become a firm favourite for travellers to see should they be in Berlin at the right time.

Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Scotland

No tattoo list would be complete without the Edinburgh Tattoo featuring in it. With so much to see and do in Edinburgh already, the tattoo is the “créme de la créme” of the tattoo circuit and is most definitely the firm leader. Taking place over a period of four weeks each August with the famous Edinburgh cast as the backdrop to the show, this tattoo is often sold out months in advance with tickets ranging from as little as £23.00 to more lavish seats at £55.00. The Edinburgh Tattoo is a definite must-see in every single traveller’s life-time.

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